National Archives (NARA) Awards $3.5 Million in Grants for Documentary Editing and Archival Projects
Archivist of the United States David S. Ferriero has awarded $3,492,445 for 35 projects in 21 states to improve public access to historical records. The National Archives grants program is carried out through the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC). A complete list of new grants is available online.
Grants went to 13 documentary editing projects to publish the papers of key American figures, including Jane Addams, Abraham Lincoln, and Frederick Douglass. The Institute for Editing Historical Documents, which began in 1972, received a grant to continue its work in providing training to documentary editors.
Two grants went to projects to increase public engagement with historical records: the Historical Society of Pennsylvania will run a week-long summer institute for K-12 educators to train them in archival research and provide them with strategies to use primary source materials in their curricula, and the History Center in Tompkins County, New York, will use U.S. Census records, Sanborn maps, and other records to develop a web application for educators to illustrate how local communities looked in the past and evolved over time. Six planning grants were awarded for Archives Collaboratives, designed to create partnerships for archives in small, rural, and under-resourced communities or to unite archives with shared affinities: the Saginaw Chippewa Tribe, Arab American collections, and collaboratives in Nashville, the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, and across Washington received small grants to set up potential collaboratives.
Providing public access to historical records is the focus of 13 projects, including digitizing papers of major historical figures and institutions including Philadelphia’s famed J.B. Lippincott publishing company; pioneer game designer’s Sid Sackson’s papers at The Strong Museum; Southwest archaeologist Earl Morris at the University of Colorado; the Woodward Collection, one of the nation’s largest advertising archives, at the University of Illinois; the papers of three 20th century children’s book writers and illustrators at the University of Oregon; noted African American journalist Marguerite Cartwright’s papers at the Amistad Center at Tulane University; digital conversion of reel-to-reel audiotapes from the Vermont General Assembly, and a project to bring together 54,200 documents related to the history of Alaska. A special effort to support early legal records resulted in projects in Maryland, Kentucky, North Carolina, Maine, and Wisconsin to preserve these key pieces of American history.
National Archives Grants – May 2019
Publishing Historical Records
For projects that document major historical figures, and important eras and social movements in the history of the nation.
University of South Carolina
Columbia, SC $100,000
To support a project to publish the Pinckney Statesmen of South Carolina, a four-volume digital edition related to the brothers Charles Cotesworth Pinckney, Thomas Pinckney, and their cousin, Charles Pinckney, for the period 1769-1828. The Pinckneys are one of the most prominent southern families of the late 18th and early 19th centuries. All three fought in the Revolutionary War and were active in the political, military, and economic affairs that shaped the revolutionary era and early republic. The grant will allow the project to complete Volume 3 and select and advance editorial work on documents for Volume 4.
University of Tennessee
Knoxville, TN $176,332
To support a project to edit the Papers of Andrew Jackson, the seventh President of the United States. During the grant period, the project will incorporate document image links for Volume 11 (1833) of its digital edition, and complete the bulk of work on Volume 12 (1834) of a projected 17-volumed print edition. This volume brings together essential and new evidence related to Jackson’s campaign against the banks, his renewed efforts to force the Cherokees into signing a removal treaty, and ongoing tensions with France over the latter’s failure to pay American claims.
Indiana University-Purdue University
Indianapolis, IN $118,383
To support a project to edit the Frederick Douglass Papers, a documentary edition of the historical records of this 19th-century African American social reformer, orator, and statesman, with ongoing work focusing on the Correspondence Series; the Journalism and Other Writings Series; and the addition of 1,000 transcriptions to the Frederick Douglass Papers Digital Edition.
Ramapo College of New Jersey
Mahwah, NJ $124,238
To support the Jane Addams Papers Project to digitize, transcribe and publish online Jane Addams’ correspondence and writings (articles, diaries, speeches). During the grant period, the project will advance editorial work on documents covering the period 1921-1924 for the digital edition and Volume 4 of the print edition. Documents to be edited showcase Addams growing national influence as a social reformer and activist focused on child labor and child protective services, the industrial and educational environments for the working class, and woman suffrage.
Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey
New Brunswick, NJ $186,657
To support a project to edit the Papers of Thomas A. Edison, a documentary edition of the historical records of the late 19th/early 20th century American inventor and entrepreneur. The project will add 119,000 document images scanned from Parts 4-5 of the microfilm edition covering the years 1899-1919 to its Image Edition, publish Volume 9 (Jan. 1888 – Dec. 1889) of its print edition, and advance editorial work on Volume 10 (Jan. 1890 – Apr. 1892), an especially busy and important period of Edison’s life with the opening of his new laboratory at Orange, New Jersey.
