National Historical Publications & Records Commission

FY 2016 Grant Announcement (Initial):

Publishing Historical Records in Documentary Editions

The National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC) of the National Archives supports projects that promote access to America's historical records to encourage understanding of our democracy, history, and culture.

The following grant application information is for Publishing Historical Records in Documentary Editions.

Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) Number:   89.003

There are two deadlines for this opportunity. Projects currently receiving funds from the NHPRC may apply at either deadline. Projects not currently receiving funds from the NHPRC must apply against the second deadline.

First Deadline: Any currently funded NHPRC documentary edition project:

Funding Opportunity Number:   EDITIONS-201506

  • Draft (optional):   April 3, 2015
  • Final Deadline:   June 17, 2015

NHPRC support begins no earlier than January 1, 2016.

Second Deadline: Any currently funded NHPRC documentary edition project and any project seeking first time support

Funding Opportunity Number:   EDITIONS-201510

  • Draft (optional):   August 3, 2015
  • Final Deadline:   October 8, 2015

NHPRC support begins no earlier than July 1, 2016.

Grant Program Description

The National Historical Publications and Records Commission seeks proposals to publish documentary editions of historical records. Projects may focus on the papers of major figures from American history or cover broad historical movements in politics, military, business, social reform, the arts, and other aspects of the national experience. The historical value of the records and their expected usefulness to broad audiences must justify the costs of the project.

The goal of this program is to provide access to, and editorial context for, the historical documents and records that tell the American story. The NHPRC encourages projects, whenever possible and appropriate, to provide access to these materials in a free and open online environment, without precluding other forms of publication.

Grants are awarded for collecting, describing, preserving, compiling, editing, and publishing documentary source materials in print and online. Because of the focus on documentary sources, grants do not support preparation of critical editions of published works unless such works are just a small portion of the larger project.

All applicants should be aware that the application process is highly competitive. Applicants from ongoing project must: demonstrate that they have successfully achieved the performance objectives associated with previous NHPRC awards; provide updated, current information, including a description of the new activities; show progress towards completing the edition; and justify costs in a new budget.

If a currently-funded project is preparing only a print edition, it must either complete the project by 2018 or make plans to prepare an online edition by 2018. In the latter instance, projects may also prepare print editions as part of their overall publishing plan. Print-only editions should contact the NHPRC staff for technical assistance in preparing an application.

New projects and projects that have never received an NHPRC grant must include plans for an online edition and apply at the second deadline (October 8, 2015). Such projects may also prepare print editions as part of their overall publishing plan.

For a comprehensive list of Commission's limitations on funding, please see What We Do and Do Not Fund.

Award Information

Applicants may apply for funding for one year. Award amounts may range from $30,000 to $200,000. Depending on the availability of funding, the Commission expects to make as many as 25 grants in this category, for a total of up to $2,500,000. Grants begin no earlier than January 1, 2016.

The Commission requires that grant recipients acknowledge NHPRC grant assistance in all publications and other products that result from its support.


  • U.S. nonprofit organizations or institutions
  • U.S. colleges, universities, and other academic institutions
  • State or local government agencies
  • Federally-acknowledged or state-recognized Native American tribes or groups

Cost Sharing

The total costs of a project are shared between the NHPRC and the applicant organization.

The Commission provides no more than 50 per cent of total direct project costs in the Publishing Historical Records in Documentary Editions category. NHPRC grant recipients are not permitted to use grant funds for indirect costs (as indicated in 2 CFR 2600.101).

Cost sharing is required. The applicantís financial contribution may include both direct and indirect expenses, in-kind contributions, non-Federal third-party contributions, and any income earned directly by the project. Indirect costs must be listed under the applicantís cost sharing contribution.

Other Requirements

Applicant organizations must be registered in the System for Award Management (SAM) prior to submitting an application, maintain SAM registration throughout the application and award process, and include a valid DUNS number in their application. Details on SAM registration and requesting a DUNS number can be found at the System for Award Management website at Please refer to the User Guides section and the Grants Registrations PDF.

A complete application includes the Application for Federal Assistance (Standard Form 424), Assurances -- Non-Construction Programs (Standard Form 424B), a Project Narrative, Summary, Supplementary Materials, and Budget. Applications lacking these items will not be considered.

Ineligible applications will not be reviewed.

