The Northern Illinois University Libraries are the recipient of a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) for nearly $350,000, part of $22.2 million in awards recently announced by the NEH. Other Illinois recipients this year include the Field Museum of Natural History and the Newberry Library.
NIU’s project is directed by Matthew Short, Digital Collections and Metadata librarian at the university. More than 4,400 volumes of dime novels and story papers published by Street & Smith, a New York City firm in operation from 1855 to 1959, will be digitized. The project will provide images and full texts of the works, catalog records for the volumes and indexed entries for every story, series and author, to augment an existing online bibliography of dime novels that can be found at dimenovels.org. NIU will partner with academic libraries at Villanova University, Stanford University, Bowling Green State University and Oberlin College on this effort.
Short said that digitizing these works is a last chance at preserving an important part of American culture.