Skip to main content


NEH in the News

Selected articles on NEH-supported projects.
Posted: June 14, 2018 78 indigenous languages are being saved by optical scanning tech
Fast Company

Like in countless science-fiction stories, researchers at UC Berkeley are using futuristic technology to save a piece of the past. Project IRENE is using cutting-edge optical scan technology to transfer and digitally restore recordings of indigenous languages, many of which no longer have living speakers, Hyperallergic first reported.

The recordings were gathered between 1900 and 1938 when UC anthropologists asked native speakers of 78 indigenous languages of California to record their songs, histories, prayers, and vocabulary on wax cylinders. Many of those cylinders are housed at Berkeley’s Phoebe A. Hearst Museum of Anthropology, and they are in a state of disrepair, degraded and broken. It’s a frustrating state of affairs, as many of the languages recorded on the cylinders have fallen out of use or are no longer spoken at all.

The “Documenting Endangered Languages” initiative, which has support from the National Science Foundation and the National Endowment for the Humanities, is hoping to save this important history.

Posted: June 14, 2018 Berkshire Immigrant Stories Exhibit: 'It's so important that we tell these stories'
The Berkshire Eagle

An intricately engraved silver bracelet. A Peruvian paratrooper pin. Family recipes and photographs of loved ones left behind but not forgotten. These are among the things people living in the Berkshires have carried with them through their journeys to the United States from homes abroad.

This month, photos of these objects and the narratives behind them are on display in the "Berkshire Immigrant Stories Exhibit" at the Lichtenstein Center for the Arts.  Collected over the past year and a half, they can also be seen and read in an online archive, "Your Story, Our Story," developed by the Tenement Museum of New York, under the category of Berkshire Immigrant Stories. The local entries were gathered through a grant-funded initiative based at Berkshire Community College.

"The stories here on the walls are very personal and also energizing," said Antonia "Toni" Buckley, Berkshire Immigrant Stories project coordinator.  After this month, Buckley said the grant funding from the Mass Humanities and the National Endowment for the Humanities, which supported the collection and exhibition of the local immigrant stories, will not be renewed. But, she said, she is hopeful that the efforts to at least grow the online gallery of Berkshire Immigrant Stories will continue, and continue to be shared.

Posted: June 14, 2018 New Richmond to host upcoming Ohio Chautauqua
The Clermont Sun

New Richmond has once again been selected as one of four communities in the state to host this event that combines living history performances, music, education and audience participation. “We were very happy and excited that we were chosen to host this year,” “Roberts said.

This year marks the 20th anniversary of the annual tour and will celebrate the “Modern Legends” Erma Bombeck, Cesar Chavez, Betty Friedan, Benjamin O. Davis Jr., and Roberts Francis Kennedy.

The five-day event, presented by Ohio Humanities with support from the National Endowment for the Humanities, runs from June 26 – 30, with free performances beginning at 7:30 p.m. daily in the large tend in front of the New Richmond Bandstand, located at Western Avenue and Front Street. Live local music will start at 6:30 p.m.

Posted: June 13, 2018 American Foundation for the Blind Launches the First Fully Accessible Digital Archive of the Helen Keller Collection
PR Newswire

The American Foundation for the Blind (AFB) today announced the launch of the Helen Keller Archive, the world's first fully accessible digital archive collection, comprising more than 160,000 artifacts, dedicated to the fascinating life of Helen Keller.

The Helen Keller Archive is the largest repository of historical content about Helen Keller, whose iconic name is known in every corner of the globe for her groundbreaking work as an author, political activist, and humanitarian who played a critical role in changing public perceptions about people with disabilities.

The Archive, available at, was made possible thanks to Keller's close relationship with AFB, where she worked for 44 years. At the time of her death, she bequeathed all of her belongings, including gifts from around the world, to AFB to create the Archive. Due to their fragility, many of these items were unavailable to the public until now. This momentous online project, generously supported by the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and American Express, is also the first of its kind to be fully accessible to blind, deaf, hard-of-hearing, low vision, and deafblind audiences.

The digitized Helen Keller Archive presents an opportunity to encounter this renowned historical figure in a new, dynamic, and exciting way. For example, despite her fame, relatively few people know that Helen Keller wrote 14 books as well as hundreds of essays and articles on a broad array of subjects ranging from animals and atomic energy to Mahatma Gandhi. The Archive's vast treasure trove of artifacts about Helen Keller includes personal letters, speeches, press clippings, scrapbooks, photographs, photograph albums, oversize materials, architectural drawings, and audio-visual materials.

Posted: June 13, 2018 Summer Reading Soiree at HSP’s Updike Farm Features Benedict
Princeton Town Topics

Marie Benedict will be the featured author at this year’s Summer Reading Soiree, a festive celebration of books taking place on Tuesday, June 19, at 6:30 p.m. The event is being held in the restored barn at the Historical Society of Princeton’s Updike Farmstead at 354 Quaker Road.

Benedict will discuss and sign copies of her book, Carnegie’s Maid, during the event, and copies of The Other Einstein, her first historical novel, will also be available. Registration is not required.

“We are excited to partner with the Historical Society of Princeton for the library’s third annual Summer Reading Soiree,” said Public Programming Librarian Janie Hermann. “The soiree, a lovely evening where we gather to share our enthusiasm about summer reading, is held each year in a location that reflects the theme of the book or author being featured. Marie Benedict is an author of historical novels, so holding the event at the Historical Society’s Updike Farmstead was the perfect match.”

The Summer Reading Soiree is co-sponsored by the library and the Historical Society of Princeton with support from Labyrinth Books. This event is presented with support from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH). Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this programming do not necessarily represent those of the NEH.

