Paul Cuffe Memorial Fellowship

For the Study of Minorities in American Maritime History

 Silhouette engraving of "Captain Paul Cuffee, 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

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 invites applications for the annual competition for the Paul Cuffe Memorial Fellowship. Paul Cuffe, born in 1759 on Cuttyhunk Island, Massachusetts, was the son of a Wampanoag Indian mother and a former slave 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.

Since 1989, the Museum’s Paul Cuffe fellowship has provided funds to 35 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 New England, primarily its southeastern shores. Fellowships support research and writing, a portion of which should normally be carried out in the Mystic area. The fellowships of up to $2,400 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.

Research Facilities

The research collection of the G. W. Blunt White Library has nearly one 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: