National Historical Publications & Records Commission

Publishing Historical Records in Documentary Editions

FY 2019 Grant Announcement (Initial):

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. New projects and projects currently receiving funds from the NHPRC may apply at either deadline.

First Deadline

Funding Opportunity Number:   EDITIONS-201806

  • Draft (optional):   April 4, 2018
  • Final Deadline:   June 13, 2018

NHPRC support begins no earlier than January 1, 2019.

Second Deadline

Funding Opportunity Number:   EDITIONS-201810

  • Draft (optional):   August 1, 2018
  • Final Deadline:   October 4, 2018

NHPRC support begins no earlier than July 1, 2019.

The deadline for this opportunity has passed. These guidelines may be used for reference, but should NOT be used to prepare an application.

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, social reform, business, military, 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The goal of this program is to provide access to, and editorial context for, the historical documents and records that tell the American story. Applicants should demonstrate familiarity with the best practices recommended by the Association for Documentary Editing or the Modern Language Association Committee on Scholarly Editions.

All new projects (those which have never received NHPRC funding) must publish a digital edition which provides online access to a searchable collection of all documents. (Ebooks or volumes in PDF do not qualify for the purposes of this grant program.) New projects may also prepare print editions as part of their overall publishing plan, but the contents of those volumes must be published online within a reasonable period of time following print publication.  The NHPRC encourages projects to provide free access to online editions. Projects that do not have definitive plans for digital dissemination and preservation in place at the time of application will not be considered.

Grants are awarded for collecting, describing, preserving, compiling, transcribing, annotating, editing, encoding, and publishing documentary source materials online and in print.  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.

For a comprehensive list of Commission limitations on funding, please see: " What we do and do not fund" []. Applications that consist entirely of ineligible activities will not be considered.

Ongoing projects:

Applicants from ongoing projects 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; describe the content and historical significance of the specific materials to be edited during the proposed grant period; show progress towards completing the edition; and justify costs in a new budget.

Award Information

A grant is for one year and for up to $200,000. The Commission expects to make up to 25 grants in this category for a total of up to $2,500,000. Grants begin no earlier than January 1, 2019.

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 applicant’s 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 applicant’s 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.

Ineligible applications will not be reviewed.

Application Information

You must use to submit your Proposal. All information necessary to apply is included in this announcement, the Application Instructions, and the forms on If you need the information supplied in an alternative format, please call the NHPRC at 202-357-5010.

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

Preparing Your Application

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.

Using the Application Instructions, fill out the Standard Form 424, the SF 424B, and the NHPRC Budget Form. You will also prepare a Project Narrative, a Project Summary, and Supplementary Materials to attach to your Application Package.

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 the following sections:

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

Historical Overview: Provide an overview of the historical importance of the individuals, events, developments, organizations, and places whose history is documented by the project in general. Then, you must also describe the significance of the specific documents and/or other materials to be edited during the proposed grant period. Explain how increased access to these latter documentary source materials will enhance public understanding of U.S. history, society and culture.

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

Publishing Methods: Explain the digital methods and related platform(s) you will employ to provide online access to the materials and work results. If applicable, describe plans for retrospective digital conversion of previously published print volumes. For online publication, please also identify the technical standards you will use in digitizing, controlling, encoding, and linking materials. How will these online materials be made broadly discoverable for researchers and the general public?  If you are also producing a print edition, describe plans for simultaneous or subsequent online publication of the material. (Some projects now prepare digital files that can serve both print and digital publication simultaneously.)

Preservation Standards: The Commission expects the final products of funded projects to be maintained in their entirety for long-term access. For print publication, indicate your publishing standards. For online publication, describe your digital preservation plans that will preserve the digital information and provide continued access. If available, please provide a link to your institution’s digital preservation plan.

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 on at each stage, the number of volumes you expect to publish, and/or other products you plan to produce during the grant period, including how many transcribed and annotated documents will be published online, and when. In addition, specify how much more work is necessary to complete the project after this grant period.

Ongoing projects Explain how any performance shortfalls during the past two grant cycles 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).

Impact of Project: For ongoing projects, demonstrate the impact of the project’s 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. If your project makes use of student workers, indicate how this work is advancing their professional development and enhancing the educational goals of your institution. All projects, especially new ones, should describe how they plan to track impact. 

Qualifications of Staff: Describe the qualifications of the project's principal staff members. In the supplementary materials, provide a résumé 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.

Performance Objectives:List six to eight objectives by which we can measure your performance. For example, the number of document 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 of volumes completed; the number of transcribed and annotated 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

Submit no more than 35 pages of the following Supplementary Materials:

  • Brief résumés of named staff members (no more than two pages each; please use only institutional addresses and phone numbers)
  • Position descriptions for any new positions to be paid for with grant funds
  • A detailed work plan that supplements the Narrative
  • Sample document facsimiles accompanied by transcription and annotation from the volumes to be worked on during the proposed period.
  • Statements of commitment to the project by partners (if applicable)

If these materials are available on a web site, please provide the URL(s). Reviewers appreciate applications with fewer supplemental pages.

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 applicant’s 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.

Submission Dates and Times

Applicants are encouraged to submit drafts, but they are not required. The drafts should be sent by email to the Director of Publishing, Darrell Meadows ( and should include a draft narrative and budget.

This funding category has two application deadlines:

First Deadline

  • Draft (optional): April 4, 2018
  • Final Deadline: Applications must be submitted electronically by midnight Eastern Time on June 13, 2018.

NHPRC support begins no earlier than January 1, 2019.

Second Deadline:

  • Draft (optional): August 1, 2018
  • Final Deadline: Applications must be submitted electronically by midnight Eastern Time on October 4, 2018.

NHPRC support begins no earlier than July 1, 2019.

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 Jeff de la Concepcion (jeff.delaconcepcion@nara.go) or 202-357-5022 as soon as possible, but no later than by 3:00 p.m. 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.

Proposal 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 during the period of the grant. (35 percent)
  2. The coherence and effectiveness of the proposed work plan, including any plans for online publication. (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)

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, we will send to the Project Director anonymous copies of reviewers' comments along with specific questions from the Commission staff. Applicants have an opportunity to answer the reviewers and Commission staff’s questions and comments.
  • The Commission
    After reviewing proposals, reviewers’ comments, the applicants' responses, and evaluations by the Commission staff, the Commission members deliberate and make funding recommendations to the Archivist of the United States, who 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.

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 two 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.

For awards that meet or exceed the Federal government’s simplified acquisition threshold (currently $150,000), NHPRC staff will first review and consider any information about the applicant that appears in the designated integrity and performance system. This information is accessible through SAM (currently FAPIIS) (see 41 U.S.C. 2313). After this review, NHPRC staff will follow the procedures in 2 CFR 200, subpart F, Appendix I, part e.3.

Once these are received, reviewed and acceptable, 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.

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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