May 17, 2022

Mellon Foundation Awards $950,000 in Funding For Digital Humanities Projects to Washington & Lee University

From W&L University:

Washington and Lee University has received project grants totaling $950,000 from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation — one to develop new methods of teaching the humanities using technology and another to study how the lessons of history help us interpret contemporary issues.

The four-year, $800,000 humanities grant will enable W&L’s technology experts, research librarians and faculty to continue their unique collaboration in developing the university’s Digital Humanities (DH) Studio. The key innovation supported by The Mellon Foundation is the development of DH Studio courses, humanities lab courses in which students learn various DH methodologies that they can use in classes and in the data-driven, collaborative workplace of the 21st century.

The $150,000 history grant will fund new courses, collaborative faculty-student research and a symposium. Nationally respected scholars will participate, examining why history is studied, how it informs society, and how it is appropriated or misappropriated in contemporary debates.


A prime example of an exciting, new DH project is The Ancient Graffiti Project (AGP) being developed by classics professor Rebecca Benefiel and computer science professor Sara Sprenkle. The aim of the AGP is to locate, study and preserve graffiti of the early Roman Empire cities of Herculaneum and Pompeii. The importance of the graffiti, often spontaneously scrawled, is that it gives a different view of Roman citizens’ thinking about their society and events than their formal histories carved in stone. The project involves archaeological field work, linguistic analysis, and the creation of a new graffiti-specific search engine. To see the project, visit

More About the Grants in the Complete Announcement

About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.