Robin Wolfe Scheffler, a University of Chicago student from Berkeley, is one of 15 Gilder Lehrman History Scholars selected from more than 300 undergraduate applicants nationwide.
The program will combine historical research, seminars with historians and behind-the-scenes tours of rare archives in New York City, program officials said.
Wolfe Scheffler will study letters written by members of the Nugent family of Louisiana in the 19th and early 20th century. He will be the first person to study them, officials said.
He will prepare an inventory of the collection for use by future scholars and then put together pamphlets for high school classes, focusing on local history.
Applicants to this year's scholarship program, now in its third year, represented 186 colleges and universities across the United States.
Founded in 1994, the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History promotes the study and love of American history. The Gilder Lehrman Collection includes more than 60,000 American historical documents.