Prizes & Awards

RSVP award the following prizes and awards:

  • The Curran Fellowship
  • The Robert and Vineta Colby Scholarly Book Prize
  • The Ashgate / RSVP Travel Awards
  • The Rosemary VanArsdel Prize
  • The Gale Dissertation Research Fellowship in Nineteenth-Century Media

The Curran Fellowship

The Curran Fellowship is a set of travel and research grants intended to aid scholars studying 19th-century British magazines and newspapers in making use of primary print and archival sources. Made possible through the generosity of the late Eileen Curran, Professor Emerita of English, Colby College, and inspired by her pioneering research on Victorian periodicals, the Fellowship is awarded annually. This year, up to five prizes will be awarded in the amount of $4000 each.

The Curran Fellowship is open to researchers of any age from any of a wide range of disciplinary perspectives - literary scholars, historians, biographers, economists, sociologists, art historians, and others - who are exploring the 19th-century British press as an object of study in its own right, and not only as a source of material for other historical topics. Applicants' projected research may involve study of any aspects of the periodical press in any of its manifold forms, and may range from within Britain itself to the many countries, within and outside of the Empire, where British magazines and newspapers were bought, sold, and read during "the long nineteenth century" (ca. 1780-1914).

Additional guidelines for applicants may be found here.

The 2014 Curran Fellowship awarded grants of $4000 each to the following five scholars:

Troy Bassett Associate Professor of English at Indiana University - Purdue University, to expand his online database, At the Circulating Library: A Database of Victorian Fiction, 1837–1901, to include novel serializations in twenty Victorian magazines and newspapers.

Kirstie Blair, Chair of the Department of English at University of Stirling, for a study of the dissemination of poetry, particularly working-class poetry, in the Scottish press.

Bradley Cesario, doctoral student in History at A&M University, College Station, Texas, for a dissertation project on the influence of pro-naval journalists on British public opinion and Admiralty policy in the years leading up to the First World War.

Emma Goldsmith, doctoral student in History at Northwestern University, for a study of parish magazines in English port cities, 1870 to 1930.

Tara Puri, Global Research Fellow at the Institute of Advanced Study, University of Warwick, for a comparative study of women's magazines in imperial Britain and colonial Britain, in English and Hindi, 1900-1914.

The Curran committee received many splendid proposals this year and wishes to express its thanks to all who applied as well as its hearty congratulations to the winners. Details about the next Curran competition will be posted on the RSVP website in September.

Previous winners and reports:

  • 2013: Martin Hewitt (University of Huddersfield) and Jennifer Phegley (University of Missouri-Kansas City)
  • 2012: Michelle Elleray (University of Guelph) and Andrew Hobbs (University of Central Lancaster)
  • 2011: Priti Joshi (university of Puget Sound, USA) and Jennifer Tucker (Wesleyan University, USA).
  • 2010: Clare Horrocks (Liverpool John Moores, UK) and Michelle Tusan (University of Nevada, Las Vegas, USA).
  • 2009: Liz Miller (University of California at Davis, USA) and Sydney J. Shep (Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand).

The Robert and Vineta Colby Scholarly Book Prize

The Research Society for Victorian Periodicals is pleased to announce the short list for the Robert and Vineta Colby Scholarly Book Prize in 2013, awarded to the scholarly book that most advances the understanding of the nineteenth-century British newspaper or periodical press. It is in alphabetical order as follows:

F. Dillane Before George Eliot Cambridge University Press

J. Johnston Victorian Women and the Economies of Travel, Translation and Culture, 1830-1870 Ashgate

D. Latane William Maginn and the British Press. Ashgate

B. Maidment Comedy, Caricature and the Social Order, 1820-50. Manchester Univ Press

J. Stokes and M. Turner, ed. The Complete Works of Oscar Wilde: Vols VI and VII Journalism. Oxford University Press

The winner(s) will be announced mid-March 2014.

The Colby Book Prize was endowed in 2006 in memory of Robert Colby by his wife, Vineta Colby, also a distinguished scholar and long-time member of RSVP. In 2011, following Vineta's death, the Board of Directors of RSVP unanimously voted to re-name the prize to honor both Robert and Vineta Colby for their many fine contributions to the study of Victorian periodicals

The Colby Prize is intended to honor original book-length scholarship about Victorian periodicals and newspapers, of the kind that Robert and Vineta Colby themselves produced during their careers. The annual prize is awarded to the book published during the preceding year that most advances our understanding of the nineteenth-century British press. The winner receives a monetary award of up to $2,000, and is invited to speak at the following year's RSVP conference.

