Paul Cuffe Memorial Fellowship

For the Study of Contributions of People of Color to Maritime History

Silhouette engraving of “Captain Paul Cuffe, 1812”; engraved by Mason & Maas for Abraham Pennock, from a drawing by John Polk, M.D. of Bristol, England (marked on lower half). This was the frontispiece to the exceedingly rare volume 5 of the periodical, “The Non-Slaverholder” (Philadelphia, ca 1850). MSM Accession Number: 1999.98.1

Mystic Seaport Museum invites applications for the annual competition for:

  • The Paul Cuffe Memorial Fellowship (with rolling deadline) or
  • The Paul Cuffe Memorial Fellowship with Summer Graduate Classes (deadline, March 8, 2024)

Since 1989, the Museum’s Paul Cuffe Fellowship has provided funds to researchers from universities, colleges, and museums. The fellowships are offered to encourage research that considers the participation of Native and African Americans in the maritime activities of America, particularly in New England.
The first option supports research and writing, a portion of which should normally be carried out in the Mystic area. The second option builds the research and writing into five weeks of residence and summertime University of Connecticut graduate courses held at Mystic Seaport Museum’s Munson Institute. These fellowship options are made possible through the generosity of a local private foundation.
Cuffe Fellows are requested to write a report on their research within one year.

Paul Cuffe, born in 1759 on Cuttyhunk Island, Massachusetts, was the son of a Wampanoag mother and a formerly enslaved African father.
 Active in the Quaker community, he founded a free school in Westport, Massachusetts. Before his death in 1817 he became a sea captain, shipowner, landowner, and respected community leader.

Research Facilities

The research collection of the G. W. Blunt White Library has nearly 1 million documents pertaining to maritime history. These include 1,300 ships’ logs and journals, ledgers, diaries, and documents from the whaling, fishing, and shipping industries.
Nearby institutions with relevant research materials include:

To Apply

To apply for a Paul Cuffe Memorial Fellowship, send C.V. or resume, a personal statement of your goals, a full description of the proposed project, a preliminary bibliography, brief project budget, and contact information for three references to munson@mysticseaport.org with the subject line Paul Cuffe Memorial Fellowship Application.
Applications will be judged on the merits of the proposed research project, the qualifications of the applicant, and the use to be made of the scholarly resources of southeastern New England.
For additional information, email the Munson Institute or call 860.572.0711, ext. 5388.