Humanities Endowment Announces First We the People Grants

WASHINGTON, (June 16, 2003)

More than $1.5 million to support projects on American history, culture in NEH initiative

The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) today announced that 41 projects will receive more than $1.5 million in grants or matching funds reserved for the We the People initiative.

Eighteen new projects have been designated to receive a total of up to $836,500. These awards and offers are among the 103 successful grant applications that will receive up to $10.7 million in funding in the Endowment's most recent grant cycle.

An additional 23 previously announced projects also will be designated as We the People projects as they meet the requirements for their matching NEH offers that total $705,932.

"These We the People projects will help Americans from all walks of life gain greater understanding of our nation through the excellent work of humanities scholars, filmmakers, and radio producers," said NEH Chairman Bruce Cole. "These projects mark the beginning of the Endowment's long-term commitment to encouraging the teaching, learning, and understanding of American history and culture through the Endowment's grant programs."

In September 2002, President George W. Bush announced a new NEH initiative called We the People, which included a call for grant applications to explore significant events and themes in our nation's history. The president has requested $100 million from Congress over the next three years, beginning with a first installment of $25 million in fiscal year 2004, to support the Endowment's We the People initiative.

The following 18 new NEH public program and research grants are the first to be designated as We the People projects:

Media Projects

  • Benjamin Henry Latrobe: Architect of the New Republic; Maryland Historical Society, Baltimore, for a two-hour documentary film on the life of Benjamin Henry Latrobe and his contribution to the architecture of the new American republic (1764-1820).
  • John and Abigail Adams, WGBH Educational Foundation, Boston, Mass., for a three-hour, two-part television series on the lives of John and Abigail Adams.
  • The Percy Julian Biography Project; Educational Foundation, Boston, Mass., for a two-hour television documentary on Percy Julian, a prominent chemist, entrepreneur, civil rights activist, and the first African American elected to the National Academy of Sciences.
  • Louisa May Alcott; Filmmakers Collaborative, Waltham, Mass., for a 60-minute documentary film on the life of 19th-century novelist Louisa May Alcott, author of Little Women.
  • Thurgood Marshall Before the Court; Minnesota Public Radio, St. Paul, for a series of short radio segments and a Web site chronicling the career of Thurgood Marshall before he was appointed to the United States Supreme Court.
  • Ernest Hemingway: After the Storm; Educational Broadcasting Corporation, New York, N.Y., for a 90-minute documentary film on author Ernest Hemingway.
  • Annie Oakley: Woman, Myth and Symbol; Film/Video Arts, Inc., New York, N.Y., for a 90-minute historical documentary film on the life and times of sharpshooter Annie Oakley.
  • The Great Democratic Revolution; University of Virginia, Charlottesville, for a three-part television series exploring the meaning of democracy in the United States and abroad through a re-examination of the questions raised in Alexis de Tocqueville's Democracy in America.

Research Projects

  • Documentary History of the First Federal Congress, 1789-1791; George Washington University, Washington, D.C., for work on three volumes of the documentary history of the First Federal Congress.
  • John Dewey Correspondence; Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, for an electronic edition of philosopher and educator John Dewey's correspondence from 1871 to 1952.
  • Frederick Douglass Papers; Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, for completion of the third volume of Frederick Douglass's autobiographical writings.
  • Freedmen and Southern Society; University of Maryland, College Park, for completion of Land and Labor, 1866-1867, and initial preparation of Violence, Law, and Justice in a 9-volumes series called Freedom: A Documentary History of Emancipation, 1861-1867.
  • Adams Papers; Massachusetts Historical Society, Boston, for two volumes of the Family Correspondence series and two volumes of the Correspondence and Papers of Statesmen series of the Adams Papers.
  • The Thomas A. Edison Papers; Rutgers State University, Piscataway, N.J., for part of the image (microfilm) edition covering the years 1911-1920 and one volume (Apr. 1881-Mar. 1883) of the 15-volume book edition of the famous inventor's papers.
  • The Papers of General Nathanael Greene; Rhode Island Historical Society, Providence, for publication of the thirteenth and final volume of the letterpress edition of the Papers of Nathanael Greene, a distinguished general in the American Revolution.
  • The Papers of James Madison; University of Virginia, Charlottesville, for completion of three volumes and editorial preparations for three other volumes in the papers of the nation's "father of the Constitution" and fourth president.
  • Papers of John Marshall; Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture, Williamsburg, Va., for completion of the twelfth and final volume of the edition of the papers of American statesman and jurist John Marshall (1755-1835).
  • The Creek Texts of Mary R. Haas; College of William and Mary, Williamsburg, Va., for two-volume translation, edition, and digital sound-recording of 970 pages of texts on Creek, a tribal language prevalent in the Southeast, collected in Oklahoma just before World War II by anthropologist Mary R. Haas (1910-1996).

A state-by-state listing of all 103 new NEH grants is available as an Adobe PDF file in the above box. NEH grants are awarded on a competitive basis. Throughout the year, humanities experts serving on peer panels and on the National Council on the Humanities read applications and advise NEH on the significance and quality of each proposal.

Additional information about the Endowment's We the People initiative is available on the Internet at Information about NEH and its grant programs is available at

Media Contacts:
Office of Communications: (202) 606-8446 |