Grants and Acquisitions

Ann-Christe Galloway

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The George A. Smathers Libraries at the University of Florida were recently awarded funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) to digitize approximately 100,000 pages of historic newspapers. The $325,000 NEH grant will provide funding support for the “Florida and Puerto Rico Digital Newspaper Project,” which is part of the state’s and territory’s participation in the National Digital Newspaper Program. The project is a collaboration between the Smathers Libraries and the library at the University of Puerto Rico-Rio Piedras. It will provide a national, digital resource of historically significant newspapers published between 1836 and 1922 from Florida and Puerto Rico. The completed project will provide free, Internet-based access to newspapers that are currently available only on aging microfilm. The digitized papers will be available through the Library of Congress Chronicling America (http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/), the University of Florida Libraries Florida Digital Newspaper Library (http://ufdc.ufl.edu/fdnl1), and the Biblioteca Digital Puertorriqueña at the University of Puerto Rico (http://bibliotecadigital.uprrp.edu/cdm/).

Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has been awarded a $300,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities. The grant will be used to fund the partial renovation of the existing Special Collections wing of the George C. Gordon Library, which will create a sustainable environment to preserve access to Humanities, Innovation, and STEM Education collections. The WPI collection contains documents pertaining to the industrial history of Central Massachusetts, the Charles Hill Morgan diaries, a rare book collection dating to the 1500s, and several other historic university and private documents, garments, artwork, and sculpture. The university archives include the original 1865 land grant for the Worcester County Free Institute of Industrial Science, which later became WPI and was one of the nation’s earliest technological universities, and the papers of past presidents and trustees. The manuscript collection includes faculty and alumni papers, a Worcester corporate archive, and art and literature collections.

Acquisitions

The archive of Julia Alvarez—novelist, poet, and essayist—has been acquired by the Harry Ransom Center, a humanities research library and museum at the University of Texas-Austin. Alvarez’s extensive archive consists of manuscripts, correspondence, journals, and professional files. The manuscripts span her writing career and include fiction, nonfiction, poetry, essays, and unpublished works, often in multiple drafts. Alvarez regularly sent drafts of her work to friends and colleagues, and these copies usually bear handwritten comments from the reader alongside Alvarez’s revisions. Alvarez’s correspondence includes poems and letters from fellow writers, such as Sandra Cisneros, Edwidge Danticat, Dana Gioia, and Marilyn Hacker. Alvarez was born in New York City but raised in the Dominican Republic until she was 10. In 1960 her family was forced to flee the Dominican Republic when it was discovered that her father was involved in a plot to overthrow dictator Rafael Trujillo. Much of Alvarez’s work is considered semi-autobiographical, drawing on her experiences as an immigrant and her bicultural identity. Alvarez’s unique experiences have shaped and infused her writing—from such award-winning novels as How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents and In the Time of the Butterflies to her poetry.

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