Paul Nyhus Travel Grants

Professor Paul Nyhus (1935-2005) These travel grants are established in the name of Professor Paul Nyhus (1935-2005), a member of the Department of History from 1966 to 2004. Professor Nyhus served as Acting Dean of Students in 1969, Dean of Students from 1970 to 1975 and Dean of the College from 1975 to 1980. These grants are intended to facilitate primary research by History majors enrolled in either Honors or an Independent Study. There are three types of grants.

Nyhus proposals will be reviewed by members of the history department, and in most cases, applicants are notified of the committee’s decision within three weeks.

Mini Nyhus Research Grants

The history department offers Nyhus mini-grants to fund research expenses up to $250. These may include such expenses as access to online journals, travel to archives, or attending applicable conferences; mini-grants will not be awarded for regular expenses that may accompany any course, such as photocopying materials or purchasing books.

Mini Nyhus Application Deadline: Monthly. Applications must be submitted via email to Prof. Matt Klingle ( no later than 12pm on the 15th day of each month during the academic year.

Application Materials: 1) Application letter that briefly states the grant’s purpose, 2) estimated budget of expenses, 3) brief endorsement by a member of the history faculty.

Eligibility: Applicant must be a history major or minor.

Small Nyhus Travel Grants

The Department offers grants of $500 each, for travel to archival collections, microfilm, conducting or transcribing interviews, or copying archival materials.

Small Nyhus Application Deadline:Applications will be considered in three rounds, with deadlines of November 1, and February 15, and April 1. Applications must be submitted via email to Prof. Matt Klingle (

Application Materials: 1) Application letter that briefly states the grant’s purpose, 2) estimated budget of expenses, 3) endorsement by the faculty supervisor of the project.

Eligibility: Applicant must be a history major enrolled in either Honors or an Independent Study.


Nyhus Small Grant Awards, 2011-2012

Amy Collier '12
During my senior year at Bowdoin, I completed an honors thesis with Professor Connie Chiang. My project examined how the emerging philanthropic and conservation movements, as well as the rise of tourism, contributed to the creation of Acadia National Park and complicated the relationship between year-round and summer residents on Mount Desert Island. I was fortunate enough to receive a Nyhus Travel Grant, which I used to travel to the Rockefeller Archive Center in Sleepy Hollow, New York, and to the Harvard University Libraries, as well as to various archives and historical societies around Maine.  I read through speeches, newspaper articles, donation receipts, pamphlets, and, most importantly, original correspondence between park founders, contributors, and critics.  Because of the lack of scholarly work on my topic, these primary sources were the foundation of my thesis and largely shaped the development of my project.

Molly Porcher '13
For my thesis, I am researching the way the way African history has been taught in American public schools. In particular, I am looking at the way Africa and African history have been represented in the history curriculum over the past half century and how changes in these representations are related to the American political and social environment. In conducting my research, I wanted to analyze primary sources like textbooks and curriculum barometer of how the treatment of African history in schools has developed.

Thanks to the resources provided by the Nyhus travel grant, I was able to travel the education archives located at Stanford University’s Cubberley library to explore these materials. The experienced was fantastic and rewarding, and the primary sources I was able to access were phenomenal! With the help of the friendly and resourceful library staff, I found and studied a variety of curricular materials, dating from the mid-1940s to the early 1970s. These included outlines of world history curricula, as well as units and courses designed specifically to address African history. The Cubberley library also has a fantastic collection of historical textbooks—the earliest are from the 19th century!—that allowed me to study the transformations in the way school texts presented Africa continent and African history. My research trip was a memorable and meaningful experience that, most importantly, allowed me to conduct the breadth and depth of research I imagined when I first undertook this project.

Previous Nyhus Travel Grant Recipients 

Large Nyhus Travel Grant:

Professor Paul Nyhus (1935-2005) Bowdoin CollegeThis $2000 grant is for travel, lodging and research expenses related to an honors project. Each year, the Department will grant awards in two rounds: April (for research to be conducted during summer or during the following winter break), and November (to a current senior enrolled in an honors project for research to be conducted during the upcoming winter break).

Large Nyhus Application Deadline:Applications will be considered in two rounds, with deadlines of November 1 and April 1. Applications must be submitted via email to Prof. Matt Klingle (

Application Materials:
1) Narrative proposal of no more than 1000 words in length explaining the topic to be researched, the student's background relative to the proposal, the method and sources to be used, and any contacts already established with other scholars, interviewees or archives;
2) tentative budget, as detailed as possible, for how the grant would be used;
3) Bowdoin transcript;
4) letter of support from the faculty supervisor of the project. 

Eligibility: Applicant must be a history major enrolled in an Honors Project.

Nyhus Large Grant Awards, 2012-2013

Eduardo Castro '14

My summer research focused on gathering primary documents related to my upcoming honors project: a history of Latino social activism during the 1960s and 1970s in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Like many minority communities during this period, many Mexican Americans and Puerto Ricans, concentrated primarily in Milwaukee’s near Southside neighborhood, started to assert their rights and defy their marginalization.  Using direct action tactics, creating and utilizing community organizations, and seeking political positions, Latinos challenged and addressed a number of issues negatively affecting their community. These topics included education, discrimination, employment, and access to adequate and culturally competent healthcare. My project seeks to understand the origins of this Southside activism, the specific strategies and goals of Latino activists, and how this movement paralleled and diverged from other historiographies of the Civil Rights movement.

With the generous support of a Paul Nyhus grant, I was able to travel Wisconsin to conduct primary research at several archives in Wisconsin. I spent one week in Madison researching at the Wisconsin State Historical Society. Housed in the WSHS archives and library were numerous documents pertaining to the Latino community in Milwaukee, including government documents and reports, newsletters and pamphlets from community organizations, newspaper articles, and correspondence between Latino community leaders and Wisconsin state officials. I also spent a week conducting research in Milwaukee. At the archives at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, I discovered a number of materials directly related Latino activism in Milwaukee. These included the personal papers of Tony Baez, an advocate for bilingual and bicultural education in Milwaukee public schools, oral histories and interviews with Latino community members and activists, and records and minutes from community organizations.  Also during my time in Milwaukee, I was able to examine several documents related to the founding of a community health center during this moment of activism. My two weeks in Wisconsin were certainly productive, and will be invaluable to my honors project. This research would not have been possible with out the generous support of the Nyhus Travel grant, and I am incredibly grateful for this opportunity.

Previous Nyhus Grant Recipients


Campus News: Travel Grants Established Honoring Paul Nyhus (March 10, 2005)