The Watkinson offers several awards, grants and fellowships for students, faculty, and independent researchers. See the descriptions below for more information and details on how to apply.


Harriet and Edward Elukin Essay Prize

The Harriet and Edward Elukin Essay Prize is awarded annually to the best undergraduate essay or thesis that relies upon research in primary sources from the Watkinson Library. The prize honors the memories of Harriet and Edward Elukin. Books filled their home and their lives. They were both avid readers of literature and history and were enthusiastic supporters of the Watkinson Library.


Hyam Plutzik Creative Writing Residency

The Family of Hyam Plutzik (Trinity ’32) is proud to offer an annual residency in South Beach in the Betsy Writers Room to a graduating senior or first year graduate student, with outstanding talent in the literary arts . The award will be given in May, as part of the graduation program. This residency comes with a $500 travel stipend, six days lodging, and a per-diem of $50. During the residency, the recipient will be invited to participate in an Arts Salon to share his/her work with the community; planning will be done in close partnership with the visiting artist. The residency will be awarded annually by the Director of Special Collections and Archives at the Watkinson , in cooperation with collegial advisors, for a residency to be scheduled directly with the Betsy Writers Room – at a mutually convenient time.

To read more about The Writer’s Room at The Betsy

To read more about The Betsy-South Beach

To read more about The PG Family Foundation

To read more about Hyam Plutzik’s Poetry

About the Writer’s Room at the Betsy

The purpose of the Writer’s Room is to create a very special place on South Beach for writers and other creative artists where they can find the tranquility and inspiration needed to do their best work. The Betsy Hotel makes the room available to visiting artists and writers working a wide variety of domains and disciplines, at many project stages, but with a hyper-focus on poets during final-stage efforts.

Community Partnerships

In the greater Miami and national arts communities, the Betsy Hotel collaborates with the Plutzik Poetry Series (University of Rochester); Florida International University Creative Writing Program; the Society for the Study of Jewish American & Holocaust Literature (JAHLIT); Next At 19th; University of Wynwood and the O, Miami festival; Yoko Ono Wish Tree Project; Miami Design Preservation League; the John Lennon Tour Bus, and many other arts and educational partners. The Betsy has worked with over 200 nonprofit partners since its’ re-opening in 2009.


The Betsy (and the Writer’s Room) have been lauded for contributions to community by local, national, and international entities, including:

• John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, Arts Challenge Grant – for the Writer’s Room – 2012

• Boutique Lifestyle and Lodging Association – Best Boutique Hotel – 2012 (For a unique and powerful hospitality commitment to Philanthropy, Arts, and Culture)

• Miami Dade Public Schools – Outstanding Charity Volunteer – 2013 (Presented by the Superintendent to the region’s most selfless educational promoter)

• Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce – Good to Great Award – for an outstanding socially conscious business– 2013 (Nominated by the President of Florida International University for partnerships with the Departments of English, Creative Writing, Hospitality, and Music)


Webster Book Prize

The Webster prize was endowed by Jerome P. Webster (Class of 1910) in the late 1950s, and is one of the oldest collegiate book collecting prizes in the country. Not only that, but the winner of this prize wins $500, and is automatically eligible to enter the National Collegiate Book Collecting Contest, in which contestants can win up to $2,500, and the sponsoring library up to $1,000!

You may be asking, “Does my shelf/case/room of books qualify as a collection?”

BooksFor our purposes, a qualifying book collection is a group of items which have been acquired (not inherited) upon a specific unifying principle, rather than a mere “assemblage” of books. For instance, “children’s books” is not a collection, but books for children by a certain author, or illustrated by a certain artist, or in a certain genre, is a collection. Similarly, one cannot collect “history,” but one can form a collection of Russian history, or Labor history in Ohio, or the history of art in Spain. Your collection can be about the physical object (binding, illustration, edition) as well, as long as the unifying principle is clear.

It is NOT about how much you paid for your books, how “valuable” they are, or how many you have. For our purposes you must have at least ten (10) items (which can include books, pamphlets, offprints, and other printed ephemera), but winning collections over the years have averaged over 30 items.

To enter, you need to submit the following:

An annotated (1 or 2 sentences per entry, describing why the item is included) bibliography of your entire collection, in MLA or Chicago Manual of Style format.
A brief essay (1,000–2,000 words) explaining your collecting focus, how you began to collect, and your plans for its future growth.
5–10 (no more than 10) items from your collection (bring or ship to the Watkinson Library)

Submissions are due April 1

First prize is $500. All students whose entries meet the above criteria will be given a $20.00 gift card to Barnes & Noble Booksellers.

Questions and submissions should be directed to the Watkinson Library (860-297-2268) in the Raether Library & IT Center.


