The National Endowment for the Humanities announces new awards and grants

NEH Logo MASTER_082010

Here are a few of the recent grants that caught our eye:

Harriet Beecher Stowe Center Outright: $10,000

[Preservation Assistance Grants]
Project Director: Elizabeth Burgess
Project Title: Updating Manuscript Collection Housing Part II
Project Description: The purchase of preservation supplies as the second phase of rehousing the Stowe Center’s manuscript collections. The Center’s collection of 195,000 items dating from c. 1500 to the present include the Foote Collection of Stowe’s maternal family manuscripts; the Katharine Seymour Day Collection of the historic preservationist’s personal correspondence, notes, financial papers, family materials, and other documents; the Saturday Morning Club Collection, with meeting agendas, invitations, programs, minutes, and membership lists of the Hartford Women’s Literary Club; and the papers of architect George Keller. Together, these collections illuminate such topics as the material culture and history of antislavery, the history of slavery in the United States, women’s roles, the history of stage and screen, and historic preservation in Hartford.

Reinhardt College Outright: $189,004
[Landmarks of American History]
Project Director: William Bishop
Project Title: The Trail of Tears: Context and Perspectives
Project Description: Two one-week workshops for 72 school teachers about the history and culture of the Cherokee people.

University of Maryland, College Park Outright: $350,000
[Scholarly Editions and Translations]
Project Director: Leslie Rowland
Project Title: Freedmen and Southern Society Project
Project Description: Preparation for publication of volumes 8 and 9 of Freedom: A Documentary History of Emancipation, 1861–1867.

Massachusetts Historical Society Outright: $350,000
[Scholarly Editions and Translations]
Project Director: Sara Martin
Project Title: Adams Papers Editorial Project
Project Description: Preparation for publication of volumes 20, 21, and 22 of the papers of John Adams (1735–1826) and volumes 15, 16, and 17 of the Adams Family’s correspondence.

Vincent Cannato Outright: $60,000
[Public Scholars]
University of Massachusetts, Boston
Project Title: Powerhouse: Francis Cardinal Spellman (1889–1967) and America’s Catholic Cold War
Project Description: Research and writing leading to a biography of Archbishop Francis Cardinal Spellman (1889–1967) and his influence on religion, politics, and American life

University of Massachusetts, Lowell Outright: $180,008
[Landmarks of American History]
Project Director: Sheila Kirschbaum
Project Title: Social Movements and Reform in Industrializing America: The Lowell Experience
Project Description: Two one-week workshops for 72 school teachers on the history of reform movements in Lowell, MA.

University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth Outright: $189,702
[Landmarks of American History]
Project Director: Anthony Arrigo
Project Title: Sailing to Freedom: New Bedford and the Underground Railroad
Project Description: Two one-week workshops for 72 school teachers to explore abolitionism and the Underground Railroad in the port city of New Bedford, Massachusetts.

Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey Outright: $251,536
[National Digital Newspaper Program]
Project Director: Caryn Radick
Project Title: New Jersey Digital Newspaper Project
Project Description: Digitization of 100,000 pages of New Jersey newspapers, published between 1800 and 1926, as part of the state’s participation in the National Digital Newspaper Program (NDNP).

Christopher Bellitto Outright: $35,000
[Public Scholars]
Kean University
Project Title: Humility: A History of a Lost Virtue
Project Description: Research and writing of a book on the idea of humility in world literature, religion, philosophy, mythology, and theater.

Teagle Foundation Outright: $3,000,000
[Cooperative Agreements and Special Projects (Education)]
Project Director: Andrew Delbanco
Project Title: The “Cornerstone” Approach to Reinvigorating General Education
Project Description: A five-year cooperative agreement to develop and implement new humanities pathways in undergraduate education.

Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History Outright: $111,947
[Institutes for School Teachers]
Project Director: Denver Brunsman
Project Title: The Making of America: Colonial Era to Reconstruction
Project Description: A one-week institute for 30 K–8 teachers on United States history from the colonial era through Reconstruction, to be held in Washington, D.C.

New-York Historical Society Outright: $161,860
[Institutes for School Teachers]
Project Director: Mia Nagawiecki
Project Title: Early Encounters in the American Colonies
Project Description: A two-week institute for 30 K–12 teachers on the history of women in colonial America.

Historic Hudson Valley Outright: $189,384
[Landmarks of American History]
Project Director: Elizabeth Bradley
Project Title: Slavery in the Colonial North
Project Description: Two one-week workshops for 72 K–12 educators on the history of slavery in the colonial north.

Fort Ticonderoga Association Outright: $92,257
[Institutes for School Teachers]
Project Director: Richard Strum
Project Title: For the Common Defense: Subjects, Citizens, and America’s Military Origins, 1609–1815
Project Description: A two-week institute for 25 middle and high school teachers on the origins and development of American military institutions.

