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Tomorrow marks the first birthday of the online tool, Founders Online –

This resource contains over 150,000 transcribed letters and other writings of six Founders of the nation – George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, Alexander Hamilton, and Benjamin Franklin. The transcribed documents are all in one place, fully searchable, and freely available to all. The NHPRC was extremely fortunate to be given the chance to put the funding and the Founders Online team together, and we hope everyone reaps the benefits of this unique resource.

We have a lot to celebrate after one year. Almost 450,000 unique visitors have used the site since its launch, with a current average of about 1500 daily users. Organizations have begun to recognize the website with distinguished awards and associated accolades. We have seen the site used as a primary resource tool in classrooms, including its use as a teaching tool for a massive open online course (MOOC) on The Age of Jefferson. And we’ve witnessed important, unexpected results. For example, some private holders of previously unknown or undiscovered original documents have shared this new information with us and with the teams of editors who continue work on transcriptions and annotation.

But I need your help with figuring out what’s next for Founders Online. While we are celebrating the first year of this new resource, we also want to improve its usefulness. Here are a few things that you can help with in going forward:

We want a tool that is dynamic. Although we continue to add documents from a handful of editorial teams working on the Washington, Adams, Jefferson, Madison, and Franklin papers projects, is this sufficient in terms of the necessary growth of Founders Online? Should it strive to be more comprehensive? Will the results meet researcher needs? In other words, should the coverage expand beyond these seminal figures and if yes, in what way(s)?

Is there value in linking transcriptions with original documents/digital images? Documents from the National Archives (NARA) make up about 13% of the Founders Online content. That seems like a great opportunity to link NARA catalogs, digital images and other tools to Founders Online. In this way researchers can see the documents, or images of the documents, and transcribed versions of them, complete with annotations. How can we make this happen? I have similar questions about large caches of other digitized documents maintained at other places – the Library of Congress, for example. Assuming this is worthwhile to do, how can we link Founders Online to the individual documents held there?

What’s the best way to make Founders Online better known, especially with educators and students? The usage numbers for its first year are respectable, but there are many opportunities to better connect this resource with educators (high school through college) as well as the general public.  What are they? I have a few projects lined up to address this challenge – a short “how to” video in the works, a curriculum development project underway with a humanities center – but there must be additional activities I should be planning for as we begin year two of Founders Online.

It’s likely that there are other things I should be thinking about as well for Founders Online, and I invite you to share your thoughts and help us enhance this tool during the coming year.  Thanks!

Ike’s Thank You

by on June 6, 2014

A week after the D-Day invasion on June 6, 1944, General Dwight Eisenhower sent the following message on June 13 to the Troops of the Allied Expeditionary Forces after touring the Normandy beachhead:


“One week ago this morning there was established through your coordinated efforts, our first foot-hold in Northwestern Europe. High as was my pre-invasion confidence in your courage, skill and effectiveness in working together as a unit, your accomplishments in the first seven days of this Campaign have exceeded my brightest hopes.

You are a truly great Allied Team; a Team in which each part gains its greatest satisfaction in rendering maximum assistance to the entire body and in which each individual member is justifiably confident in all others.

No matter how prolonged or bitter the struggle that lies ahead you will do your full part toward the restoration of a free France, the liberation of all European nations under Axis domination, and the destruction of the Nazi military machine.

I truly congratulate you upon a brilliantly successful beginning to this great undertaking. Liberty-loving people, everywhere, would today like to join me in saying to you ‘I am proud of you.’”

From the Papers of Dwight David Eisenhower (, a project supported by the NHPRC. The Army photo shows Gen Dwight Eisenhower, Gen George Marshall, and Gen “Hap” Arnold, beside their VIP DUKW during their tour of the Normandy beachhead, Normandy, France, Jun 12, 1944.

Pickles and Steel!

by on June 3, 2014


The Historical Society of Western Pennsylvania in Pittsburgh received an NHPRC grant to support a two-year project to process 13 collections that document business and industries in western Pennsylvania, 1844-2002.

The Historical Society of Western Pennsylvania was established in 1879 and began doing business as the Senator John Heinz History Center (HHC) in 1996. HHC is considered the largest history museum in Pennsylvania. The Library and Archives Division is responsible for documenting the history and culture of western Pennsylvania and its regional, national, and global contexts by collecting, preserving, and providing access to primary and secondary sources. More than 860 finding aids are available online and 5,000 images are available on Historic Pittsburgh ( HHC has also recently established a website called Life in Western Pennsylvania ( which provides access to over 800 images and 12 moving image clips.

In 2011, the NHPRC awarded a grant to HHC for the basic-level processing of over 600 collections totaling 2,130 linear feet. These collections date from the late-18th century to the present and document business and industry, ethnic communities, arts organizations, religious groups, civic entities, and politics.

Business and industry collections are among those most frequently requested by researchers and are used by a wide range of researchers, including high school and college students, curators planning exhibits, academics, genealogists, documentary producers, and authors of both scholarly and general interest publications. The collections targeted for this project include records of influential Pittsburgh-based companies such as Westinghouse, Alcoa, Heinz, and U.S. Steel, as well as several smaller firms. These records, which document the beginning and evolution of the nation’s aluminum, glass, consumer electronics, steel, energy, food, and financial services industries, reveal diverse aspects of these companies and shed light on initiatives to recruit immigrants, women, and minorities to the workforce; World War I and II production efforts; labor union strife; national transportation systems and infrastructure; the rise and fall of manufacturing; the evolution of advertising; and the emergence of the multinational corporation.