Watkinson Library/Center for Caribbean Studies/History Department Student Fellowship at Trinity’s Watkinson Library

Explore an exciting opportunity at the Watkinson Special Collections Library right here at Trinity! We seek intellectually passionate Trinity students to help us find new ways to explore the Watkinson Library’s holdings on Caribbean and Latin American collections. The first stage of this fellowship will involve organizing and promoting the materials that we currently have available. Second, students will develop creative projects that help to tell the stories that emerge from the breadth of primary and secondary resources in the Watkinson Library, including maps, drawings, rare books, archival collections, and more.

Student projects could include processing archival collections, creating library study guides to help others with their research, collecting metadata for the Trinity in Trinidad video archive, conducting oral history interviews with the Latino/a/x community in Hartford to add to our current oral history archive, or any other project that can help to create, highlight, and make accessible our resources on Latin America and the Caribbean.

Sponsored by the Center for Caribbean Studies, the Watkinson Library, and the History Department, Watkinson/CCS Fellows will receive a stipend of $1,000 per academic semester. Reading proficiency in Spanish or Portuguese or other languages registered in the history and culture of the Caribbean are preferred. Your project, accompanied by a brief report outlining your weekly progress and reflective experience, will be presented at an event towards the end of each award term.

We invite you to apply for this exciting opportunity by sending:
1) A brief proposal of not more than one page highlighting what type of project you would like to conduct over the semester, what shape you think the final product would take within the timeframe of a semester, and how you plan to share results of your project with the Trinity campus and beyond.
2) A letter of recommendation from a member of the Trinity Community (Faculty or Staff), who can support your ability to work independently.

Deadline for applications is September 1 for the Fall Semester, and January 20 for the Spring semester.

Proposals and letters of recommendation should be sent to [email protected].

Any questions about this fellowship may be directed to Dr. Bleyer, either of the co-directors of the Center for Caribbean Studies: [email protected] and [email protected], or the Chair of the History Department, [email protected].


Ostrom Enders Ornithology Research Travel Grant

One or more research grants of up to $5,000 are awarded annually to individual(s) whose research with The Watkinson Library’s ornithology holdings will lead to a book, article, dissertation, online exhibit or other substantive product. The recipient will make a presentation about his/her research at Trinity College.
The comprehensive Ostrom and Alice Talcott Enders Ornithology Collection (ca. 8,000 titles) includes holdings of both historic and contemporary works on birds, many beautifully illustrated with original graphics, and full runs of the major ornithological periodicals in English, such as the Auk, Condor, Ibis, and Wilson Bulletin. Major foreign language journals include a complete run of the Journal for Ornithologie. The collection also includes manuscript holdings and original artwork. Through its endowment, the Enders Collection continues to grow systematically.
The Gurdon Russell Collection of natural history includes classic works from the 18th and 19th century, among them the engraver Havell’s copy of Audubon’s Birds of America and first and third editions of Mark Catesby’s Natural History of the Carolina, Florida, and the Bahama Islands. The Library also has a notable collection of historic botanical books from the 16th through the 19th centuries.
The Ostrom Enders Ornithology Research Grant honors Ostrom Enders and his interests in ornithology. Faculty, graduate students, upper-level undergraduates and recognized independent scholars and artists are encouraged to apply.
To be considered for the Ostrom Enders Ornithology Research Travel Grant, applicants should submit:
• An application
• A statement of intent explaining proposed research, including scholarly significance and relevance to the ornithology holdings (250 words or less)
• A résumé
• A travel budget
Applications for the research grant will be accepted on a rolling basis. The stipends must be used within one year of acceptance. Please submit all required materials as a single PDF and email it to Christina Bleyer, [email protected] (please indicate in the subject line that the e-mail is an Ostrom Enders Ornithology Research Travel Grant) For more information, contact The Watkinson Library, 860-297-2266


Watkinson Creative Fellowships

Are you an artist? A computer whiz? Do you play or compose music? Can you shoot and edit videos? Do you paint, sculpt, or work in metal or glass? Weave baskets? Are you a writer, or a poet? Can you design a website, or maintain a blog? Are you a photographer? An actor? A calligrapher? An engineer? An entrepreneur? An athlete?

Whatever your passion or talent, we invite you to explore it through a Fellowship at the Watkinson Library. The vision for this program is to create support for self-directed students to explore the collections in the Watkinson, encounter an item or a group of items that spark inspiration, and engage with that material to produce something new.

Projects may take any form: drawing, painting, sculpture, writing, music, video, virtual (digital), performance, or any other medium you can think of. A committee will review student applications, and grant the awards based on the feasibility, relevance, and significance of the projects. A proposal must demonstrate that the project can be accomplished in one semester, that it is clearly based on or inspired by an item or collection in the Watkinson, and why the project is significant enough to merit support.

ANY enrolled student (including IDP) may apply. A Fellowship is for one semester, and comes with an award of $1,500 upon delivery of the project. Students are expected to meet monthly with the Curator to report on progress. The purpose of the fellowship program is to support the production of creative projects based on or inspired by materials held in the Watkinson Library. Watkinson Fellows will present their projects at an annual reception.