Peter E. Palmquist Memorial Fund



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 photohistory. 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 photohistory 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of the award will agree to donate upon completion of the project a copy of the resulting work (i.e., published book, unpublished report, thesis, etc.)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.

RANGE OF AWARDS: $500 - $1,500


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.


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. Since submission of a vague plan of work often results in rejection of an application, we urge you to provide as clear and complete a statement of your work plan as possible.

4. Statement must be double spaced, 1-inch margins, 12-point font, and no more than 1,250 words. Statement must describe how funds will be used.

5. Include a copy of your resume or curriculum vitae no longer than 3 pages.

6. 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.

7. The Palmquist Fund will not consider requests to cover salaries or pay for hardware or equipment. 

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, 2016 by 5:00 pm, and submitted to Humboldt Area Foundation, 363 Indianola Road, Bayside, CA 95524. Award Recipients will be notified by December 15, 2016. For more information contact Humboldt Area Foundation at (707) 442-2993.