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John Emmerson Research Fellowship

Writers and scholars wanting to utilise the Emmerson collection to research a project in a relevant discipline can apply for the John Emmerson Research Fellowship.

Successful applicants receive $15,000, which may be spent on research costs, travel and living expenses as required. Australian and overseas scholars and writers can apply.

This fellowship is sponsored by a generous bequest from the late John Emmerson.

2020 program

We are pausing our John Emmerson Research Fellowship in 2020 to look at how we can create more value for participants and the Victorian community, and greater alignment to the Library’s strategy.

We look forward to announcing details of a redesigned Fellowships program that will return in 2021.

More information

If you have specific questions about the John Emmerson Research Fellowship requirements or selection process, contact us at

About John Emmerson and his collection

The Emmerson collection was amassed over a period of 40 years by the late John McLaren Emmerson QC (1938–2014), a bibliophile and brilliant scholar who had careers as both an Oxford physicist and a Melbourne barrister. His family generously donated the collection to the State Library in 2015.

One of the world's largest collections of rare English printed works, the Emmerson collection has a particular emphasis on the reign of King Charles I and the English Civil War, fought during the 1640s.

Spanning political, religious, philosophical and literary works, the collection's significance lies not just in the sheer quantity and quality of the books and pamphlets, but also in the important provenance of items, including works originally owned by significant figures at the time of Charles I's reign.