The webinar on the grant announcement for the NHPRC Publishing Historical Records in Documentary Editions held on Tuesday, May 20, 3:00 PM EDT was recorded.

You can watch and listen here:

If you have questions, please ask.

Read all about the meeting of United States Minister John Adams with King George III and take a look at how the report was dramatized on HBO’s “John Adams.”


The National Historical Publications and Records Commission seeks proposals from organizations to continue the Archives Leadership Institute. First funded in 2008, the Archives Leadership Institute seeks to bring to tomorrow’s leaders the insights and understanding necessary for increasing public use and appreciation of archives.

The Commission expects to make one award for up to three years with the expectation that an institute will take place each year beginning in 2016. Applicants may propose to host two or three institutes, depending on the total time period of their projects. The total award will be up to $225,000.

  • Draft (optional) Deadline:   October 1, 2014
  • Final Deadline:   December 4, 2014

NHPRC support begins no earlier than July 1, 2015.

Read the full announcement at


Washington, DC…Archivist of the United States David S. Ferriero has awarded 30 grants totaling $2.62 million for historical records projects in 18 states and the District of Columbia. The National Archives grants program is carried out through the National Historical Publications and Records Commission. A complete list of new grants is available online at

Grants totaling $1.1 million were recommended for 14 documentary editing projects to publish the papers of key American figures including Andrew Jackson, Walt Whitman, Abraham Lincoln, Ulysses S. Grant, Martin Luther King, Jr., Eleanor Roosevelt, Thomas Edison, and the Presidential Recordings project.

Grants totaling $1.5 million were recommended for 15 archival projects, including: projects to process the records of Oklahoma City; state government archives in South Dakota; the gubernatorial records of three Pennsylvania governors and former Arkansas Governor Jim “Guy” Tucker; labor records at the Reuther Library Archives of Labor and Urban Affairs at Wayne State University; emancipation records in Maryland; and records from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. An Innovation grant was awarded to George Washington University to explore innovative methods to facilitate the preservation and use of social media collections by developing viable preservation tools.

Pictured here is a copy of a manumission record from the Maryland State Archives.


by on April 30, 2014

Lots of big changes here at the NHPRC over the past few months. You can read all about our new grant programs, meet our new Commission Member, and check out stories about some ongoing projects at


I would like to bring to your attention two upcoming webinars regarding the NHPRC’s proposed new grant program for State Board Programming Grants. This program replaces the former State and National Archival Partnership (SNAP) grant program. The webinar schedule and instructions appear at the end of this message.

The National Historical Publications and Records Commission seeks proposals that strengthen the nation’s archival network through activities undertaken by state historical records advisory boards (SHRABs). The purpose of this grant program is to assist state boards to enhance access to historical records, increase citizen engagement with records, and provide learning and development opportunities for students, citizens and professional archivists. The Commission will award grants to State Historical Records Advisory Boards to:

– Provide educational and outreach programs, workshops, and other activities that enhance citizen and student engagement with historical records

– Operate state-based regrant and scholarship programs that advance access to historical records.

– Collaborate on projects with other organizations to address common problems or shared opportunities within a state or among a consortium of state archives.

– Hold or participate in meetings and public forums on statewide or national archival issues.

Applicants may apply for grants of up to $40,000 for 12-month projects or up to $80,000 for 24-month projects. A portion of the funding may be used for costs to administer and operate proposed board activities.

The NHPRC expects to award approximately 30 grants in this program. The total amount allocated for this program is up to $700,000. Grants begin no earlier than March 1, 2015.

Application deadlines: DRAFT June 16, 2014; FINAL August 27, 2014.

Webinars will be held on the following dates and times:

Wednesday, May 7 @ 3:00 p.m. Eastern

Tuesday, June 24 @ 4:00 p.m. Eastern

Webinar attendees will need to click on the following link:

and enter their name and email address.


I’m pleased to host two webinars to discuss the grant announcement for Publishing Historical Records in Documentary Editions.

Changes in the grant announcement mean that current recipients and new applicants are encouraged to attend.

The first is Tuesday, May 20, 2014 at 3:00 pm EDT

The second is Thursday, May 29, 2014 at 2:00 pm EDT

To join either, you use the same link:

If you have questions you wish me to address, please email me at

Lucy Barber

The National Historical Publications and Records Commission seeks proposals to publish documentary editions of historical records of national significance. Projects may focus on the papers of major figures from American life 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, progress towards preparing the edition, and a justification of the new budget.

If a currently-funded project is preparing only a print edition, they 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 (December 4, 2014). Such projects may also prepare print editions as part of their overall publishing plan.

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 March 1, 2015.

There are two deadlines:

Any currently funded NHPRC documentary edition project

Draft (optional): June 16, 2014

Final Deadline: August 27, 2014

NHPRC support begins no earlier than March 1, 2015.

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

Draft (optional): October 1, 2014

Final Deadline: December 4, 2014

NHPRC support begins no earlier than July 1, 2015.

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