University of Oregon Outright: $99,985
[Digital Humanities Advancement Grants]
Project Director: Daniel Rosenberg; Anthony Grafton (co-project director)
Project Title: Time Online II: The Time Charts of Joseph Priestley
NEH Grant Offers and Awards, July 2020

David Pettegrew Outright: $60,000
[Public Scholars]
Messiah College
Project Title: The Archaeology of the Early Christian World: History, Methods, Evidence
Project Description: Research and writing for a book on the archaeological history of Early Christianity.

University of South Carolina, Columbia Outright: $200,000
[Scholarly Editions and Translations]
Project Director: Constance Schulz
Project Title: The Revolutionary Era Pinckney Statesmen of South Carolina: A Digital Documentary Edition
Project Description: Preparation for digital publication of volume 4 of the papers of three South Carolina statesmen: Charles Cotesworth Pinckney (1746–1825), Thomas Pinckney (1750–1828), and Charles Pinckney (1757–1824).

University of Virginia Outright: $256,000
[Scholarly Editions and Translations] Match: $78,000
Project Director: Jennifer Stertzer
Project Title: The Papers of U.S. President George Washington (1732–1799)
Project Description: Preparation for publication of volumes 30 through 38 of the Revolutionary War series of the papers of George Washington (1732–1799).

University of Mary Washington Outright: $180,000
[Scholarly Editions and Translations] Match: $20,000
Project Director: Daniel Preston; Robert Karachuk (co-project director)
Project Title: The Papers of James Monroe
Project Description: Preparation for publication of volumes 8 and 9 of the papers of James Monroe (1758–1831), fifth president of the United States.

Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture Outright: $146,125
[Institutes for School Teachers]
Project Director: Karin Wulf
Project Title: Teaching the History and Culture of Vast Early America
Project Description: A two-week institute for 25 K–12 teachers on the broad history of colonial America.

Congratulations to all the grant winners!

National Endowment for the Humanities Awards Grants


The National Endowment of the Humanities has announced its recent round of grant winners.  Here are the ones that caught my eye, including a $64,593 grant for a program on women in the military directed by my Messiah College History Department colleague Sarah Myers!

Jonathan Den Hartog Outright: $6,000
[Summer Stipends]
Samford University
Project Title: John Jay’s Statesmanship: Diplomacy, the Law, and Education
Project Description: Writing three chapters of a political and intellectual biography of
John Jay (1745–1829), secretary of state and first chief justice of the United States.

Harriet Beecher Stowe Center Outright: $50,000
[Humanities Collections and Reference Resources]
Project Director: Briann Greenfield
Project Title: Planning to Digitize the Collections
Project Description: A planning and pilot project to establish priorities for digitizing the
Stowe Center’s archival holdings and artifact collections related to Harriet Beecher
Stowe, her family, and the Nook Farm neighborhood in Hartford, Connecticut. The
project would seek advice from focus groups of scholars, teachers, and students; digitize
and create metadata for 100 objects; develop and test workflows; and collaborate with
state-wide digital platforms to ensure the collections reach a wide audience.

Kacy Tillman Outright: $6,000
[Summer Stipends]
University of Tampa
Project Title: The Liberty of Loyalty during the American Revolution: Black Loyalism in
the Book of Negroes
Project Description: Research and writing of an article on “The Book of Negroes,” a
Revolutionary War manuscript that documents black loyalists to the British cause, held
at the British National Archives as part of the British Headquarters Papers, 1774–1783.

Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation, Inc. Outright: $50,000
[Short Documentaries]
Project Director: Sonny Seals
Project Title: Historic Rural Churches of Georgia’s Saving Grace Documentary Series
Project Description: Production of short films about rural churches of the South.

Helen Kim Outright: $6,000
[Summer Stipends]
Emory University
Project Title: Transpacific Piety and Politics: Cold War South Korea and the Rise of
American Evangelicalism
Project Description: Research for a book on evangelical Christianity and politics in South
Korea and the United States after the Korean War.

Concord Museum Outright: $400,000
[Exhibitions: Implementation]
Project Director: Thomas J. Putnam
Project Title: Concord: At the Center of Revolution
Project Description: Implementation of a new permanent, 6,000-square-foot exhibition,
education materials, and public programs exploring the history of Concord in the
eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.

Amanda Kleintop Outright: $6,000
[Summer Stipends]
Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts
Project Title: The Balance of Freedom: Abolishing Property Rights in Slaves During and
After the Civil War
Project Description: Research and writing one chapter of a book interrogating the
significance of policies governing property rights in slaves before and after

Hannah Muller Outright: $6,000
[Summer Stipends]
Brandeis University
Project Title: The Aliens Acts, the 1790s, and the Changing Contours of Citizenship
Project Description: Research for a book on British, Canadian, Caribbean, and American
immigration legislation during the 1790s in response to the French Revolution.

