Peter E. Palmquist Memorial Fund for Historical Photographic Research

Considered one of the most important photo historians of the 20th century, Peter E. Palmquist (1936 - 2003) had a keen interest in the photography of the American West, California, and Humboldt County before 1950, and the history of women in photography worldwide. He published over 60 books and 340 articles and was a strong proponent of the concept of the independent researcher-writer in the field of photo history. With co-author Thomas Kailbourn, he won the Caroline Bancroft Western History Prize for their book, Pioneer Photographers of the Far West. Professor Martha Sandweiss, Princeton University, wrote, “He (Peter) established new ways of pursuing the history of photography, and with his collections and research notes soon to be accessible at Yale, he will be speaking to and inspiring new generations of students and researchers forever.” Established by Peter’s lifetime companion, Pam Mendelsohn, this fund supports the study of under-researched women photographers internationally, past and present, and under-researched Western American photographers before 1900.

A small panel of outside consultants with professional expertise in the field of photo history and/or grant reviewing will review the applications in order to determine the awards. Applications will be judged on the quality of the proposal, the ability of the applicant to carry out the project within the proposed budget and timeline, and the significance of the project to the field of photographic history. Each recipient of the award will agree to donate upon completion of the project a copy of the resulting work (i.e., published book, unpublished report, thesis, etc.) to the Humboldt Area Foundation to submit to the Peter Palmquist Archive at Yale University’s Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library and a report to Humboldt Area Foundation at the end of the grant period. We ask that award recipients acknowledge the financial assistance provided by the Palmquist Memorial Fund in publications or other work products supported by that fund.

Past recipients and their projects

Range of Awards: $500–$2,000

Individuals researching Western American photography before 1900 or women in photography as well as nonprofit institutions conducting research in these fields are eligible to apply.

Application Guidelines

  1. Complete application form and budget form.
  2. Write a short statement explaining your study of either:

    • Under-researched women photographers internationally, past and present
    • Under-researched Western American photographers before 1900
  3. Your statement must include details of your work plan, the anticipated outcome of your research, and how you will use the funds. Failure to be specific in these details may result in rejection of the application. The statement must be typed in 12-point font, double-spaced, with 1-inch margins, and no more than 1,250 words.
  4. Include a copy of your resume or curriculum vitae no longer than 3 pages.
  5. Previous Palmquist Grant recipients may reapply if they include the following information:

    • Report the specifics of what was accomplished with the award.
    • Report the specifics of how the funds were used to reach that accomplishment
    • Forward to the Humboldt Area Foundation copies of any published or unpublished work(s) that resulted from the previous Palmquist Grant.
  6. The Palmquist Fund will not consider requests to cover salaries or pay for hardware or equipment.
  7. The recipients will be required to expend the full amount of their grants on the expenses itemized in their budgets by the end of the grant period. Normally, the grant period is one year from the date of the announcement of the recipients. In view of the hardships the Covid-19 Pandemic has imposed, for this cycle of the grants, recipients will have 18 months from their grant date to expend their grant.

No other materials (additional samples of work, etc.) will be considered; please enclose only the items listed above.

Completed applications must be postmarked by November 1, 2021, and submitted to:

Humboldt Area Foundation • 363 Indianola Road, Bayside, CA 95524 Or via email:

Award Recipients will be notified by January 15, 2022

For more information contact:
Humboldt Area Foundation at (707) 442-2993

Posted: September 7, 2021
Tagged: Awards and Prizes