RAI Coronavirus Support Fund

The core mission of the RAI is to support research into, and scholarly understanding of, the history, politics and culture of the United States and its place in the world. We are determined to do we all we can to continue that mission even in these challenging and entirely unprecedented conditions.

A pressing difficulty facing many members of our community is the inaccessibility of archives, with transatlantic travel no longer possible and libraries closed. To mitigate this, we have introduced the RAI Coronavirus Support Fund to help graduate and undergraduate students who are unable to visit archives in the US because of the current travel restrictions.

Those who have already been awarded an RAI Travel Grant will be able to defer their use of that money for as long as necessary.

RAI Coronavirus Support Fund

The Rothermere American Institute has set aside extra funds for graduate and undergraduate students in US history, literature and politics for the purposes of obtaining:

(A) scans of primary source material from archives in the United States; and
(B) library materials not otherwise accessible.

Procedures for the two application streams are as follows.

A. To apply for funding to pay for the scanning of archival material

The purpose of this scheme is to help graduate students who are unable to visit archives in the US because of the current travel restrictions. Please note that we do not normally envisage that any one application would be for more than about £100, though we will consider applications for higher costs in exceptional circumstances.


  1. Contact the library or archive in the United States to enquire about the cost of scanning the material you need. Please be mindful that we anticipate a heavy call on these funds, so do not ask for more than you really need.  
  2. Please send an email to joanne.steventon@rai.ox.ac.uk before you order the scans, providing brief details of the material you are requesting, how it is necessary for your research, and how much it will cost.
  3. If we approve the application, you may place the order with the archive. Then send the receipt or invoice to joanne.steventon@rai.ox.ac.uk and we will reimburse you.

B. To apply to purchase books

The purpose of this scheme is to provide access to secondary (i.e. published) material that is necessary to your research, but which is not otherwise available via the Bodleian.


  1. Check SOLO to see if the item you want is already available electronically. Remember that electronic legal deposit items are inaccessible while libraries are closed, but our electronic holdings are being increased daily.
  2. Email the Vere Harmsworth Librarian at bethan.davies@bodleian.ox.ac.uk with details of an item which is important for your work and currently unavailable to you. Bethan will try to obtain an ebook version, and will contact you with access details or alternative instructions. Take no other action until you hear back from her.
  3. If it is not possible for the Bodleian to purchase an ebook, Bethan will then send approval for you to make a purchase, either of a hard copy or a Kindle ebook. Wait for Bethan’s approval before ordering, as her authorisation is required for you to reclaim your costs.
  4. To be reimbursed, fill in the details of the item, its cost and your name and bank details on an expenses claim form (download at https://finance.admin.ox.ac.uk/files/r12expensesclaimformxlsx). Send this form electronically, together with the delivery note/order confirmation, and Bethan’s authorisation, to joanne.steventon@rai.ox.ac.uk (copied to bethan.davies@bodleian.ox.ac.uk). Please keep paper records and submit these to Joanne Steventon when the RAI reopens.

Please note: books purchased through this scheme will remain University property and will be added to the VHL's holdings once you no longer need them.

This is a pilot scheme, and we will be keeping it under review. It is intended for key resources vital to your work. Funds are not unlimited, so please proceed with moderation. Priority will be given to students with the most urgent need, e.g. those finalising theses.