Kimberlee Moran Outright: $6,000
[Summer Stipends]
Rutgers University, Camden
Project Title: The Arch Street Project: Visualizing the Historical, Archaeological, and
Bioanthropological Evidence from the First Baptist Church
Project Description: Development of a digital map to present the results of salvage
excavations of a historic cemetery in Old City, Philadelphia.

Kevin Kenny Outright: $6,000
[Summer Stipends]
New York University
Project Title: Slavery and Immigration, an American History (1789–1889)
Project Description: Research and writing leading to a book on the interrelationship of
immigration standards and slavery in federal policy, constitutional reform, and political
action after the Civil War.

Douglas Egerton Outright: $6,000
[Summer Stipends]
Le Moyne College
Project Title: The Ally: Thomas Wentworth Higginson, Boston Brahmin, Radical
Minister, Labor Agitator, Vigilance Committee Activist
Project Description: Research for a biography of Thomas Wentworth Higginson (1823–
1911), artist and public intellectual of the nineteenth century.

Leigh Fought Outright: $6,000
[Summer Stipends]
Le Moyne College
Project Title: A Biography of Sally Hemings (1773–1835)
Project Description: Onsite research at Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello for a short
biography of Sally Hemings

Messiah College Outright: $64,593
[Dialogues on the Experience of War]
Project Director: Sarah Myers
Project Title: Women’s Experiences in the U.S. Military
Project Description: A two-day workshop to prepare facilitators to lead discussion
programs for veterans in five host communities in the United States.

Historical Society of Pennsylvania Outright: $124,266
[Humanities Collections and Reference Resources]
Project Director: Cary Hutto
Project Title: Improving Access to Women’s History Collections at the Historical Society
of Pennsylvania
Project Description: The arrangement and description of four manuscript collections,
totaling 149 linear feet, that document women’s history in the greater Philadelphia region from the 1860s to the present. Portions of each collection would also receive
conservation treatment and be rehoused for long-term preservation.

Museum of the American Revolution Outright: $100,000
[Exhibitions: Implementation]
Project Director: Philip Mead
Project Title: When Women Lost the Vote: A Revolutionary Story, 1776–1807
Project Description: Implementation of a temporary exhibition, educational materials, a
website, and related public programs exploring women’s citizenship and voting rights in
the early Republic.

Thomas Jefferson Foundation, Inc. Outright: $75,000
[Historic Places: Planning]
Project Director: Linnea Grim
Project Title: New Interpretative Plan for Monticello
Project Description: Planning a new exhibition and three new tours exploring the lasting
impact of the Declaration of Independence and its founding principles of freedom and

All the winners are listed here.

American Attitudes Toward History

Field Trip

This is exciting news.  Three major history organizations have together received $479,000 from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation for a project titled “Framing History with the American Public.”  The project will study American attitudes towards history.  Here is a taste of the announcement at the AASLH website:

AASLH learned this week that we have received a major grant of $479,000 from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation for an exciting new project to research American attitudes towards history. The project, called “Framing History with the American Public,” will be completed in collaboration with the Washington, D.C.-based FrameWorks Institute, the National Council on Public History (NCPH), and the Organization of American Historians (OAH). Over the next three years, we will carry out a comprehensive, nationwide study of how the public views, interprets, and uses a wide variety of history activities and will develop new tools to strengthen the field’s communications efforts.

“This project could fundamentally transform the way the history field communicates with the public,” said AASLH President & CEO John Dichtl. “As we approach the nation’s 250th anniversary, ‘Framing History’ will empower history organizations to convey their impact in ways that have been proven to shift public understanding.” Inspired by the work of the History Relevance initiative, this project will equip the history community with a new, more effective communications framework.

The history community in the United States contains more than twenty thousand public history organizations, more than one thousand academic departments, and countless history advocates around the country. “Framing History” will not only provide unprecedented detail about how Americans view these organizations and their work, it will build, test, and share tools that all organizations and practitioners can use to positively affect public understanding of the value of history. Whether it’s a historical society communicating with new audiences, an academic department talking with potential majors, or a museum making their case to funders or legislators, this project will provide history practitioners with tools to frame their messages as effectively as possible.

Read the rest here.

Become a John Winthrop Student Fellow at the Massachusetts Historical Society


I just learned about this great opportunity for high school students and their teachers at the Massachusetts Historical Society in Boston:

The John and Elizabeth Winthrop Endowed Fellowship encourages high school students to make use of the nationally significant documents of the MHS in a research project of their choosing. Selected students will be referred to as “Winthrop Fellows”.  Winthrop Fellows and their supervising teacher will each receive a $350 stipend. This fellowship gives students the chance to learn how to navigate an archive, work directly with primary sources, and experience what it is like to be a historian.

Although students are welcome to work at the MHS Reading Room in Boston, online access to hundreds of recently-digitized documents from our collections now makes it possible for students from across the country to identify, incorporate, investigate, and interpret these primary sources in their work. Together with their teacher advisor (a current or past History or English teacher, member of Library/Media staff, etc), students decide on a research project proposal that uses sources from the MHS collections.  This can be a project already assigned in class.  With the support of MHS library and education staff, students then perform research using MHS materials during the spring and must complete their research project to the teacher advisor’s satisfaction by 1 June, and finally write a blog post about their experience.

