WASHINGTON (December 14, 2015) — The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) today announced $21.8 million in grants for 295 humanities projects, including new grants to digitize historical materials held by individuals, give a second life to important out-of-print humanities books, and support public programs on pressing contemporary challenges.
These new NEH grants support vital research, education, and public programs in the humanities, including pioneering chemical testing procedures to safeguard fragile historical materials displayed in museums and the production of a documentary film on the Warsaw Ghetto’s secret archive that preserved 30,000 pages of diaries, letters, and records documenting the Jewish community during the Holocaust.
This round of funding also marks the first grant awards made under three new NEH grant programs: Common Heritage, Humanities in the Public Square, and Humanities Open Book. These three programs were created under the NEH initiative The Common Good: The Humanities in the Public Square, which seeks to bring humanities into the public square and foster innovative ways to make scholarship relevant to contemporary life.
Here are a few of the grants that caught my eye:
Ellen Hartigan-O’Connor Outright: $33,600 [Fellowships for University Teachers] University of California, Davis Project Title: America Under the Hammer: Auctions and Market Culture, 1700-1850 Project Description: An economic, social, and cultural study of the role of auctions in early America.
Zachary Hutchins Outright: $33,600 [Fellowships for University Teachers] Colorado State University Project Title: Newspaper Reading and Early American Narratives of Slavery. Project Description: An online database of early American newspaper references to slavery and a book-length study of the impact of early newspaper accounts on the development of American slave narratives.
University of Illinois at Chicago Outright: $100,000 [Humanities Initiatives: HSIs] Project Director: Jennifer Scott Project Title: Securing the Common Good: Hull-House History at the University of Illinois at Chicago Project Description: A two-year project that seeks to integrate the Jane Addams Hull House Museum and its history of social reform into the university curriculum and bring the humanities to public service fields.
Derrick Spires Outright: $50,400 [Fellowships for University Teachers] University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign Project Title: Black Theories of Citizenship in the Early United States, 1787-1861 Project Description: A book-length study of conceptions of American citizenship expressed in black print culture between 1787 and 1861.
Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities Outright: $225,000 [Humanities in the Public Square] NEH Grant Offers and Awards, December 2015 Page 27 of 73 400 7th Street, S.W., 4th Floor, Washington, D.C. 20506 P 202.606.8446 http://www.neh.gov Project Director: Miranda Restovic Project Title: A More Perfect Union: Civic Education for American Families Project Description: Implementation of six weekly reading and discussion programs on the Constitution and civic engagement at 32 sites across Louisiana for at-risk children and their families.
Maine Humanities Council Outright: $89,000 [Humanities in the Public Square] Project Director: Elizabeth Sinclair Match: $56,000 Project Title: A Broad and Sure Foundation: The 14th Amendment in American Life and Imagination Project Description: Implementation of a public forum and library-based public programs that explore the 14th Amendment’s history and legal relevance, focusing on African American literature around citizenship.
Town of Westborough Outright: $12,000 [Common Heritage] Project Director: Maureen Ambrosino Project Title: Westborough: Your Town – Your History Project Description: A day-long digitization event preserving historical documents held by community members and related to the town of Westborough, Massachusetts. The event would build on the recent discovery of a trove of documents dating to before the Revolution. Those documents and the story of their discovery and preservation would be featured in a showcase program for the public before the digitization day. The digitization event would be staffed by consultants from BiblioTemps, a service of the Massachusetts Library System; consultants would advise on copyright and digitization best practices. Following the digitization day would be the screening of a film of the event that would include a presentation by a local historian on the significance of the digitized items, as well as testimonials from members of the public about their materials. After the digitization event, the applicants would also create an online exhibit featuring the digitized items. The digitization day and subsequent programming would be timed to coincide with the 300th anniversary of the founding of Westborough in 2017.
New York Council for the Humanities Outright: $200,000 [Humanities in the Public Square] Project Director: Michael Washburn Project Title: The Democratic Dialogue Project Project Description: Implementation of six town hall meetings modeling democratic dialogues, the creation of new “Reading and Discussion” modules, and “Community Conversation” toolkits on civic engagement.
