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$10.52 Million Awarded in Federal “Save America’s Treasures” Grants

NEH to administer grants for five of the 40 funded projects

WASHINGTON (December 17, 2008)—The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) will be administering five of the 40 “Save America’s Treasures” grants announced this week by the President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities (PCAH) and the National Park Service (NPS). The Save America’s Treasures program addresses the urgent preservation needs of the nation’s most significant historic sites and collections. The program is administered by NPS in partnership with PCAH, the National Endowment for Arts, NEH, and the Institute of Museum and Library Services.

The 40 Save America’s Treasures grant awardees will receive a total of $10.52 million in funding; the five grants administered by the Endowment will receive $1,260,415. Grants are awarded on a competitive basis and must be matched dollar-for-dollar with non-federal funds. Below is a list of the five projects supported by NEH. [See the complete NPS/PCAH list (10-page PDF) of the 40 projects.]

American Jewish Historical Society–Mordecai Sheftall Papers: Conservation, Preservation, and Digitization, New York, N.Y.
This project will preserve and make available a major Revolutionary War era collection, the papers of Mordecai Sheftall, who was Commissary General for Georgia’s Continental troops in 1777 and 1778. The Mordecai Sheftall Papers comprise some 3,300 documents that are a rich chronicle of his service and an invaluable record on the makeup of the Continental militia, the presence of women among the military units, the trafficking in and treatment of slaves, the treatment of the sick and injured, and the diet and clothing of both soldiers and civilians. The collection is currently in such poor physical condition that it cannot be used for research, exhibition or any other purposes. The SAT grant will support the preservation and digitization of these papers and ensure their future use. ($48,946)

Bancroft Library–San Francisco Examiner Photograph Archive, San Francisco, Calif.
The San Francisco Examiner Photograph Archive, ca.1920-1990, is the photographic morgue of the Examiner newspaper, the flagship of the Hearst publishing empire. The archive is estimated to consist of 3.6 million negatives and 1 million photoprints, and constitutes one of the largest holdings of photojournalism in the American West and a visual record of life in Northern California. The vast majority of the images taken were never published, thus the negative collection is an untapped reservoir of visual documentation. The grant funds will be used to move the negatives to a cold storage vault, sleeve the most historically important film negatives, and reformat the most important and threatened negatives. ($158,278)

Henry Melchior Muhlenberg Journal Collection, Philadelphia, Pa.
Known as the father of American Lutheranism, Henry Melchior Muhlenberg’s journals record descriptions of his travels and work that offer an unparalleled glimpse into 18th- century colonial America. Many of the journals are in poor condition and some can no longer be handled. The grant funds will be used to repair and rebind the texts, and digitize them to allow for increased access to their invaluable information. ($93,191)

Maine Maritime Museum, Bath, Maine
Maine Maritime Museum’s nationally and internationally significant collections of art, ships models, tools, artifacts, manuscripts and photographs are housed in the Maritime History Building, which has severe water penetration problems that threaten the collections. Using its SAT funds, the first phase of the project will repair the building’s structural problems to ensure the integrity of the collections. ($460,000)

New York Academy of Medicine–Library Stabilization Project, New York, N.Y.
The New York Academy of Medicine (NYAM) includes more than 750,000 volumes, 400,000 pamphlets, 275,000 portraits and illustrations, and a collection of about 35,000 rare books dating from ca. 1650 B.C. to 1820 A.D. To stabilize the collection, grant funds will be used to improve the environmental conditions. ($500,000)

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About the National Endowment for the Humanities

Created in 1965 as an independent federal agency, the National Endowment for the Humanities supports research and learning in history, literature, philosophy, and other areas of the humanities by funding selected, peer-reviewed proposals from around the nation. Additional information about the National Endowment for the Humanities and its grant programs is available at: www.neh.gov.

Media Contacts: Office of Communications at (202) 606-8446 or info@neh.gov