The John Winthrop Fellowship empowers students to explore a topic of their interest and helps them to access the often intimidating world of historical research. One of the most valuable aspects of this fellowship is the opportunity for students to directly interact with materials from the MHS archives.  In reflecting on their experiences, many students were struck by the immediacy of the artifacts:

“I never expected to be staring at a three hundred year old letter in which Hugh Hall, one of Boston’s prominent slave traders, complains rather vehemently of seasickness. The letter was written in big, loopy handwriting, the polar opposite of Hugh’s brother Richard’s cramped impossibility, on yellowed old paper that felt somewhat slimy. For a moment, I was overcome by the idea that I was touching Hall’s DNA.” (2015 John Winthrop Student Fellow)

“It was incredible to see old newspapers that were transported along the Post Road to relay the world’s current events in the early 1700s, transformed into a computer document and displayed right in front of us.  The only thing that could top it was being able to hold the physical letter that essentially started the Boston Post Road. Oh yeah, we did that too!” (2016 John Winthrop Student Fellow)

Many students appreciated the chance to draw their own impressions of history directly from primary sources rather than interpreted through a textbook:

“At points in the letters, Nora [Saltonstall]’s sense of humor and wittiness were evident which reminded me that she was indeed human and brought to life the events that transpired, in a way that textbooks are unable to.” (2013 John Winthrop Student Fellow)

“I suppose what I liked most was the ability to interpret the original documents on my own and draw my own conclusions around the actual evidence, rather than directly being told a conclusion by a third party.” (2013 John Winthrop Student Fellow)

Students also valued the opportunity to work with MHS staff and librarians, who welcomed them to the archive and made the work of historical research more accessible:

“The staff always took me seriously, and was always ready to help if I had a question. Until now I had never used microfiche, but within two minutes the reference librarian had me set up and I knew all I needed to know to use it. I could even take pictures of the old documents and email them to myself so I could do work at home.” (2014 John Winthrop Student Fellow)

“Although we were entirely new to the MHS, the staff treated us as if we were any other historians. Along with finding great sources, the respect we received from the staff boosted our confidence in our historical research skills.” (2016 John Winthrop Student Fellow)

Most importantly, students walked away from their fellowship opportunity empowered by their experience at the MHS:  

“I have always wanted to be a historian. My time at the Massachusetts Historical Society obliterated any lingering doubts in that ambition. Words cannot describe the joy of these encounters with the past, an opportunity I will never forget.” (2015 John Winthrop Student Fellow)

Applications for 2019 John Winthrop Fellowships should be mailed no later 18 February 2019. Check out our website for more information on the Swensrud Fellowship and how to apply!

National Endowment for the Humanities Announces New Grants


Let’s hope that there will be more grants to come.

Here are a few of the recent NEH grants that may be of interest to readers of The Way of Improvement Leads Home:

University of California, Los Angeles Outright: $143,136
[Institutes for School Teachers]
Project Director: Carol Bakhos
Project Title: Religious Landscapes of Los Angeles

Telfair Museum of Art Outright: $150,000
[Historic Places: Implementation] Match: $100,000
Project Director: Shannon Browning-Mullis
Project Title: The Owens-Thomas House: Interpreting the Dynamics of Urban Slavery in the South

Trustees of Indiana University, Indianapolis Outright: $108,800
[Seminars for School Teachers]
Project Director: Edward Curtis
Project Title: Muslim American History and Life

Richard Bell Outright: $50,400
[Public Scholar Program]
University of Maryland, College Park
Project Title: Kidnapping and the Slave Trade in Post-Revolutionary America

St. Mary’s College of Maryland Outright: $240,000
[Collaborative Research]
Project Director: Julia King
Project Title: Indigenous Borderlands of the Chesapeake: The Lower Rappahannock
Valley Landscape, 200–1850 CE

Massachusetts Historical Society Outright: $350,000
[Scholarly Editions and Translations] Match: $200,000
Project Director: Sara Martin
Project Title: Adams Papers Editorial Project

Megan Nelson Outright: $50,400
[Public Scholar Program]
Project Title: How the West was Won—and Lost—during the American Civil War

University of Massachusetts, Lowell Outright: $166,748
[Institutes for School Teachers]
Project Director: Sheila Kirschbaum
Project Title: Social Movements and Reform in Industrializing America: The Lowell

Delta State University Outright: $189,387
[Institutes for School Teachers]
Project Director: Rolando Herts
Project Title: The Most Southern Place on Earth: Music, History, and Culture of the
Mississippi Delta

Cornell University Outright: $324,581
[Digital Humanities Advancement Grants] Match: $50,000
Project Director: Edward Baptist; William Block (co-project director)
Project Title: Freedom on the Move: Advancing a Crowdsourced, Comprehensive
Database of North American Runaway Slave Advertisements

