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Grantee Spotlight: Rejoice Scherry

Rejoice Scherry stands in front of library shelves showing off select items from her collection

"As a historically black university founded in 1891, our history is our nation’s history, so we have to be good stewards of our university archives. They are full of aerial photographs, pictures of buildings no longer in existence, and candid images of student life from decades past. Until recently, our collection was haphazardly packed away in unlabeled boxes. Our NEH grant allowed us to hire a professional conservator to assess our collection, buy protective sleeves for the photographs, and organize it so that the collection can be put to use instead of collecting dust.

I recently received a call from a woman who was starting a scholarship in memory of her late nephew. She wanted to know if we had any photos of him when he was a DSU student to include in a fundraising brochure. Thanks to our archives’ new organizational system, I was able to find three photos of her nephew out of the thousands in our collection in less than thirty seconds. That was the moment this project clicked for me. This is our resource. This is what we do. This is how we’re helping our university, our students, and the public."

Delaware State University received a $3,106 grant to support the survey and preservation of the Alumni and Campus Life Photograph Collection.