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Publishing Historical Records in Documentary Editions

Grants to USA Nonprofits, IHEs, Agencies, and
Tribes to Promote Access to Historic Records

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Funding Source:

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National Archives - National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC)

Deadline Date:

10/05/17 Midnight Eastern Time


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Grants to USA nonprofit organizations, IHEs, government agencies, and Native American tribes and groups to promote access to the nation’s historical records. Applicants are encouraged to contact program staff prior to applying. The purpose of this program is to enhance understanding of the nation’s democracy, history, and culture.

The National Historical Publications and Records Commission seeks proposals to publish documentary editions of historical records. Projects may focus on the papers of major figures from American history or cover broad historical movements in politics, military, business, social reform, the arts, and other aspects of the national experience. The historical value of the records and their expected usefulness to broad audiences must justify the costs of the project.

The goal of this program is to provide access to, and editorial context for, the historical documents and records that tell the American story. The NHPRC encourages projects, whenever possible and appropriate, to provide free access to these materials in an open online environment, without precluding other forms of publication. Applicants should demonstrate familiarity with the best practices recommended by the Association for Documentary Editing or the Modern Language Association Committee on Scholarly Editions.

Projects may also prepare print editions as part of their overall publishing plan. However, projects that do not have definitive plans for digital dissemination and preservation in place at the time of application will not be considered. It is also expected that the contents of any print volumes produced will be made available online within a reasonable period of time following print publication.

Grants are awarded for collecting, describing, preserving, compiling, transcribing, annotating, editing, encoding, and publishing documentary source materials online and in print. Because of the focus on documentary sources, grants do not support preparation of critical editions of published works unless such works are just a small portion of the larger project. All applicants should be aware that the application process is highly competitive.

Ongoing projects: Applicants from ongoing projects must demonstrate that they have successfully achieved the performance objectives associated with previous NHPRC awards; provide updated, current information, including a description of the new activities; describe the content and historical significance of the specific materials to be edited during the proposed grant period; show progress towards completing the edition; and justify costs in a new budget.

The Commission funds projects that deal with the following kinds of historical source material:
-Records of state, county, municipal, tribal, or other non-Federal units of government;
-Manuscripts, personal and family papers, or organizational and business archives;
-Collections of photographs, motion pictures, sound recordings, electronic records, and/or such visual materials as unpublished architectural, cartographic, and engineering drawings.

The Commission funds projects that focus on the following activities authorized in the NHPRC statute:
-Collecting, describing, preserving, compiling, and publishing (including microfilming and other forms of reproduction) documentary sources significant to the history of the United States;
-Implementing solutions to the challenges of preserving electronic records with permanent historical value;
-Conducting institutes and training and educational programs;
-Disseminating information about documentary sources through guides, directories, and other technical publications;
-Documentary editing and publishing; archival preservation and processing of records for access; developing or updating descriptive systems; creation and development of archival and records management programs; development of standards, tools, and techniques to advance the work of archivists, records managers, and documentary editors; and promotion of the use of records by teachers, students, and the public.

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 180922

Estimated Total Program Funding:


Number of Grants:

The Commission expects to make up to 25 grants in this category.

Estimated Size of Grant:

Up to $200,000

Term of Contract:

A grant is for one year. Grants begin no earlier than January 1, 2018.


  • City or township governments
  • County governments
  • Native American tribal governments (Federally recognized)
  • Nonprofits having a 501(c)(3) status with the IRS, other than institutions of higher education
  • Private institutions of higher education
  • Public and State controlled institutions of higher education
  • See RFP and/or Grant Guidelines for full eligibility
  • State governments

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

-U.S. nonprofit organizations or institutions
-U.S. colleges, universities, and other academic institutions
-State or local government agencies
-Federally-acknowledged or state-recognized Native American tribes or groups