CUNY Research Foundation, Graduate School and University Center
Outright: $165,118
[Institutes for College and University Teachers]
Project Director: Donna Thompson Ray
Project Title: The Visual Culture of the American Civil War and its Aftermath

Firelight Media, Inc. Outright: $800,000
[Media Projects Production]
Project Director: Stanley Nelson
Project Title: The Slave Trade: Creating a New World

Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History Outright: $350,000
[Community Conversations]
Project Director: Susan Saidenberg
Project Title: Revisiting the Founding Era

Interfaith Center of New York Outright: $170,550
[Institutes for School Teachers]
Project Director: Henry Goldschmidt
Project Title: Religious Worlds of New York: Teaching the Everyday Life of American
Religious Diversity

University of South Carolina, Columbia Outright: $300,000
[Scholarly Editions and Translations] Match: $40,000
Project Director: Constance Schulz
Project Title: The Revolutionary Era Pinckney Statesmen of South Carolina, A Digital
Documentary Edition: Phase 3

University of South Carolina, Columbia Outright: $199,803
[Institutes for School Teachers]
Project Director: Joseph Morris
Project Title: America’s Reconstruction: The Untold Story

Brookhaven College Outright: $120,505
[Institutes for College and University Teachers]
Project Director: Paul Benson
Project Title: Slavery and the Constitution

University of Virginia Outright: $320,000
[Scholarly Editions and Translations] Match: $100,000
Project Director: William Ferraro
Project Title: Papers of George Washington

University of Virginia Outright: $266,000
[Scholarly Editions and Translations] Match: $75,000
Project Director: John Stagg
Project Title: The Papers of James Madison

University of Virginia Outright: $157,956
[Institutes for School Teachers]
Project Director: Lisa Reilly
Project Title: Thomas Jefferson: The Public and Private Worlds of Monticello and the
University of Virginia

University of Mary Washington Outright: $300,000
[Scholarly Editions and Translations]
Project Director: Daniel Preston
Project Title: The Papers of James Monroe

Carthage College Outright: $124,749
[Institutes for College and University Teachers]
Project Director: Stephanie Mitchell
Project Title: Women’s Suffrage in the Americas

Congratulations to all.

NEH Announces New Grant Recipients

NEH Logo MASTER_082010

The National Endowment for the Humanities just released its most recent list of grantees. Here are a few that caught my eye:

Ford’s Theatre Society Outright: $40,000 [Exhibitions: Planning] Project Director: Sarah Jencks Project Title: Ford’s Theatre Society Exhibition on Changing Historical Memory

Michael McVicar Outright: $6,000 [Summer Stipends] Florida State University Project Title: A History of Religious Activism and Intelligence Gathering in the U.S. after the Civil War

Berea Berea College Outright: $99,998 [Humanities Connections] Project Director: Jason Cohen Project Title: Engaging the Humanities Across Appalachia

Allison Lange Outright: $6,000 [Summer Stipends] Wentworth Institute of Technology Project Title: The Visual Politics of the Woman Suffrage Movement from American Independence through the Nineteenth Amendment

Edward Cahill Outright: $6,000 [Summer Stipends] Fordham University Project Title: Benjamin Franklin and Upward Mobility in British America

Rochester Institute of Technology Outright: $91,018 [Humanities Connections] Project Director: Lisa Hermsen Project Title: Community, Memory, and a Sense of Place

Honor Sachs Outright: $6,000 [Summer Stipends] Western Carolina University Project Title: The Life of Bartholomew Fenton: A Story of Revolution, Transformation, and Violence in Early America

County of Beaufort Outright: $50,000 [Historic Places: Planning] Project Director: Page Miller Project Title: The First Civil Rights Movement: The Epic Story of Reconstruction in Beaufort County, SC and Nationwide

Evan Haefeli Outright: $6,000 [Summer Stipends] Texas A & M University, College Station Project Title: Religious Toleration in America, 1660-1714

University of Virginia Outright: $100,000 [Media Projects Production] Project Director: Andrew Parsons Project Title: BackStory with the American History Guys: Finding the American Way (Supplement)

Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture Outright: $40,000 [Humanities Collections and Reference Resources] Project Director: Karin Wulf Project Title: The Georgian Papers Programme: Transatlantic Access and Discovery Planning Stage

National Endowment For Humanities Announces Grant Recipients

22c73-neh2blogoThe National Endowment for the Humanities just funded 248 humanities projects.  Here are a few that caught my eye:

David Head, Spring Hill College: “Wavering on a Tremendous Precipice: George Washington, the Newburgh Conspiracy, and the Fate of the Continental Army Project.” A book-length study of George Washington’s Continental Army and the Newburgh Conspiracy of 1783 as a significant event in the formation of the new nation.