Lebanon, TN $143,888
To support a digital edition, building on the microfilm edition, of the Papers of Martin Van Buren, the eighth President of the United States. During the proposed grant period, the project staff will complete digitization and cataloguing of 13,000 documents (derived from the original NHPRC-funded microfilm edition); advance editorial work for at least 1,800 documents from Series 2 through 7; and publish all documents for Series 2 and 3 on the project website.
University of Maryland
College Park, MD $183,046
To support the Freedmen and Southern Society Project, documenting the history of emancipation in the United States. During the proposed grant period, the project will complete all editorial work on Volume 7 (Law and Justice), and perform document selection, second-stage verification, and annotation for four chapters of Volume 8 (Family and Kinship). The project also will add an additional 20 annotated documents to its website.
Trustees of Columbia University
New York, NY $120,490
To support a project to edit The Selected Papers of John Jay, the statesman, diplomat, signer of the Treaty of Paris, contributor to the Federalist Papers, and first Chief Justice of the United States. The project will publish Volume 6 (1795-1800) to its Rotunda digital edition, complete all remaining editorial work and publish the final Volume 7 (1801-1829) of the print edition (which will be added to the Rotunda edition following the grant period), and organize two culmination events to mark this achievement.
Stanford, CA $200,000
To support a project to edit the Martin Luther King, Jr. Papers, a documentary edition of historical records of this 20th-century Civil Rights leader, with work on Volumes 8-9, covering the period of September 1962 through 1964, and the Digital Edition. During the proposed grant period, the King Papers will focus its editorial work on Volume 8 (Sept. 1962 – Dec. 1963), including drafting and verification of annotation, and continue research in the digital collections of the LBJ Presidential Library for Volume 9 (1964). Documents to be edited illuminate King’s planning and leadership of the watershed campaign to desegregate Birmingham, Alabama, and the seminal March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom.
Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library Foundation
Springfield, IL $87,125
To support a project to edit the edit the Papers of Abraham Lincoln. Project staff will advance editorial work on and publish 235 fully-transcribed, annotated and encoded documents, including document images, in the new Abraham Lincoln Congressional Digital Edition, and provide online access to over 3,500 transcribed and imaged documents in the related Congressional Digital Archive.
University of Iowa
Iowa City, IA $107,014
To support a project to advance work on Fame and Infamy: Walt Whitman’s Correspondence, 1888-1892, which aims to collect, edit, and publish the 19thcentury American poet’s correspondence from the final four years of his life. Project editors will transcribe, annotate, and publish an additional 450 letters from this period of Whitman’s life. The correspondence will be added to the online Walt Whitman Archive, a joint project with the University of Nebraska, Lincoln.
University of Virginia
Charlottesville, VA $200,000
To support a project to edit The Papers of George Washington. During the proposed grant period, the project will publish Volumes 20 and 21 of the Presidential Series, thereby concluding its work on that series. Project staff are now shifting their collective energies to the Revolutionary War Series. Editors will publish Volume 27 and advance editorial work on an additional six volumes (28-33). Volume 26 of that series, as well as Washington’s Barbados Diary, will be added to the Rotunda digital edition.
Princeton, NJ $146,580
To support a project to edit and publish a comprehensive edition of The Papers of Thomas Jefferson. During the proposed grant period, project staff will submit the manuscript for Volume 45 to press; advance editorial work on an additional three volumes (46-48); add Volume 43 to both its Rotunda digital edition and Founders Online; and in collaboration with the UVA Center for Digital Editing, create and launch a freely-accessible online edition of Jefferson’s Meteorological Records.
Institutes for Historical Editing
University of Virginia
Charlottesville, VA $268,000
To support a two‑year project to continue the Institute for Editing Historical Documents, which began in 1972. During the proposed grant period, core members of the Association for Documentary Editing Education Committee will implement a substantially revised program of activities for basic and advanced institutes, with the goal of reaching larger and more diverse audiences of practitioners in the field of documentary editing.
Access to Historical Records
For projects at archival repositories in preserving and processing primary source materials.
Historical Society of Pennsylvania
Harrisburg, PA $95,846
To support a project to process and preserve 140 linear feet of manuscript and published materials from the J.B. Lippincott Co. Papers collection. Located in Philadelphia, Lippincott began publishing in 1836, first with religious works, eventually expanding into other genres particularly medicine. In addition to their publishing business, Lippincott operated a printing and bookbinding factory. By the end of the 19th century, Lippincott was one of the largest and best-known publishers in the world.
Margaret Woodbury Strong Museum
Rochester, NY $69,159
To support a project at The Strong to digitize the diaries of game designer Sid Sackson (1920-2002), which total approximately 13,000 pages, and create a searchable website linking those archives to Sackson’s game designs. Widely considered the most prolific game inventor of the 20th century, Sackson brought to market more than 50 games, including Acquire, Can’t Stop, Sleuth, Focus, Bazaar, Metropolis, Monad, Take Five, and Venture.