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Application and Submission Information

All information necessary to apply is included in this announcement. If you need the information supplied in an alternative format, please call the NHPRC at 202-357-5010.

Applicants should follow the instructions on how to fill out the online forms and apply electronically using the Application Instructions.

The NHPRC requires that grant applications be submitted via In the event that is experiencing technical difficulties that prevent submission, applicants must first attempt to resolve the issue with the Contact Center (800-518-4726). If cannot solve the problem, applicants may request an alternative. To make use of the NHPRC backup system, applicants must contact Jeff De La Concepcion (202-357-5022) no later than 3:00 p.m. Eastern Time on the day of the deadline with their valid Contact Center trouble-ticket number.

In order to ensure eligibility, applicants should first review the rules and regulations governing NHPRC grants under the Administering an NHPRC Grant section.

Applicants are encouraged to submit drafts, but drafts are not required. If you wish to submit a draft for the first deadline, submit by April 3, 2015. If you wish to submit a draft for the second deadline, submit by August 3, 2015. The draft should be sent by email to Darrell Meadows, Director for Publishing, ( and should include a draft narrative and budget.

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Project Narrative

The Project Narrative is a description of the proposal. It should be no more than 20 double-spaced pages in 12-pt type on 8.5 x 11 inch paper with standard margins.

Please organize your narrative in sections:

  1. Overview: Begin with a brief overview of your editorial projectís goals and previous accomplishments. Explain when you began your editorial project and when you expect the historical documentary edition to be completed.

  2. Historical Overview: Describe the historical importance of individuals, events, developments, organizations, and places whose history is documented by the project in general and in the period covered by the work to be completed during the proposed grant period. Explain how increased access to these documentary source materials will increase public understanding of national history and culture.

  3. Project Methods: Outline your editorial procedures Specify the methods you use for document collection, selection and arrangement, transcription, annotation, and indexing. Indicate what you have done to secure the necessary permission for publication of materials from holders of literary rights or copyrights.

  4. Publishing Methods: Explain the method(s) by which you will provide access to the materials and work results (for example, print editions, ebooks, subscription websites, free online PDFs, and/or free database-based websites). Describe plans for providing online access to the edition and (if applicable) for retrospective conversion of previous volumes. Please note: All current NHPRC-funded projects should include a plan for online access or completion of a print-only edition by 2018. If agreements with publishers restrict you from providing access online by 2018, please explain.

    New projects must include a plan for online access as a publishing method.

  5. Preservation Standards: The Commission expects the final products of documentary publishing projects, including electronic versions, to be maintained in their entirety for long-term access. For print publication, indicate your publishing standards. For online publication, please identify the technical standards you will use in digitizing, encoding, and linking materials. Describe your digital preservation plans that will preserve the digital information and provide continued access.

  6. Plan of work: Outline each stage of the planned work within the grant period, identifying which staff members are responsible for which tasks. You may clarify complex work plans with a more detailed work plan in the supplemental materials. Describe the total number of documents you expect to work at each stage, the number of volumes you expect print, and/or other products you plan to produce during the grant period. In addition, specify how much more work is necessary to complete the project after this grant period.

    Ongoing projects Explain how any shortfalls have been addressed in terms of management changes or staffing reallocations. In addition, the proposal must detail any changes from previous projections of the scope of work and anticipated completion date for the entire project since your previous grant award from the NHPRC (supplemental materials may be used for charts if more appropriate).

  7. Impact of Project: For ongoing projects, demonstrate the impact of the projectís efforts to make these historical records accessible. This might include reviews; citations in other media such as books, film or television programs, and websites; or use in exhibits, classrooms, textbooks, or curricula. All projects, especially new ones, should describe how they plan to track such impact.

  8. Qualifications of Staff: Describe the qualifications of the project's principal staff members. In the supplementary materials, provide a résum&eacture; of not more than two pages per person for all staff named in the project budget. For those staff members to be hired for the project, provide job descriptions, specify the qualifications that will be sought in candidates for vacant positions, and describe the roles to be played by all project staff, consultants, and contractors.

    Some projects benefit from advisory boards that provide special expertise. If you have an advisory board, identify the members and their area(s) of specialization.

  9. Performance Objectives: List four to six objectives by which we can measure your performance. For example, the number of images to be acquired during the grant period, the number of documents you plan to transcribe and/or annotate during the grant period; the number volumes completed; the number of documents added to a website, etc. You should focus on quantifying what you intend to accomplish and complete.