University of California, Santa Cruz (Project Director: Gregory O’Malley): “Final Passages: The Intra-American Slave Trade Database Project Description.” The addition of thousands of records of intra-American slave trafficking and a new “Final Passages” web interface into Voyages: The Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade Database.

University of Delaware (Project Director: Pier Foreman): “The Colored Conventions Project.” Enhancement of a website to document over 120 conventions organized by African-Americancommunities from the 1830s-1880s, including development of a reference database and fifteen interpretive exhibit

University of Florida Board of Trustees (Project Directors: Charles Cobb and Gifford Waters): “Cataloguing Franciscan Missions of La Florida Project.” The development of an online archive of archaeological materials from three Franciscan mission sites in Florida that document contact between Native Americans and Spanish colonists during the 17th and 18th centuries. The project would catalog and digitize 61,000 artifacts, making them and associated field records, site maps, and photographs publicly available

Jennifer Ladino, University of Idaho: “Affect and Environment at American Memory Sites Project.” Research for a book on the impact of affect and memory on national memorial sites and their landscapes.

New Orleans Kemper and Leila Williams Foundation (Project Director: Erin Greenwald): “Purchased Lives: The American Slave Trade from 1808 to 1865.” Implementation of a traveling exhibition with artifacts, a panel exhibition, an exhibition guide, and related public programs on the domestic slave trade from 1808 to 1865.

Historical Society of Pennsylvania (Project Director: Margery Sly): “In Her Own Right: Women Asserting their Civil Rights, 1820-1920.”  A planning project to develop a digital collection of archival sources pertaining to women’s rights in the 19th to early 20th centuries and held by 11 Philadelphia-area repositories, and to digitize an initial set of 1,500 items and produce a prototype website.

Library Company of Philadelphia (Project Director: James Green): “Long-Term Research Fellowships at the Library Company of Philadelphia.” 14 months of stipend support (2-3 fellowships) per year for three years and a contribution to defray costs associated with the selection of fellows.

Jeffrey Forret, Lamar University: “Williams’ Gang: A Slave Trader, His Cargo, and Justice in the Old South.” To support a book-length study of slave trader William H. Williams and the legal questions related to slave trading.

George Mason University  (Project Director: Sheila Brennan): “Mapping Early American Elections Project.” The geo-coding of records from 23,607 elections in the United States from 1787 to 1826, compiled for the resource “A New Nation Votes” (NNV), for use with Geographic Information Systems (GIS), along with the production of 84 interactive maps of national and state elections as well as tutorials and contextual essays to facilitate use.

Corporation for Jefferson’s Poplar Forest (Project Director: Wayne Gannaway): “Paths to Freedom, Paths to Happiness: Site-wide Interpretive Exhibits at Thomas Jefferson’s Poplar Forest.” Planning of interpretive media and visitor experiences at Thomas Jefferson’s Poplar Forest retreat.

Christopher Newport University (Project Director: Brent Cusher): “NEH Enduring Questions Course on Ambition.” The development and teaching of a new undergraduate elective in the Leadership Studies curriculum on the nature of ambition.

Michael Woods, Marshall University Research Corporation: ” Arguing until Doomsday: Stephen Douglas, Jefferson Davis, and the Struggle for American Democracy.” A book-length study of the disagreements between Senators Stephen Douglas and Jefferson Davis that led to pre-Civil War division in the Democratic Party.

National Endowment for the Humanities Announces December 2015 Grantees

From the NEH website:

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 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 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.

NEH Grants Announced

While I was in Princeton last month leading a seminar on the “13 Colonies” for the Gilder-Lehrman Institute of American History I received an e-mail announcing the latest projects funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities.  

As I wrote a few weeks ago, one of the highlights of the week with the K-8 teachers taking the seminar was a tour of colonial Philadelphia with LaSalle University’s George Boudreau.  

The NEH grants were announced the day before our tour.  George arrived at Philadelphia’s Welcome Park with a big grin on his face and proudly announced that his teachers seminar on Benjamin Franklin had been funded for the summer of 2016.  Congrats to George and all the winners!

Here are some of the NEH-funded projects that the readers of The Way of Improvement Leads Home might find interesting:

Seminars for College Teachers
  • Olivier Zunz, Univ. of Virginia, “Exploring American Democracy, with Alexis de Tocqueville as Guide”

Seminars for School Teachers
  • Graham Hodges, Colgate Univ., “Abolitionism and the Underground Railroad”
  • Gerard Koot, Univ. of Massachusetts, Dartmouth, “The Dutch Republic and Britain: The Making of a European World Economy”

Public Scholar Program
  • Thomas Andrews, Univ. of Colorado, Boulder, “Animals in the History of the United States”
  • Linda Przybyszewski, Univ. of Notre Dame, “The Unexpected Origins of Modern Religious Liberty”
  • Jason Sokol, Univ. of New Hampshire, “Shot Rings Out: How Martin Luther King Jr.’s Death Was Lived”

