May 19, 2022

University of Rochester: Seward Family Digital Archive Project Tops $1 Million in Grant Money

From the U. of Rochester:

The Seward Family Digital Archive, a digital-humanities project that fuses object-based learning and community-engaged teaching, has received more than $1 million in external grant funding to date. The latest grant comes from the Robert David Lion Gardiner Foundation for $289,100 to be paid out over two years.

The project, a collaboration between the University’s Department of History, the River Campus Libraries’ department of Rare Books, Special Collections, and Preservation, and the Digital Scholarship Lab, brings together students in the humanities and computer science, residents of retirement communities, and retired volunteers from the greater Rochester area to help transcribe the thousands of Seward family letters, all written in Victorian-era cursive handwriting.

“Citizen archivists” is how Thomas Slaughter, the project’s principal investigator and the University’s Arthur R. Miller Professor of History, describes his team of students and retirees who transcribe, annotate, and tag personal letters of President Abraham Lincoln’s Secretary of State, William H. Seward, his wife, Frances Miller Seward, their immediate and extended family members, and friends from about 1820 to 1873.


“The generous new grant from the Gardiner Foundation will enable students to train and support additional volunteers beyond the 20 now working with us, to enhance this community-engaged collaboration, and to increase the productivity of the project while maintaining the high standards for documentary editing set by the National Historical Publications and Records Commission, which supports the volunteer arm of the project through December 2018,” says Slaughter.

Read the Complete Article

Direct to Seward Family Archives Website

Learn More: “My Dear Henry…” Generations Join Forces to Bring a Digital Archive of Victorian-Era Letters to Life

See Also: Seward Family Papers Project Earns National Archives Grant (June 2016)

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.