Posted: June 13, 2018 Faust Named Kluge Prize Recipient
EIN News for Global Professionals

Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden today announced that Drew Gilpin Faust, historian, university president and author of the Bancroft Prize-winning book “This Republic of Suffering: Death and the American Civil War,” will receive the John W. Kluge Prize for Achievement in the Study of Humanity.

The $1 million Kluge Prize, bestowed through the generosity of the late John W. Kluge, will be awarded during a gala ceremony in the Great Hall of the Library of Congress on Sept. 12, 2018.

The Kluge Prize recognizes individuals whose outstanding scholarship in the humanities and social sciences has shaped public affairs and civil society. The international prize highlights the value of researchers who communicate beyond the scholarly community and have had a major impact on social and political issues.

 “The Library of Congress is thrilled to recognize Drew Gilpin Faust for her extraordinary work researching, writing and teaching about the fabric of American life,” said Hayden. “Through her extensive writing about Southern identity, she has explored themes of deep relevance to our national conversation on race and gender. As the first female president of Harvard University, she has also led one of the most esteemed educational institutions in the world through a period of intense growth and transformation.”

Faust’s honors include honorary doctorates from Bowdoin College (May 2007), Peking University (May 2008), the University of Pennsylvania (May 2008), Yale University (May 2008), Princeton University (May 2010), Oxford University (May 2012), University of Maryland Baltimore County (May 2016) and Boston College (May 2018). Faust has been included in the Forbes list of “100 Most Powerful Women” and the National Endowment for the Humanities selected her to give the Jefferson Lecture in 2011.

Posted: June 11, 2018 Educators Examining Addiction in American History During NEH Summer Institute
University of Kentucky News

Educators from across the country will delve deeper into the history of addiction during a summer institute being held at the University of Kentucky. The three-week course titled, "Addiction in American History," runs June 10-29.

Twenty-five K-12 summer scholars were chosen through a nationally competitive selection process. Together, they will participate in learning academic content from leading historians and take part in pedagogy workshops. Almost every geographic region will be represented at the institute. Scholars are coming from as far as California and Washington; with the closest being from Lexington.

The prestigious institute is made possible by a grant awarded by the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH). The grants, offered annually, provide summer professional development for educators who spend anywhere from one to four weeks studying a topic and integrating this study into their current teaching.

"What I find most exciting about the programs is the way they’re designed to inspire teachers to implement new ideas and projects in diverse educational settings across the country," Claire Clark, assistant professor of behavioral sciences at UK and director of the institute, said.

Posted: June 11, 2018 'Worlds Of Ursula K. Le Guin'

Novelist Ursula K. Le Guin changed the way we viewed science fiction/fantasy writing, dragging it from the shadows of pulp fiction disdain towards the realms of literary respectability. Arwen Curry’s loving documentary charts her life and work and how closely the two were intertwined. Offering both insight and admiration, Worlds Of Ursula K. Le Guin is ideal for Festivals and arts channels.

Le Guin, who died earlier this year, spent her life breaking down barriers and fighting prejudice. Interviews capture a sense of her sharp intelligence and enquiring mind. “I never wanted to be a writer, “ she comments. “ I just wrote.” She left a legacy of over 20 novels alongside collections of poetry, songs and countless stories.

Partially funded by a successful Kickstarter campaign and a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, Arwen Curry filmed with Le Guin during the last decade of her life as her reputation soared and her influence was acknowledged by Neil Gaiman, David Mitchell and others who had followed in her footsteps. Elements of biography are woven around an attempt to understand the inspirations for Le Guin’s work and how she matured as an artist. The fact that her father was a noted anthropologist may have sparked her interest in science and alternative ways of living. Her mother’s skill as a writer made her confident to enter a world that had been dominated by men.

Posted: June 11, 2018 NEH grant to help Siena Heights develop humanities curriculum
The Daily Telegram

Siena Heights University recently was awarded a $35,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities for curriculum development.

The grant, part of the NEH Connections grant program, is titled “Philosophy, Politics and Economics: Creating a new minor/certificate program at Siena Heights University,” according to a news release.

Siena Heights is one of 15 universities nationwide and the only university in Michigan awarded the grant, university officials said. The funding will support the development of a new curricular pathway for students with interests in political theory, political philosophy and economic theory.

“Contemporary economic and political approaches to problems tend to be ideological and or technical and often lack ethical, philosophical, cultural, and historical perspectives,” said SHU assistant professor of philosophy Jennifer Kling, the project’s principal investigator. “The program supported by this funding seeks to prepare our student scholars with a more holistic approach to political or economic problems with added emphasis on ethical and historical considerations.”

Posted: June 11, 2018 Eisman receives NEH fellowship for research on East German contemporary artist
Iowa State University News Service

Art historian April Eisman, an Iowa State University associate professor of art and visual culture, has received a National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship to spend the 2018-2019 academic year doing research in Germany.

Eisman will use the yearlong fellowship to complete her second book, “Angela Hampel: A Contemporary Artist in East Germany,” and begin work on a third book project. 

Part of the last generation of artists to come of age in the former East Germany and one of its most successful and outspoken artists, Hampel made frequent speeches demanding greater inclusion of women in the art world, while her Neo-expressionist paintings of strong women from mythology and the Bible appeared in major exhibitions on both sides of the Berlin Wall.

“Hampel was hugely important not only as an artist but as a feminist voice in East Germany, where, prior to reunification, women represented 25 to 30 percent of artists. While far from equal, this was a much higher percentage than in West Germany, where women’s inclusion was usually less than 10 percent,” Eisman said.

“Hampel was at the forefront of the push for gender equality and had seen real progress. Rights for women in the west, in comparison, were far behind; once the wall came down, it was hard for her to come to terms with that, and her work changed.”