Announcing the Dorothy Porter Wesley Fellowship and New Scholar Award!

BSA Executive Director Erin McGuirl here, once again, to say that I am glowing, buzzing, and pinching myself. An anonymous donor is celebrating Lisa Unger Baskin by matching her promised gift to fund the Dorothy Porter Wesley Fellowship for Black Bibliographers! This second major gift extends BSA’s capacity to honor Dorothy Porter Wesley with an endowment in her name funding not one, but two, awards: one Fellowship and one New Scholars award.

Since January 27, this community has raised $110,540 from individuals who gave between $15 and $42,500 (75% gave $250 or less). I’m here today to express gratitude to each and every one of you who was inspired to give and who inspired others to give. Take a look at our list of donors and reach out to those you know to recognize what they accomplished together: two permanently endowed awards for Black bibliographers in the Fellowship and New Scholars programs. Again, I’m pinching myself.

Why This Matters

BSA is a small organization that strives to “punch above our weight.” Our programs are designed to leverage small investments into major accomplishments within the field. By giving to BSA, you are part of a virtuous circle, nourishing the book world through modest initiatives with significant results. The Dorothy Porter Wesley Fellowship was established in 2020 by Barbara A. Shailor and Bruce and Mary Crawford, three donors who saw the need for the award and pledged to fund it for three years. Our Porter Fellows have used the fellowship to write books for popular and university presses, complete book chapters, successfully apply for additional grants, secure promotion to full Professor, and more. They come from professionally diverse backgrounds: Jacinta Saffold & Sara Johnson are early career and senior professors, respectively, and Katie Mitchell works in the book trade. Their many accomplishments fuel our mission to foster the study of books and textual artifacts.

A Porter New Scholar has been part of our long-term vision for this initiative, but we expected the fundraising effort to take years. Thanks to Lisa Unger Baskin, our anonymous donor, and the individuals who contributed, this program will nourish generations of Black bibliographers in honor of Dorothy Porter Wesley.