The Commission does NOT fund projects to undertake the following activities:
-To construct, renovate, furnish, or purchase a building or land;
-To purchase manuscripts or other historical records;
-To exhibit or conserve archaeological artifacts, museum objects, or works of art;
-To undertake historical research apart from the editing of documentary publications;
-To undertake an oral history project unrelated to Native Americans;
-To catalog, acquire, or preserve books, periodicals, or other library materials;
-To acquire, preserve, or describe art objects, sheet music, or other works primarily of value as works of art or entertainment;
-To undertake a documentary editing project to publish the papers of someone who has been deceased for fewer than ten years;
-To undertake an archival project centered on the papers of an appointed or elected public official who remains in major office, or is politically active, or the majority of whose papers have not yet been accessioned in a repository;
-To undertake an arrangement, description, or preservation project in which the pertinent documents are privately owned or deposited in an institution subject to withdrawal upon demand for reasons other than requirements of law;
-To undertake arrangement, description, or preservation projects involving Federal government records that are (a) in the custody of the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), or (b) in the custody of some other Federal agency, or (c) have been deposited in a non-Federal institution without an agreement authorized by NARA. Many Federally funded activities not undertaken by the government itself produce documents that may in law be considered Federal records, including records produced under Federal contracts or grants. If your project deals with Federal records, you should talk further with the NHPRC staff.

As part of its funding restrictions, the Commission has deemed ineligible those projects in which:
-A major portion of the processed documents will be kept closed to researchers for more than five years;
-Documents are not accessible to all qualified users on equal terms;
-It is the repository's policy to deny public access; or
-A repository charges fees for making available the materials in its holdings. However, reasonable fees may be charged for copying material or providing special services or facilities not provided to all researchers.

The comprehensive list of Commission limitations on funding may be found here:

Pre-Application Information:

The Commission provides no more than 50 percent of total direct project costs in the Publishing Historical Records in Documentary Editions category.

Cost sharing is required. The applicant’s financial contribution may include both direct and indirect expenses, in-kind contributions, non-Federal third-party contributions, and any income earned directly by the project. Indirect costs must be listed under the applicant’s cost sharing contribution.

Applicant organizations must be registered in the System for Award Management (SAM) prior to submitting an application, maintain SAM registration throughout the application and award process, and include a valid DUNS number in their application.

There are two deadlines for this opportunity. New projects and projects currently receiving funds from the NHPRC may apply at either deadline.

Applicants are encouraged to submit drafts, but they are not required.

Before beginning the process, applicants are encouraged to contact Darrell Meadows, Director for Publishing.

First Deadline:
-Draft (optional): April 7, 2017
-Final Deadline: Applications must be submitted electronically by midnight Eastern Time on June 14, 2017.
-NHPRC support begins no earlier than January 1, 2018.

Second Deadline:
-Draft (optional): August 4, 2017
-Final Deadline: Applications must be submitted electronically by midnight Eastern Time on October 5, 2017.
-NHPRC support begins no earlier than July 1, 2018.

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Application Instructions:

Contact Information:

Before starting your grant application, please review the funding source's website listed below for updates/changes/addendums/conferences/LOIs.

Darrell Meadows, Director of Publishing

CFDA Number:


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URL for Full Text (RFP):

Geographic Focus:

USA: Alabama;   Alaska;   Arizona;   Arkansas;   California;   Colorado;   Connecticut;   Delaware;   Florida;   Georgia;   Hawaii;   Idaho;   Illinois;   Indiana;   Iowa;   Kansas;   Kentucky;   Louisiana;   Maine;   Maryland;   Massachusetts;   Michigan;   Minnesota;   Mississippi;   Missouri;   Montana;   Nebraska;   Nevada;   New Hampshire;   New Jersey;   New Mexico;   New York City;   New York;   North Carolina;   North Dakota;   Ohio;   Oklahoma;   Oregon;   Pennsylvania;   Rhode Island;   South Carolina;   South Dakota;   Tennessee;   Texas;   Utah;   Vermont;   Virginia;   Washington, DC;   Washington;   West Virginia;   Wisconsin;   Wyoming