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Digital humanities projects highlighted in NEH celebration
Four projects associated with UNL and its Center for Digital Research in the Humanities are among more than 50 highlighted by the National Endowment for the Humanities in a website celebrating its 50th anniversary.
President Lyndon Johnson signed legislation creating the NEH and the National Endowment for the Arts on Sept. 29, 1965, with more than 200 people filling the White House Rose Garden to celebrate the bill signing. To mark the agency’s 50th anniversary, NEH officials chose grants that “changed the landscape of the humanities and … represent the best of work the NEH has funded over the last 50 years,” a NEH spokeswoman said.
“We’re really excited and proud to be represented in so many projects,” said Kay Walter, co-director of the Center for Digital Research in the Humanities.
Highlighted projects linked to UNL and the center include:
“David Livingstone Goes Viral,” efforts by Adrian Wisnicki, professor of English, to decode the famed explorer’s 1871 field diary, written in homemade ink on newspaper pages. The diary revealed Livingstone’s slide into a “moral abyss” after he made a devil’s bargain to travel with Arab slave traders. The project received a $483,605 NEH grant.
“The Real Buffalo Bill,” several projects to study and preserve the legacy of William F. “Buffalo Bill” Cody. UNL collaborated in projects to digitize and annotate Cody’s letters and papers, including materials from European tours of his Wild West show. Since 1978, the NEH has provided more than $2 million in funding to the Buffalo Bill Center of the West., based in the namesake town of Cody, Wyo.
“Journals of the Lewis and Clark Expedition,” the 22-year effort by UNL historian Gary E. Moulton to edit and annotate the journals and records of Meriwether Lewis and William Clark, sent by President Thomas Jefferson to explore the Louisiana Purchase and to find a water route to the Pacific. Moulton’s work inspired historian Stephen Ambrose to write “Undaunted Courage,” a New York Times best seller and the basis for an upcoming HBO film. The NEH provided more than $1.4 million for the project, which resulted in the 13-volume “Journals of the Lewis and Clark Expedition,” published by the University of Nebraska Press. With Moulton and other scholars, the Center for Digital Research in the Humanities developed an online edition of the journals with supplementary texts, images and audio.
“Newspapers: The First Draft of History,” an archive of 8 million pages of newspapers from 39 states and territories published between 1836 and 1922. UNL’s Center for Digital Research in the Humanities has digitized more than 260,000 pages of historically significant Nebraska newspapers as part of the national archive with funding of over half a million dollars.
In addition, at least three UNL-related websites are part of “EDSITEment,” an NEH project that features high quality online resources that can be used in the classroom. They include the Willa Cather Archive, the Walt Whitman Archive, and the Journals of the Lewis and Clark Expedition.