Alaska Library Network
Anchorage, AK $75,860
To support a project to digitize 54,200 documents related to the history of Alaska that are maintained in the collections of six repositories located in the eastern United States. The collections to be digitizes include : The American Museum of Natural History Jesup Exhibition Collection and George Thornton Emmons ethnographic papers on the Tlingit, Haida, Athabaskan, Inupiat, Yupik, and other Alaskan Native cultures; the Northwest Coast Trade Records and the Francis Dana Papers at the Massachusetts Historical Society; the Nicholson Whaling Collection held by the Providence Public Library; the State Archives of North Carolina collection on Captain James Iredell Waddell and the CSS Shenandoah; the Sheldon Jackson Papers and Alaska Mission Files of the Presbyterian Historical Society; and additional papers of Sheldon Jackson located at the Princeton Theological Seminary.
University of Colorado
Boulder, CO $93,826
To support a project to process and digitize 34.5 linear feet, plus glass plate negatives and lantern slides, of the Earl Morris Collection. A pioneer of Southwest archaeology and the founding father of the archaeology collections and archive at the Colorado University Museum of Natural History, Morris was an archaeologist for the American Museum of Natural History and the Carnegie Institution. He led expeditions to New Mexico and Arizona for the University of Colorado from 1913-1916, again in 1922, and in 1924 and 1938. Morris was an expert in Ancestral Puebloan (Anasazi) material culture, worked on Basket-maker period sites near Durango and the La Plata district, both in Colorado, and actively published on these topics.
Maryland State Archives
Annapolis, MD $50,619
To support access to Maryland’s early legal records by digitizing 40 volumes of Chancery Court dockets for the period 1784 to 1851, 56 volumes of Chancery Court case transcriptions for the period 1801 to 1852, and 155 court files for the period 1786-1850 that relate to the guardianship of those deemed to have a mental illness..
Vermont Office Secretary of State
Montpelier, VT $45,198
To support a project to digitize more than 1,600 reel-to-reel tapes of the Vermont General Assembly’s legislative committee meetings recordings from 1985 to 1998. The audio recordings document important legislative deliberations such as those around civil unions, educational funding, and health care reform. They are frequently used by researchers to understand the legislature’s reasons for passing specific legislation.
Kentucky Arts, Education & Humanities Cabinet
Frankfurt, KY $97,906
To support access to Kentucky’s early legal records and address major issues such as the settling of the Commonwealth prior to statehood and continued immigration to Kentucky through the World War II era. The project will digitize 69.2 cubic feet of court and naturalization records and make them available online through the Kentucky State Digital Archives, present three educational sessions that utilize subject-specific training materials, and implement a crowdsourcing program to engage citizens in the indexing of the digitized records
State Archives of North Carolina
Raleigh, NC $83,636
To support access to North Carolina’s early legal records from 1665 to 1806. The project will arrange, describe, and provide online access to two collections of North Carolina’s early court records: the Colonial Court Records (43 cubic feet) and the District Superior Court Records (170 cubic feet), create EAD finding aids, digitize approximately two cubic feet of the Colonial Court Records and make them available online through North Carolina Digital Collections, and host a platform for volunteer citizen archivists to create transcriptions of the digitized records
Maine State Archives
Augusta, ME $96,195
To support access to Maine’s early legal records by digitizing approximately 42,000 pages from the unpublished Journals of the Maine House of Representatives and the Maine Senate starting with statehood in 1820 through 1865. Along with the files on individual bills, also preserved in the Maine State Archives, and the limited collections of published documents of the House and the Senate, available in the Maine State Law and Legislative Reference Library, the Maine State Library, and other repositories, the journals are one of the linchpins to understanding Maine’s early legislative history.
University of Illinois
Champaign, IL $94,205
To support a project to process the Woodward Collection, one of the largest advertisement collections in the United States, dating from the late 1800s through the mid-1980s. The University of Illinois Library will create a folder-level EAD finding aid and a collection-level MARC record for the collection, design and launch a web portal created to enhance access to and a better understanding of the Woodward Collection, and digitize approximately 30 advertisements that are in the public domain and make them available online.
State Historical Society of Wisconsin
Madison, WI $79,538
To support access to Wisconsin’s early legal records through the Citizen Petition Access and Digitization Project, which will process citizen petitions submitted to the Wisconsin legislature from 1836 to 2009 (a total of 120 cubic feet). The project will then scan and make available online half of the petitions from the territorial period, 1836-1890, including all petitions related to African Americans and Native Americans, and create an online exhibition and classroom curriculum kits featuring select petitions.