Landmarks of American History               
  • George Boudreau, La Salle Univ., “Benjamin Franklin and the American People”
  • Jennifer Dorsey, Siena Coll., “Religious Revival, Utopian Society, and the Shaker Experience in America”
  • Eric Rauchway, Univ. of California, Davis, “The Transcontinental Railroad: Transforming California and the Nation”
  • Stephen Robertson, Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media, “Graffiti Houses: The Civil War from the Perspective of Individual Soldiers”
  • Jose Torre, State Univ. of New York, Coll. at Brockport, “The Rochester Reform Trail: Women’s Rights, Religion, and Abolition on the Genesee River and the Erie Canal”

Scholarly Editions and Translations
  • Daniel Feller, Univ. of Tennessee, Knoxville, “The Papers of Andrew Jackson: A Documentary Edition”
  • Edward Lengel, Univ. of Virginia, “The Papers of George Washington”
  • Constance Schulz, Univ. of South Carolina, Columbia, “The Revolutionary Era Pinckney Statesmen of South Carolina: A Digital Documentary Edition: Phase 2”
  • J.C.A. Stagg, Univ. of Virginia, “The Papers of James Madison”
  • Harry Stout, Yale Univ., “Jonathan Edwards Center Online Initiative”

Institutes for College and University Teachers
  • Kevin Butterfield, Univ. of Oklahoma, “Westward Expansion and the Constitution in the Early American Republic”
  • Donna Ray, Graduate Center, CUNY, “The Visual Culture of the American Civil War and Its Aftermath”
  • Kurtis Schaeffer, Univ. of Virginia, “Problems of the Study of Religion”

Digital Humanities Implementation Grants
  • David Eltis, Emory Univ., “Enhancing and Sustaining”
  • Erika Lee, Univ. of Minnesota, Twin Cities, “Immigrant Stories”

Institutes for Advanced Topics in the Digital Humanities
  • Sharon Leon, George Mason Univ., “Doing Digital History 2016: An Institute for Mid-Career American Historians”

Are You Applying for a Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Humanities?

If so, you have about a month to submit your application.  The deadline is April 30, 2015.

With that in mind, Chris Cameron of the African-American Intellectual History blog has provided some useful advice.  Here is a small taste:

In terms of who should write for you, it is fine to have a letter from your doctoral advisor as long as her or his expertise also covers the topic of your new project. You should have full professors or people very well known in their fields writing for you, and both of your letters should not be from people too close to you. So if your advisor is writing, don’t have someone else from your dissertation committee or a colleague at your own institution write you a letter. You also want to avoid letters from your grad school friends, unless that friend has gone on to be a full professor, endowed chair, or someone very well-known and respected in their field. If they are still a junior faculty member or recently tenured, ask someone else.

Read the entire post here.

On Writing the History of the American Bible Society–Update #91

Want to get some context for this post? Click here.

In yesterday’s post I mentioned that my work on the ABS project has been stalled due to the work I am doing on grant applications for my upcoming sabbatical.

Today I think it is fair to say that the ABS project has been temporarily derailed due to the work I am doing on grant applications.  Grant applications take a lot of time to write.  And since every grant-giving institution requires something a little bit different in its application, it makes it hard to write a boilerplate essay and use it for every grant.

I finished a big proposal today and have one more big proposal to write.  I had hoped that I would be able to complete these applications without having to intrude on the time I am devoting to the ABS project, but that is not going to happen.  Moreover, sometimes life intrudes on work.  My daughter’s volleyball team is preparing for what we all hope will be a nice playoff run and my wife and I are in the process finding a team for her 2015 club season. 

I WILL get the train back on the track.  Stay tuned.  In the meantime, “time” is punishing me.

I do, however, have some good news to report.  I just learned that one of our team–Katie Garland, a public history graduate student at the University of Massachusetts–was just appointed to the Religion, Historic Sites, and Museums” working group at the next annual meeting of the National Council for Public History.”  Nice work, Katie.

On Writing the History of the American Bible Society–Update #90

Want to get some context for this post? Click here.

Mama said there’d days like this. 

I was unable to carve out any time today to work on the American Bible Society project. Instead, I was in a local diner at 4:45 this morning sipping coffee and eating oatmeal trying to write a grant proposal for my upcoming sabbatical.  I am driving hard to meet my November 1 grant deadlines and I am bit worried that my work on the ABS project will slow down as a result.

Meanwhile the reports I am receiving from the project’s other research fronts are very positive. Katie is hard at work doing research on chapters related to the ABS labors in Mexico and the Levant.  Alyssa is nearing completion of the research on a chapter devoted to Eugene Nida and the Good News Bible.  

The whole project is currently behind schedule, but I still think we can get back on track by the end of the year.   Stay tuned.

Attention Pennsylvania Historical Societies and Museums!!

