The Veronika Gervers Research Fellowship was established in 1979 to honour the work and memory of Veronika Gervers, a pioneer textiles and costume scholar. It exists to promote innovative scholarly research from new and established researchers that is based upon objects in the global collection of over 55,000 textiles and costumes from across time in the permanent collection of the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM). Applications are encouraged in all areas of textile and costume history.
Veronika Gervers was born Molnár Vera [Vera Molnár] in Hajdúnánás, Hungary. She studied art history and archaeology at the University of Budapest, under the historian Zádor Anna [Anna Zádor]. She completed her PhD thesis on medieval central Hungarian churches in 1965, work which was published as volume 4 in the series Művészettörténeti füzetek under the title A középkori Magyarország rotundái (Budapest, 1972). Gervers’ classroom notes were so comprehensive that they were used by Szabó Julia [Julia Szabó] to reconstruct the lectures of Fülep Lajos [Lajos Fülep]. After graduation, she took charge of the excavation of a medieval castle at Sárospatak and the 12th-century rotunda at Karcsa.
In 1967, she moved to Toronto and married Michael Gervers (currently a professor of History and Art History at the University of Toronto). In 1968, she began to work at the ROM as a curator in the Textiles Department, a position she gained through her long-standing interest and competence in studying textile history, in addition to her skill as a cross-stitch embroiderer and reputation as a professional and accomplished draughtsperson. She published The Hungarian Szür: An Archaic Mantle of Eurasian Origin in 1973 as vol. 1 in the Museum’s series on history, technology, and art. In 1977 she edited and contributed to Studies in Textile History: In Memory of Harold B. Burnham, a book commemorating the life and work of a former member of the Textiles Department and husband of Dorothy K. Burnham, the department’s first head curator.
Gervers died in 1979 at the age of 39. Two of her books were published posthumously: The Influence of Ottoman Turkish Textiles and Costume in Eastern Europe (Toronto, 1982) and Ipolyi Arnold hímzésgyűjteménye az Esztergomi Keresztény Múzeumban (Budapest, 1983).
Gervers’ legacy is alive in her influential and important work exploring Hungary’s material past and in the Veronika Gervers Research Fellowship in Textiles and Fashion History.