New Orleans, LA $36,987
To support a project to arrange and describe 115 linear feet of manuscript materials from the collection of Marguerite Cartwright (1914-1986). After attaining a Ph.D. in Sociology, Dr. Cartwright had a long career as a university instructor. For more than three decades, Dr. Cartwright’s newspaper columns appeared regularly in The Pittsburgh Courier, where she was the correspondent for the United Nations, and The New York Amsterdam News. Cartwright was a specialist in African affairs as a charter member of the U.N. Correspondents’ Circle and was appointed as one of five founding members of the University of Nigeria in Nsukka.
University of Oregon
Salem, OR $59,758
To support a project providing access to the work of three collections of prominent children’s literature writers and artists: Kurt Wiese, Caldecott and Newbery Award-honored illustrator and author; Edwin Tunis, educational children’s book illustrator; and Kurt Werth, illustrator and writer. The project will update EAD finding aids, create collection-level MARC records, digitize 150 illustrations and manuscripts for an online exhibitions, and mount two exhibits at the Eugene Public Library.
Archives Collaboratives – Planning Grants
For projects to plan and develop a working collaborative designed to enhance the capacity of small and diverse organizations with historical records collections. Successful collaboratives will be eligible to apply for grants to implement projects.
Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe of Michigan
Mount Pleasant, MI $20,000
To develop a Strategic Action Plan for the consolidation of archival, digital, print, and media resource materials within a Center for Anishinaabe Language, Literature, and Storytelling (CALLS). Collaborating partners include the Ziibiwing Center of Anishinaabe Culture & Lifeways, Mount Pleasant, MI; the Michigan State University Native American Institute, East Lansing, MI; the Nokomis Cultural Heritage Center, Okemos, MI; and the Consortium for Critical Diversity in the Digital Age Research, East Lansing, MI. Representatives from Anishinaabe tribes in Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and North Dakota will be recruited to serve on two advisory boards.
Arab Community Center for Economic and Social Services
Dearborn, MI $22,442
To develop a partnership to create an online index of Arab American archival collections housed in libraries, museums, and archives across the country and produce a plan for developing an online collection of materials related to Arab American literature, music, and art for the period 1910 to 1940. Collaborating partners include the Arab American National Museum, Dearborn, MI; the Moise A. Khayrallah Center for Lebanese Diaspora Studies, Raleigh, NC; and Dr. Maria Curtis, University of Houston-Clear Lake.
Nashville, TN $17,000
To develop a plan for a Nashville Archives Collaborative to share best practices, tools, and techniques that will help them preserve, protect, and promote the use of their archival collections. In preliminary discussions about this initiative, the partner universities each have demonstrated both an understanding of the benefits of sharing professional practices in relation to the preservation and sustainability of archival collections and a commitment to collaborating with other small institutions. Collaborating partners include Lipscomb University, Fisk University, and the Meharry Medical College in Nashville.
Northern Michigan University
Marquette, MI $22,000
To develop a plan for the Upper Peninsula Digital Preservation and Access Network. Collaborating partners include Northern Michigan University, Michigan Technological University in Houghton, Lake Superior State University in Marie, Peter White Public Library in Marquette, and the Marquette Regional History Center.
Wisconsin Library Services
Madison, WI $22,547
To develop a community-driven strategic planning process to design an Archives Collaborative to increase the capacity of small, rural, under-resourced, and underrepresented repositories to create, manage, and share digitized historical resources. Collaborating partners include Wisconsin Library Services, the Wisconsin Historical Society, and Recollection Wisconsin, a statewide digital collections consortium.
South Asian American Digital Archives
Philadelphia, PA $25,000
To develop a Community Archives Collaborative for institutions across the country to collaborate, share skills, training, and best practices, to leverage pooled resources, and provide peer-to-peer mentoring to support long-term sustainability and growth. Collaborating partners include the South Asian Digital Archive in Philadelphia, Densho in Seattle, the Texas After Violence Project in Austin, and the Interference Archive in Brooklyn.
Public Engagement with Historical Records
For projects that encourage citizen engagement with historical records, especially those available online.
Historical Society of Pennsylvania
Harrisburg, PA $45,839
To support the “Becoming U.S. Teacher Institute,” a week-long summer institute for approximately three dozen K-12 educators to introduce them to archival research and provide them with strategies for using primary source materials for building lesson plans within the curriculum.
The History Center in Tompkins County
Ithaca, NY $132,946
To support HistoryForge, a web application that combines information from U.S. census records, Sanborn maps, and other records in to an interactive framework of human and spatial relationships that illustrate what communities looked like and how they evolved over time. The project will plan and offer curriculum development workshops to middle- and high-school teachers, as well as work with other communities to set up their own instances of HistoryForge.
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Gary Price (firstname.lastname@example.org) 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 Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.