Major Grant Funds Digitization of the Newberry's Indigenous Peoples of North and Central American Book Collection

(April 24, 2024)

Fine Books Magazine 

The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) has awarded the Newberry a grant of $336,288 to digitize more than 2,000 rare books and manuscripts documenting languages spoken or formerly spoken by the Indigenous peoples of North and Central America. 

The Edward E. Ayer North and Middle American Linguistics Collection features books, periodicals, Bibles, and dictionaries representing an estimated 300 languages. The digitization of these items, which should be completed by July 2026, will improve access for scholars and contemporary Native communities, particularly those focused on language revitalization efforts. 

“This exciting grant award has been years and even decades in the making,” said Astrida Orle Tantillo, President and Librarian of the Newberry Library in Chicago. “It will improve access to important historical language documentation in collaboration with tribal communities and our McNickle Center for American Indian and Indigenous Studies. The Newberry is grateful for this generous support.” 

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