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First SHEAR/Mellon fellow named from Lewis & Clark College

March 24, 2008

(Portland, Ore.)—Rory Sullivan, a junior history major, has been awarded one of ten highly competitive fellowships to participate in a summer seminar at the University of Pennsylvania’s McNeil Center for the Study of Early America. As a SHEAR/Mellon (Society for Historians of the Early American Republic) fellow, Sullivan will receive a $2,000 research stipend, complimentary participation in the seminar, and the opportunity to mount research for his senior honors thesis at Lewis & Clark. He is the first SHEAR/Mellon Fellow from Lewis & Clark College.

“I am truly honored to be named a Shear-Mellon fellow and look forward to conducting research this summer in Philadelphia’s magnificent libraries,” said Sullivan. “I want to thank all of my professors that helped me apply for the award, notably Professor Stephen Beckham and Professor Susan Glosser.”

Sullivan, a native of Telluride, Colorado, has traveled widely in India, Pakistan, Nepal, and Bangladesh. His interest in exploration and travel will coalesce in Philadelphia, as he focuses on the life, labors, and personal papers of Andrew Ellicott, surveyor of the boundary between the United States and Florida in 1796-1800. Ellicott’s meticulous field notes, observations, and maps led to publication of the Journal of Andrew Ellicott (1803). Many believe that Ellicott’s achievements served as a model for what Thomas Jefferson envisioned when he wrote his assignment for Meriwether Lewis to explore Louisiana Territory. In 1803, Lewis studied surveying with Ellicott prior to departing for the American West.

Founded in 2005, the SHEAR/Mellon program selects ten students each year nominated from liberal arts colleges across the United States. Students are afforded the opportunity to use the superb resources of the Philadelphia area to launch their senior honors projects. During the last week of the seminar, the fellows’ academic advisers will join the students in Philadelphia; Pamplin Professor of History Stephen Dow Beckham will join Sullivan.

Sullivan’s research will include manuscripts and rare books held at the American Philosophical Society, Library Company, and the Pennsylvania Historical Society, Philadelphia. Beckham worked at these institutions when writing the essays for The Literature of the Lewis & Clark Expedition (2003).


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