January 16, 2022

National Archives (NARA) Awards $3.9 Million in Grants for Documentary Editing and Archival Projects

From the National Archives and Records Administration:

Archivist of the United States David S. Ferriero has awarded $3,884,017 for 33 projects in 20 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 (May 2021) is available online.


Grants went to 17 documentary editing projects to publish the papers of key American figures and movements, including Jane Addams, George Washington, and a history of emancipation.

Among those is a new project at the University of West Florida to publish the Papers of Roger Taney: A Digital Documentary Edition, which brings together primary sources relating to the fifth Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, who is infamous for delivering the majority opinion in the Dred Scott case.

Two grants went to projects to increase public engagement with historical records.

Tennessee State Library and Archives will undertake a project designed to facilitate opportunities for teachers and students through teacher workshops and webinars, and expansion of the DocsBox program, which provides hands-on original and reproduction materials and historical primary sources.

The University of New Orleans will undertake a project to create a curriculum using the “Freedom on the Move” database of advertisements seeking runaway enslaved people. Following instruction in the classroom, students will explore New Orleans and the region to visualize the social, spatial, and cultural histories of enslaved people and then develop public-facing projects, including maps, visual art, and spoken word, and digital and video pieces.

Providing public access to historical records is the focus of 14 projects:

  • Early legislative papers and court records at the Delaware Public Archives, the Maryland State Archives, and the Rhode Island Historical Society
  • Significant historical government collections in New Jersey at Seton Hall University and major collections from the Pittsburgh City Archives
  • Oral history by exiled and emigre scientists at the Science History Institute
  • Papers of five women who were pioneers in behavioral developmental pediatrics at the University of California, San Francisco
  • The records of novelist and civil rights activist Lillian E. Smith
  • Audiovisual records from The Black Academy of Arts and Letters
  • Additional footage from the documentary on American Hasidism, A Life Apart
  • Records from the Indianapolis Museum of Art
  • Musical programs from performances (1918–2009) of the Cleveland Orchestra
  • Union College’s collection of the papers of John Bigelow, co-editor of the New York Evening Post and founder and first president of the New York Public Library
  • Silent film musical scores from Grauman’s Theatres

Christopher Eck, Executive Director of the NHPRC, presented the grant applications and policy issues to the full Commission. The Archivist of the United States, David S. Ferriero, is the Chairman of the Commission. Established in 1934, the NHPRC awards grants for preserving, publishing, and providing access to historical documents.

About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) 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.