Project Summary

The Project Summary should be no more than 3 double-spaced pages in 12-pt type with standard margins, and it must include these sections:

  • Purposes and Goals of the Project
  • Plan of Work for the Grant Period
  • Products and Publications to be completed during the Grant Period
  • Names, Phone and Fax Numbers, and E-Mail Addresses of the Project Director and Key Personnel
    Please ensure that the project director listed on this summary is the same person listed in Section 8 (f), of the SF 424. If your institution requires a different contact person on the SF 424, please explain in one sentence.
  • Performance Objectives

Supplementary Materials

Prepare up to 35 pages of Supplementary Materials to your Narrative, such as:

  • Résumés of named staff members (please use only institutional addresses and phone numbers) (required)
  • Position descriptions for staff to be hired with grant funds (required, if applicable)
  • A detailed work plan that supplements the Narrative
  • Statements of commitment to the project by partners
  • Sample document facsimiles accompanied by transcription and annotation from the volumes to be worked on during the proposed period.

If these materials are available on a web site, please provide the URL(s).

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Project Budget

You must submit a budget on the NHPRC Budget Form available on the Application Instructions page. Note that the form itself contains additional instructions. You may include with your application a narrative budget supplement for budget categories that require further detail. Provide specific budget figures, rounding to the nearest dollar.

Applicants will be asked to compute the project costs to be charged to NHPRC Federal grant funds as well as those that will be supported by the applicant. The applicantís cost sharing includes both direct and indirect expenses, in-kind contributions, non-Federal third-party contributions, and any income earned directly by the project. All of the items listed, whether supported by grant funds or your cost-sharing contributions, must be reasonable and necessary to accomplish project objectives, allowable in terms of the applicable federal cost principles, auditable, and incurred during the grant period. Applicants should review the appropriate Office of Management and Budget circulars on cost principles.

If the project expects program income, it should be allocated among specific budget categories on the cost-sharing column of the project budget. The total amount of expected program income should be reported on the NHPRC budget form under "Project Funding for Entire Grant Period." The same amount should appear on the Application for Federal Assistance, SF424, item 18f. Please use the narrative budget supplement to explain the calculation of the expected income and its allocation.

Charges to the project for items such as salaries, fringe benefits, travel, and contractual services must conform to the written policies and established practices of the applicant organization. In addition, successful applicants will be required to certify that they have adequate accounting and timekeeping procedures to meet Federal requirements.

Budget Categories

In preparing the budget, please follow the suggestions below in each of the categories:

Salaries:   List each staff position and compensation that will be charged to the project and show the percentage of time each staff member will devote to the project. Indicate which positions are to be filled for the proposed project and which personnel are already on the staff of the applicant institution. Grant funds may be used to pay the salaries of only those individuals actually working on the project. You may count the time provided to the project by advisory board members.

Fringe Benefits:   Include employee benefits using your organization's standard rates. No separate benefits should be included for positions that are computed at a daily rate or using honoraria.

Consultant Fees:   Include payments for consultant services and honoraria. Provide justification for large or unusual consultant fees. List consultant travel expenses in the "Travel" category.

Travel:   Include transportation, lodging, and per diem expenses. The NHPRC does not fund staff travel to professional meetings unless the travel is essential to accomplish the goals of the project.

Supplies and Materials:   Include routine office supplies and supplies ordinarily used in professional practices. Justify the cost of specialized materials and supplies in a supplemental budget narrative.

Services:   Include the cost of duplication and printing, long-distance telephone, equipment leasing, postage, contracts with third parties, and other services that you are not including under other budget categories or as indirect-cost expenses. The costs of project activities to be undertaken by each third-party contractor should be included in this category as a single line item charge. Include a complete itemization of the costs in a supplemental budget narrative.

Other costs:   Include costs for necessary equipment above $5,000, stipends for participants in projects, and other items not included in previous grant categories. The NHPRC does not provide grant funds for the acquisition of routine equipment such as office furnishings, shelving, and file cabinets, but we may provide grant support for the purchase of technical equipment, such as software, computers and peripherals, essential for a project.

Indirect costs:   As indicated in 2 CFR 2600.101, NHPRC grant recipients are not permitted to use grant funds for indirect costs; however, a grant recipient may use indirect costs for cost sharing.