Previous winners of the prize:

  • 2012: Joel Wiener, The Americanization of the British Press, 1830s-1914. Palgrave, 2011.
  • 2011: Patrick Leary, The Punch Brotherhood: Table Talk and Print Culture in Mid-Victorian London. British Library, 2010.
  • 2010: Mark Schoenfield, British Periodicals and Romantic Identity. Macmillan, 2008. Laurel Brake and Marysa Demoor (eds) The Dictionary of Nineteenth-Century Journalism. Academia and the British Library, 2009.
  • 2009: Catherine Waters, Commodity Culture in Dickens's Household Words: The Social Life of Goods. Ashgate 2008.
  • 2008: Kathryn Ledbetter, Tennyson and Victorian Periodicals: Commodities in Context. Aldershot: Ashgate, 2007.
  • 2007: David Finkelstein, Print Culture and the Blackwood Tradition, 1805-1930. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2005.
  • 2006: Linda Hughes, Graham R.: Rosamund Mariott Watson, Woman of Letters. Athens: Ohio UP, 2005.
  • 2006: Peter Morton, The Busiest Man in London: Grant Allen and the Writing Trade, 1875-1900. New York and Houndmills: Palgrave Macmillan, 2005.

The Gale Dissertation Research Fellowship in Nineteenth-Century Media

RSVP is pleased to announce that the winner of the 2013 Gale Dissertation Research Fellowship is Lauren Boasso, who is completing a dissertation in the PhD program in Media, Art and Text at Virginia Commonwealth University. Her project is entitled "Representations of Criminality in Victorian Visual Culture."

The Gale Dissertation Research Fellowship in Nineteenth_Century Media is awarded in support of dissertation research that will make the most substantial and innovative use of full-text digitized collections of 19th-century British magazines and newspapers. The Fellowship is made possible by the generosity of the publisher Gale, part of Cengage Learning.

Winners of the Fellowship receive a prize of $1500 (USD) and one year's passworded subscription to selected digital collections from Gale, including 19th Century UK Periodicals and 19th Century British Library Newspapers.

The 2012 competition has closed. Look out for the 2013 Fellowship competition later this year.

Previous winners of the Gale Dissertation Fellowship are:

  • 2011: Liam Young (University of Alberta)
  • 2010: Adam Crymble (King's College London)
  • 2009: Bob Nicholson (Manchester University)


The Rosemary VanArsdel Prize

Graduate students are invited to submit essays for the 2014 VanArsdel Prize for the best graduate student essay on, about, or extensively using Victorian periodicals. The winner will receive $300 and publication in Victorian Periodicals Review. Submissions should be 15-25 pages, excluding notes and bibliography. Manuscripts should not have appeared in print. Send e-mail submissions to VPR Editor Alexis Easley (maeasley @ by 1 May 2014. Submissions should be formatted as Word files in Chicago style with identifying information removed. In an accompanying e-mail, applicants should include a description of their current status in graduate school.

The VanArsdel Prize is awarded annually to the best graduate student essay investigating Victorian periodicals and newspapers. The prize was established in 1990 to honor Rosemary VanArsdel, a founding member of RSVP whose groundbreaking research continues to shape the field of nineteenth-century periodical studies.

Previous winners of the VanArsdel Prize:

  • 2013: Paul Rooney
  • 2012: Jude Piesse
  • 2011: Katie Lanning
  • 2010: Rebecca Soares
  • 2009: Anne DeWitt
  • 2008: Paul Fyfe
  • 2007: Jennifer Regan
  • 2006: Christopher Pittard
  • 2005: Monica Flegel
  • 2004: Lorna Huett
  • 2003: Marty Gould
  • 2002: Troy Gregory
  • 2001: Rebecca Edwards
  • 2000: Mary Elizabeth Leighton & Russell Wyland
  • 1999: no award
  • 1998: Jennifer Ruth
  • 1997: Michelle Tusan
  • 1996: Anya Clayworth
  • 1995: Anne Baltz Rodrick
  • 1994: no award
  • 1993: Virginia McKendry
  • 1992: Gary Weber
  • 1991: Jerry Coates
  • 1990: Andrea Broomfield

Ashgate Travel Awards, in memory of Barbara Quinn Schmidt and Josef Altholz

Sponsored by Ashgate, which has published so many fine monographs and edited collections in 19th-century literary history, these awards are designed to help defray the cost of travel to the RSVP conference for graduate-student members of the Society (or prospective members). Please send inquiries to president @

Previous winners of the Ashgate Travel Awards:

  • 2013: Sarah Lill, Melissa Score, Kate Forrester
  • 2012: Efrat Pashut, Isabel Seidel, Alice Smalley
  • 2011: Shannon Smith, Megan Morris, and Katie Lanning.
  • 2010: Marie Léger-St-Jean, Andrea Korda, and Lise Butler.
  • 2009: Kellyanne Ure, Georgina O'Brien Hill, and Joanne Nystrom Janssen.
  • 2008: Shih-Wen Sue Chen, and Mary Bell.
  • 2007: Kristine Moruzi and Kim Duong.
  • 2006: Amy Lloyd, Beth Palmer, and Lorna Shelley.

Home About Contact Constitution VPR Conferences Join Bibliography Awards Members Links
Last updated 3 March 2014. Report broken links to webmaster @