By Megan Piette

The 2013-2014 state budget reserved $2 million for the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission museum grant program. This is almost double the funding it received from the 2012-2013 budget.  Said grants can range from $3,000 to $65,000 and applications are required by March 14. Members of the commission, including Senate President Joe Scarnati, Speaker of the House Sam Smith, Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Jake Corman, and several others stress how important museums are for educating the public. Here is a taste of what they had to say:

“Our Commonwealth is fortunate to have outstanding museums and historic sites across all of Pennsylvania,” Senator Scarnati said. “I am pleased that again this year, the historical support grants will help to preserve our history by offering many museums and historical societies assistance they need to continue providing excellent educational opportunities, while also raising the quality of life for Pennsylvania residents.”

“Museums inspire curiosity and allow people to interpret works of art, history and culture,” Representative Smith stated. “For the public good, they collect, safeguard and hold in trust valuable artifacts.”

“Pennsylvania’s museums connect us to our state’s rich history and teach us important lessons from the past to help us be a better state today,” Senator Pileggi said. “I’m pleased to support this important grant program.”

“A museum preserves archives and displays important historical collections,” Representative Turzai said. “We ask museums to apply for General Operating Support for grants to maintain these valuable treasures of our Commonwealth, and to ensure future generations can learn from them.”

Free Access to the Twitter Archive

Have you been waiting for the opportunity to study tweets?  If so, you may be interested in learning that Twitter has opened its archives to researchers–for free.  Here is a taste of an article at Wired:

The social networking outfit has long sold access to its enormous collection of tweets — a record of what the people of the world are doing and saying — hooking companies like Google and Yahoo into the “Twitter fire hose.” But now, through a new grant program, it wants to make it easier for social scientists and other academics to explore its tweet archive, which stretches back to 2006.

Twitter previously worked with researchers from Johns Hopkins University to predict where flu outbreaks will hit, and the new program aims to open doors for similar projects. The company is now accepting applications from researchers, who have until March 15 to submit a proposal.

Academics see huge value in the data collected by social media companies like Twitter and Facebook. “You’ve got potentially the largest data set on human interaction ever,” Devin Gaffney — a developer at a tech startup called Little Bird who holds a master’s degree in Social Science of the Internet from Oxford University — told us last year. “It will be biased towards people who are on the internet, but it’s still better than before. Plus, it’s less work. You don’t have to talk to 10,000 people. You just write some code to do it for you.”

Apply for the Michael Kraus Research Grant in American Colonial History

The American Historical Association offers the Michael Kraus Research Grants to recognize the most deserving proposal relating to work in progress on a research project in American colonial history, with particular reference to the intercultural aspects of American and European relations. These modest annual grants are intended to further research in progress and may be used for travel to a library or archive, for microfilms, photographs, or photocopying—a list of purposes that is meant to be merely illustrative, not exhaustive (other expenses, such as child care, can be included). Individual grants up to $800 will be awarded. See the list of past recipients.


Only members of the Association are eligible to apply for AHA research grants. Preference will be given to those with specific research needs, such as the completion of a project or completion of a discrete segment thereof. Preference will be given to advanced doctoral students, non-tenured faculty, and unaffiliated scholars.

Please note: Within a five-year period, no individual is eligible to receive more than a combined total of $1,000 from all AHA research grants.

Application Process and Deadline
The AHA has partnered with Interfolio to manage our research grant application process. Application instructions for members are available here. (You must be logged in to access this page.) Applications must be submitted through Interfolio by February 15 each year. Mailed, e-mailed, or faxed applications will not be accepted.

Applications must include

  • CV (three to five pages maximum)
  • statement of no more than 750 words describing your project
  • one-page bibliography
  • project budget worksheet

Selection Process
A selection committee reviews applications each spring, and applicants will be notified of the committee’s decision by e-mail in mid-May. Awards are distributed each June. Please, no phone calls.

Successful applicants will be expected to complete a survey outlining how the funds were used and how they furthered the grantee’s research. 

New Research Fellowships at Mount Vernon

Mount Vernon 2013 Fellowship Program

Supporting Research on the Life, Leadership, and
Legacy of George Washington


The Fred W. Smith National Library for the Study of George Washington at Mount Vernon is accepting applications for its inaugural fellowships.  These fellowships are designed to support short-term and long-termfunded residential research. Slated to open in fall 2013, the Library is located at Mount Vernon, just 16 miles south of Washington, D.C. near Alexandria, Va.

Fellowships will be awarded to applicants whose research focuses on the life, leadership and legacy of George Washington and his place in the development of American civic life and culture. Applications will also be evaluated on their relevance to the Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association’s mission, which is to preserve, restore, and manage the estate of George Washington and to educate visitors and people throughout the world about his life, legacies, character, and leadership.

These funded research opportunities are available to doctoral candidates at the dissertation stage, and those who have a PhD or standing as an advanced scholar in a relevant field.  Applicants may be U.S. residents or international scholars with permission to enter the U.S. for this purpose. Applications are due by November 15, 2012. 

For more information click here

To apply, click here.