Submission Dates and Times

This funding category has two application deadlines:

First Deadline Open to any currently funded NHPRC documentary edition project:

  • Draft (optional): April 3, 2015
  • Final Deadline: June 17, 2015

Applications must be submitted electronically by midnight Eastern Time on June 17, 2015.

NHPRC support begins no earlier than January 1, 2016.

Second Deadline Any currently funded NHPRC documentary edition project and any project seeking first time support:

  • Draft (optional): August 3, 2015
  • Final Deadline: October 8, 2015

Applications must be submitted electronically by midnight Eastern Time on October 8, 2015.

NHPRC support begins no earlier than July 1, 2016.

Deadline Policy: Given that technical or administrative difficulties with may periodically delay the timely submission or receipt of applications, the Commission staff will make provisions for the receipt of such applications past the established deadline. Under these circumstances, applicants with technical or administrative issues related to must contact NHPRC staff as soon as possible, but no later than by 3:00 PM Eastern Time on the published application deadline. Applications that fail to meet deadlines for reasons other than those noted will not be considered for funding.

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Application Review Information

The NHPRC staff will acknowledge receipt of the application soon after we receive it. The following evaluation criteria and weights will be used by NHPRC staff and other reviewers to form recommendations.

Criteria for Publishing Historical Records in Documentary Editions

  1. The historical significance of the documents to be edited. (35 percent)
  2. The coherence and effectiveness of the proposed work plan, including any plans for online publication, if applicable. (30 percent)
  3. Qualifications of the project staff. (20 percent)
  4. Plans for disseminating project products, including evidence of how these projects benefit, or will benefit, scholars and the public. (15 percent)

Application Review Process

After submitting a proposal, do not discuss the pending application to the NHPRC with any Member of the Commission. Commission members must ensure fair and equitable treatment of all applications and do not discuss proposals with individual applicants.

  • Peer Reviewers
    We will ask 5 to 10 external peer reviewers to evaluate the proposal.
  • Commission Staff
    Approximately 3 months after the submission deadline, the Project Director will receive blind copies of reviewers' comments and questions from the Commission staff. Applicants then have an opportunity to expand on the material provided in the application, clear up any misconceptions, and generally strengthen the proposal before the Commission meeting. Staff makes overall recommendations to the Archivist, who chairs the Commission, based on the appropriateness of the project in meeting the Commission's goals, the proposal's completeness, conformity to application requirements and overall eligibility, and answers to the staff's questions letter.
  • The Commission
    AAfter reviewing proposals, the comments of peer reviewers, the applicants' responses to the reviews, and evaluations by the Commission staff, Commission members deliberate on proposals and make funding recommendations to the Archivist of the United States who, as Commission Chairman, has final statutory authority and selects award recipients. Throughout this process, all members of the Commission and its staff follow conflict-of-interest rules to assure fair and equal treatment of every application.

Project Endorsement

Some applicants may receive formal endorsement of their projects without funding. The Commission may award an endorsement in lieu of a grant. Commission endorsement may assist projects in gaining alternative financial or other forms of support and acknowledgement.

Award Administration Information


Grants are contingent upon available appropriated funds. In some cases, the Commission will adjust grant amounts depending upon the number of recommended proposals and total budget. The Commission may recommend that the Archivist approve the proposal and extend an offer of a grant with applicable terms and conditions, or it may recommend rejection of the proposal. Grant applicants will be notified within 2 weeks after the Archivist's decision.

Successful applicants will receive an informal offer of award and be required to verify their acceptance of general terms and condition, and complete a statement on their Financial Capability and Accounting Systems. Once these are received and reviewed, the NHPRC will issue an official award notice.

Administrative Requirements

In order to ensure that you can manage a grant, applicants should review the Federal grant administration rules and regulations governing grants from the NHPRC listed in the Administering an NHPRC Grant section.


In most cases, award recipients will report on their performance in narrative reports every six months and submit financial reports once a year.

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Agency Contact

Before beginning the process, applicants are encouraged to contact Darrell Meadows, Director for Publishing, ( or 202-357-5321 who may:

  • Advise the applicant about the review process;
  • Answer questions about what activities are eligible for support;
  • Supply samples of successful applications;
  • Read and comment on a preliminary draft. Applicants should submit a draft at least 2 months before the deadline.

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