From Texas Standard:
As a journalist, Robert Darden had worked at Billboard magazine, writing a column on gospel music for eight years; he knows many of the country’s leading gospel record collectors. Together, they estimated that about 75 percent of all gospel recordings were currently unavailable.
So in 2005, Darden’s fears about old gospel music records disappearing led him to dash off a warning. He sent an unsolicited op-ed column to The New York Times — which typically receives around 800 such submissions a week. So he was surprised when the newspaper actually printed his call to action: “Gospel’s Got The Blues.”
“And the next morning,” Darden said, “I got a call from a gentleman named Charles M. Royce, who said, ‘I don’t know anything about gospel music, but I believe what you said. So you figure out how to save it, and I’ll pay for it.’ “
Royce is an investment manager and a freelance philanthropist, giving money to projects he finds worthy. To create and store digital copies, Darden worked with Baylor librarians to devise a budget of $350,000 to build and staff a professional studio and archive. And so the Project found a home in the Moody Memorial Library on campus. After Royce’s donation ran out, Baylor has picked up the tab. The Restoration Project now has some 14,000 items digitized. Copies of the items are shared with the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture in D.C.