The Foundation has long supported the publication of books on American legal history, placing some emphasis on the colonial and early national periods. A recent example is Mary Sarah Bilder’s Madison’s Hand: Revising the Constitutional Convention (Harvard UP, 2015), which shows that Madison’s notes on the 1787 Constitutional Convention were in significant part created several years later and with then-contemporary political issues in mind. A list of other works supported may be found on the History and Mission page. The Foundation supports historical monographs on major questions in American law and legal development, as well as biographies of important legal figures. Scholars interested in support for a book project are encouraged to follow the application procedure below.

The Foundation also supports the publication of important legal documents in American history. For example, the Foundation has recently undertaken and substantially completed digitizing the notebooks of students at the Litchfield Law School, a project described on the History and Mission page. The Foundation welcomes proposals for support of digitization of materials that are important to American legal history, particularly but not only materials from the late colonial or early national periods. Any such project must satisfy the highest scholarly standards for digitization and must be conducted under the supervision of a reputable scholarly organization or faculty member.

The Foundation makes limited awards, and thus should not be considered the sole source of support for a project.

Application Procedure:

The Trustees consider proposals once annually, generally in late October, and ask that grant proposals be made in writing no later than September 1 in any year. All proposals should include the items listed in the “Grant Guidelines” described below.

Grant Guidelines:

The Foundation asks that grant applicants provide the following information:

  • A complete description of the project and the applicant’s role in the project (particularly in the case of multi-author projects).
  • Why this project is important.
  • What other work in the area has been done or is contemplated by others of which the applicant is aware, and the applicant’s relationship, if any, to others working in the area.
  • A total budget and timeline for the project, with indications of all other committed or hoped for funding sources. In the case of grant applicants who are law school professors, a statement of what support they are receiving from their law school, financial and otherwise.
  • In the case of original articles and books for publication, a description of publishing expectations, and copies of any contracts with publishers.
  • In the case of commercial ventures, consideration of whether the Foundation is to own all or any part of publication rights and royalty interests.
  • Nature of any credit to be given to the Foundation.
  • Any publications, letters of recommendation or other supporting materials.

The Foundation may make grants directly to individual scholars, to a group of scholars, or to an institution with which the individual scholar or group of scholars is affiliated. The Foundation prefers to support out of pocket expenditures over provision of salary relief, and no part of the grant may be applied towards a project’s indirect costs, including but not limited to host institution overhead. While not enumerating what expenses are chargeable against grant funds, the Foundation requires that grant funds be applied to expenses that directly support the project for which funding was granted. The Foundation seeks an accounting of the expenditure of its funds, and requires the return of any unused funds.

Those interested in seeking a grant should email John D. Gordan, III, Esq. at