by Karin Wulf
National Endowment for the Humanities programs have been incalculably important to the shared understanding of the early American past. We are delighted to announce two successful NEH applications in support of the Omohundro Institute’s programs this year. The OI was awarded grants both for our residential postdoctoral fellowship program and for the Georgian Papers Programme.
The OI-NEH Postdoctoral Fellowship has supported scholars and important scholarship since 1983. The very first OI-NEH fellow was current McNeil Center Director and the Roy F. and Jeanette P. Nichols Professor of History at the University of Pennsylvania, Daniel Richter. Dan’s book, The Ordeal of the Longhouse: The Peoples of the Iroquois League in the Era of Colonization is widely recognized as one of the most important contributions to Native American history, and won two awards from the Organization of the American Historians, the Frederick Jackson Turner award, and the Ray Allan Billington prize. Readers have similarly appreciated subsequent OI-NEH Postdoctoral Fellows and their distinguished contributions to scholarship; the full list of fellows and their books can be found on the OI’s website.
The second NEH award is for a new project. I’ve written before about the OI’s work as a primary US partner for the Georgian Papers Programme, an extraordinary digital undertaking to make more than 350,000 items in the Royal Archives available online, promote their most creative and ambitious academic interpretation, and disseminate the material and the work as widely as possible. These materials illuminate in stunning ways the multidimensional Georgian world of which the Atlantic circuit was a critical part. As exciting, through the GPP, scholars, archivists and librarians are innovating ways to work together. Through a planning grant for “Access, Dissemination, and Interpretation of the GPP,” the NEH is supporting our international collaboration with colleagues at the Royal Archives, King’s College London and William & Mary Libraries to develop transcription and metadata practices.
As NEH Chairman Adams has recently observed, NEH grants “have reached into every part of the country and provided humanities programs and experiences that benefit all of our citizens.”
We’re incredibly grateful to the NEH for almost four decades of support for OI programs that explore the critical histories of vast early America.
Created in 1965 as an independent federal agency, the National Endowment for the Humanities supports research and learning in history, literature, philosophy, and other areas of the humanities by funding selected, peer-reviewed proposals from around the nation. Additional information about the National Endowment for the Humanities and its grant programs is available at: www.neh.gov.