National Archives Awards $3.5 Million in Grants for Documentary Editing and Archival Projects
Press Release · Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Washington, DC

Archivist of the United States David S. Ferriero has awarded $3,492,445 for 35 projects in 21 states to improve public access to historical records. The National Archives grants program is carried out through the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC). A complete list of new grants is available online at

Grants went to 13 documentary editing projects to publish the papers of key American figures, including Jane Addams, Abraham Lincoln, and Frederick Douglass. The Institute for Editing Historical Documents, which began in 1972, received a grant to continue its work in providing training to documentary editors.  

Two grants went to projects to increase public engagement with historical records: the Historical Society of Pennsylvania will run a week-long summer institute for K-12 educators to train them in archival research and provide them with strategies to use primary source materials in their curricula, and the History Center in Tompkins County, New York, will use U.S. Census records, Sanborn maps, and other records to develop a web application for educators to illustrate how local communities looked in the past and evolved over time.  Six planning grants were awarded for Archives Collaboratives, designed to create partnerships for archives in small, rural, and under-resourced communities or to unite archives with shared affinities: the Saginaw Chippewa Tribe, Arab American collections, and collaboratives in Nashville, the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, and across Washington received small grants to set up potential collaboratives.

Providing public access to historical records is the focus of 13 projects, including digitizing papers of major historical figures and institutions including Philadelphia’s famed J.B. Lippincott publishing company; pioneer game designer’s Sid Sackson’s papers at The Strong Museum; Southwest archaeologist Earl Morris at the University of Colorado; the Woodward Collection, one of the nation’s largest advertising archives, at the University of Illinois; the papers of three 20th century children’s book writers and illustrators at the University of Oregon; noted African American journalist Marguerite Cartwright’s papers at the Amistad Center at Tulane University; digital conversion of reel-to-reel audiotapes from the Vermont General Assembly, and a project to bring together 54,200 documents related to the history of Alaska. A special effort to support early legal records resulted in projects in Maryland, Kentucky, North Carolina, Maine, and Wisconsin to preserve these key pieces of American history.

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


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This page was last reviewed on May 15, 2019.
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