National Endowment for the Humanities and The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Announce Grants to Make Books Available to Public Audiences

Second round of Humanities Open Book grant recipients announced

Humanities Open Book
WASHINGTON, (April 5, 2017)

Today the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the largest funders of the humanities in the United States, announced eight grants totaling nearly $600,000 that will transform important humanities texts into freely available ebooks.

The second round of funding for the Humanities Open Book program, offered jointly by NEH and Mellon, will make awards to publishers that have identified more than 400 significant books that enhance public knowledge of topics such as American philosophy, Hawaiian and Pacific languages, and women’s history. With NEH and Mellon support, publishers will digitize these books, secure permissions from copyright holders, and release them online for access by public audiences. (See list of projects below.)

Since the first Humanities Open Book grants were announced in December 2015, publishers and libraries across the United States have launched programs to release scholarly books that are largely out-of-print or unavailable to readers who lack access to research libraries. In 2016, Cornell University Press unveiled Cornell Open, a website with a growing collection of free ebooks that are ready for download by teachers, students, and the general public.

The Humanities Open Book program is part of the NEH’s agency-wide initiative The Common Good: The Humanities in the Public Square, which seeks to demonstrate and enhance the role and significance of the humanities and humanities scholarship in public life.

“Too many out-of-print books are gathering dust instead of being put to use,” said NEH Chairman William D. Adams. “The National Endowment for the Humanities is proud to partner with the Mellon Foundation to help digitize these valuable resources and bring them to computers, phones, and e-readers everywhere.”

“Academic and non-academic researchers increasingly use the Internet as a source of information and a vehicle for disseminating the results of their work,” said Earl Lewis, President of The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. “Today, more than ever, scholars, teachers, students, and members of the public need access on the Internet to reliable and authoritative works that were previously published but are now out-of-print.  The Humanities Open Book initiative seeks to help provide that much-needed access.”

Awarded Projects




American Numismatic Society


Production, including electronic encoding, of 127 freely accessible ebooks, originally published by the American Numismatics Society, on coins, currency, and medals

Borderline: Foundation for Academic Studies


Creation of freely accessible ebooks for 42 seminal titles in Russian literary and cultural history originally published by Academic Studies Press.

Cornell University


Creation of freely accessible ebooks for 57 titles originally published by Cornell University Press in anthropology, classics, political science, and literary theory

Fordham University


Production of 21 freely accessible ebooks initially published by Fordham University Press with an emphasis on American philosophy

Syracuse University


Creation of freely accessible ebooks for 23 titles originally published by Syracuse University Press in Irish studies and New York State regional studies

Temple University


Creation of freely accessible ebooks for 25-30 texts initially published by Temple University Press, with an emphasis on labor studies

University of Arizona


Creation of freely accessible ebooks for 24 titles in a variety of disciplines focused on the cultures of the Southwest U.S., originally published by University of Arizona Press.

University of Hawaii


Creation of freely accessible ebooks for 100 titles foundational to Asian and Pacific studies, particularly the study of regional cultures and languages, published originally by the University of Hawaii Press

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Theola Debose: (202) 606-8255 |