Next Deadline: TBA. The application period traditionally opens in August and closes in mid-September.
Info Sessions: TBA. We host information sessions during Freshman Orientation.
Launched in 2016, Freshman Fellows is an academic opportunity designed to introduce students to conducting research with rare books, manuscripts, and archival material during their first year at The Johns Hopkins University. Limited to only four students a year, the successful applicant will:
- Conduct research with rare books, manuscripts, and archival collections;
- Analyze items of cultural significance and improve their research skills;
- Be partnered with a mentor in Special Collections who will provide them with individualized research plans;
- Create an end-product of their choosing that focuses on their research, such as an academic talk, a poster presentation, or an online exhibition;
- Receive a $1,000 research award during the spring semester.
Research outcomes may include a display in the Special Collections Reading Room, a webinar, a poster session, or other project that showcases your research in an accessible and interesting manner. Please contact Heidi Herr (email@example.com), the program manager, for questions about the program or for guidance with the application process. You are also encouraged to directly contact the mentor associated with the topics(s) you are interested in researching.
2021/2022 Research Topics
Hopkins History Through the Yearbooks
Did you know that the very first Hopkins yearbook was called The Debutante? That fact and many more can by yours by exploring the lifespan of our dearly departed student yearbook. Study the evolution and changes in Hopkins yearbooks from its birth in 1889 to its demise in 2015! Learn about long-forgotten inter-class and inter-school rivalries, as well as the development of campus athletics and student organizations. You could compare and contrast books from different eras or explore how the yearbooks document changes on campus and the wider world at large.
It’s Greek (or Spanish or Latin) to Me
The author Italo Calvino once called the translator his “most important ally” who “introduce[d] [him] to the world.”1 By translating hitherto untranslated works in Latin, Spanish, or Classical Greek held in special collections at Johns Hopkins University as a Freshman Fellow, you, too, can introduce readers to the world and be introduced to the world of the libraries at Hopkins in turn. No matter what your intended major or research interests may be, your working knowledge of any one of these languages can be applied to translating a host of texts on a variety of subjects that have never been rendered into English.
Reading Between the Rhumb Lines: Mapping the Caribbean
The Caribbean is a vast, diverse geographic and cultural region that various empires have spent centuries mapping for economic gain. These maps are biased views by people unfamiliar with the terrain or its people, intent on exploiting them through material plunder, forced labor, and piracy. Can we use these maps to tell a different story, one that showcases the resilience of this region and the Indigenous ways of knowing that are hidden within the standard map descriptions and place names? Using a collection of recently donated antiquarian maps you can find out! Explore them for yourself while you learn GIS and mapping techniques and see if you can make a new kind of map to tell a more complete version of this region’s history.
Romancing the Comic
Who needs the Marvel Cinematic Universe when you can create your own comic book thrills and chills from the Golden Age of Romance Comics! Our collection of romance comic books dates from the late 1940s-1970s and is filled with harrowing tales of young women losing their hearts at Woodstock, uncovering romance and espionage in swinging London, and running away with ne’er-do-well truckers to avoid the horrors of attending an all-women’s college. Spend your freshman year reading saucy stories, learning about the surprising history of women comic book artists in the romance genre, and tracing how the comic books were used to teach teenagers about love, heartbreak and to reinforce traditional gender roles in a rapidly changing world.
Recent Freshman Fellows Projects