Oyster Bay Historical Society Outright: $12,000 [Common Heritage] Project Director: Philip Blocklyn Project Title: Preserving Community Collections: The Oyster Bay Historical Society’s Documentation of a Congregation’s Cultural Heritage Project Description: A day-long event at the Oyster Bay Historical Society in Oyster Bay, New York, to digitize the cultural heritage collections of the Hood African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church and to hold a series of three public programs: a walking tour of the 1850s church, its Pine Hollow Cemetery, and the surrounding historic district; a community roundtable on the uses of primary sources in researching family history; and a workshop on best practices in preservation. The church’s collections encompass materials such as correspondence, photographs, scrapbooks, journals, diaries, genealogies, and military records that chronicle its members, who descend from free local African-Americans and from families from Virginia who relocated to Oyster Bay in the mid-20th century. The digitized materials would be made accessible on the website of the historical society and on the Long Island Memories website sponsored by the Long Island Library Resources Council. The public events aim to highlight the role of church members in the development of Oyster Bay in the 19th and 20th century and their participation in a broader national historical narrative through military service in the American Civil War. The project would create new and extend existing connections within the Oyster Bay community.
Historic Hudson Valley Outright: $100,000 [Digital Projects for the Public: Prototyping Grants] Project Director: Ross Higgins Project Title: Slavery in the North Website Project Project Description: The prototyping phase of a website on the exploration of the history of slavery in the north during the colonial period
Trustees of Davidson College Outright: $11,825 [Common Heritage] Project Director: Jan Blodgett Project Title: History Homecoming Day: Digitizing the Gaps in the Diverse History of a Small College Town Project Description: A digitization event designed to document community history in Davidson, North Carolina, particularly that related to the African American community which is underrepresented in local area archives. During the digitization event, screenings of the documentary short film Always Part of the Fabric, illustrating the role African Americans played at Davidson College from its inception, would be offered, followed by community discussion with Davidson faculty. In addition, walking tours of community neighborhoods, an interactive online map, and presentations at programs sponsored by the Davidson Historical Society and Davidson Parks & Recreations would explore local African American history.
Free Library of Philadelphia Foundation Match: $280,000 [Challenge Grants] Project Director: Siobhan Reardon Project Title: Free Library of Philadelphia Community Humanities Endowment Project Description: A Community Humanities Endowment to engage grassroots Philadelphia community partners in collaborative projects and a modest amount for fundraising activities.
National Constitution Center Outright: $175,000 [Humanities in the Public Square] Project Director: Jeffrey Rosen Project Title: The Second Founding: The History and Meaning of the Fourteenth Amendment Project Description: A public forum, public programs, production of podcasts, and creation of educational materials that explore the 14th Amendment’s history and its relevance today.
Humanities Texas Outright: $12,000 [Common Heritage] Project Director: Michael Gillette Project Title: East Texas History Harvest NEH Grant Offers and Awards, December 2015 Page 66 of 73 400 7th Street, S.W., 4th Floor, Washington, D.C. 20506 P 202.606.8446 http://www.neh.gov Project Description: The creation of a “community collection” of primary source documents related to the local and regional history of East Texas with free, online access to the collection via the Portal to Texas History, and an array of public programming events, developed in partnership with local educational, historical, and cultural institutions. Programming would include a traveling exhibition featuring the collected material and a regional historical documentary produced by the Texas Archive of the Moving Image. The East Texas History Harvest would be the third in a series of four pilot programs organized by the applicant.
Alexis McCrossen Outright: $42,000 [Fellowships for University Teachers] Southern Methodist University Project Title: A History of New Year’s Observances in the United States, 1800-2000 Project Description: A book-length study of the history of New Year’s observances in the United States.
Omar Valerio-Jimenez Outright: $42,000 [Awards for Faculty] University of Texas, San Antonio Project Title: The US-Mexican War (1846-1848): Mexican Americans, Memory, and Citizenship Project Description: The writing of a book on the legacy of memories about the MexicanAmerican War among successive generations.