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NEH in the News

Selected articles on NEH-supported projects.
Posted: May 12, 2017 Private Philanthropy Cannot Replace the NEH
Mellon Foundation News

When President Trump proposed defunding the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), some voices called upon private philanthropy to assume full responsibility for funding the arts and humanities. We were not one of those voices.

To the contrary, that approach would be neither smart nor productive. NEH’s role in shaping and promoting the preservation, study and development of American culture is larger than its relatively small budget suggests. Since 1965, and affirmed by a 1981 Presidential Task Force, the public-private partnership that pairs NEH funding with private philanthropy has served the nation’s interests. Therefore, the preservation and advancement of American culture in its effervescent diversity is not a job the private sector can or should shoulder alone.

We are gratified that Congress this week, as part of a last-minute measure to avoid a government shutdown, reached agreement on a budget that fully funds the NEH, along with the National Endowment for the Arts and the Institute of Museum and Library Services. We cannot, however, fallback on justifying this work only when it’s under threat, as it surely will be again. We need to constantly educate the public and policy makers about the critical role the endowments play as catalysts for other institutions, like Mellon, to engage in and support the humanities. 

Posted: May 12, 2017 Yiddish Book Center video features U.S. venues
San Diego Jewish World

The series can be viewed on the Yiddish Book Center’s website (yiddishbookcenter.org). A full collection of interview excerpts about Jewish neighborhoods can be viewed on the Center’s YouTube channel.

The Wexler Oral History Project is a growing collection of interviews with more than 700 people—writers and musicians, scholars and students, native Yiddish speakers and cultural activists—about their family histories, involvement with Yiddish language and culture, Jewish identity, and the transmission of culture and values across generations and communities. The project was recently awarded a $170,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Posted: May 12, 2017 Russian ‘Architecture at the End of the Earth’ draws American audience
Russian Beyond the Headlines

On May 6, William Craft Brumfield - professor of Slavic Studies at Tulane University - gave a lecture on Russian architecture as part of a public symposium at the University of Washington, Seattle. The talk was introduced by Dr. Michael Biggins, a Slavic, Baltic and East European studies specialist at the University of Washington Libraries.

The lecture was followed by a discussion devoted to the significance of Brumfield’s photographic documentation for the study of medieval and Baroque art.

The symposium also celebrated the completion of a major documentary project involving Brumfield’s photography. Over the past decade the University of Washington Library has collaborated with Professor Brumfield in producing a freely accessible database of some 30,000 of his Russian architectural images. With the support of a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the William Brumfield Russian Architecture Digital Collection of is now available to the public

Posted: May 12, 2017 Franco-American distinguished speakers at May 23 Veterans Program
Franco-American News and Culture

Severin Beliveau is a Franco-American and the Honorary French Consular to Maine. He will speak about Albert Beliveau, his father who was a World War I Officer, who served with the army in France.  Severin was born in Rumford to a distinguished family of Maine lawyers and judges. His father, Albert J. Beliveau, Sr., was a justice of the Maine Supreme Court.

Severin is the recipient of the French Legion of Honor Award, the highest distinction France awards civilians, for his leadership on key projects to improve the relationship between Maine and France (2008)

President of the American Association of the Forum Francophone des Affaires, the Maine-based United States chapter of a worldwide alliance of 36 French-speaking nations working to promote economic development through business, industry and technology exchanges.

Franco-Americans in International Service is a program sponsored by the University of Southern Maine Lewiston Auburn College (USM LAC) with a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Posted: May 12, 2017 NU Libraries receives federal grant to digitize folk music festival archive
The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University Libraries received nearly $300,000 from a federal grant, which will be used to digitize, describe and make available online a historic folk music archive, the University announced Wednesday.

According to a news release, the digitization of the Berkeley Folk Music Festival Archive will be funded by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, an independent federal agency that funds humanities programs in the U.S. The archive –– which features more than 30,000 items, including photographs, audio and film recordings, brochures, buttons, posters, tickets and business records documenting the festival between 1957 to 1970 –– was acquired by NU’s Charles Deering McCormick Library of Special Collections in 1974, the release said. The archive was compiled by the festival’s founder, Barry Olivier.

Scott Krafft, curator of the Charles Deering McCormick Library of Special Collections, said in the release that the archive will benefit the fields of history, American studies, music studies and performance, African American studies, digital humanities and political science.

Posted: May 12, 2017 Historian to tell about "Forgotten Abilene"
Abilene Reporter-News

Events, places, people and animals that most Abilenians know nothing about will be front and center May 18 when Jay Moore presents “Forgotten Abilene” at the Paramount Theater.

The presentation, which has been a year in the making, is scheduled to last 90 minutes, with Moore’s talk and 200 photos in a PowerPoint or “modern day slide show,” as Moore puts it. Moore promises some surprises and amazing historical tidbits.

The stories were gleaned from Abilene Reporter-News files and from stories that people told Moore or sent to him. They fall into four categories — crowds, unseen spaces, commotions, and animals. One of the unseen places is the federal courtroom in the downtown Post Office building.

Few people have been inside it. Those who have are amazed at the area where prisoners are held while awaiting their day in court.

“The holding cell looks like it’s straight out of Mayberry,” Moore said, referring to the fictional rural town where the 1960s Andy Griffith Show was set.

Moore, an Abilene High School history teacher and creator of the “History in Plain Sight” DVD series, recently was selected to serve on the board of Humanities Texas, an educational nonprofit that is the state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Posted: May 12, 2017 Torrington Historical Society plans movie screenings, events marking WWI
The Register Citizen

In conjunction with the centennial anniversary of World War I, the Torrington Historical Society will present a screening of two films, both related to Torrington’s World War I history.

The program will begin with the screening of “Never Forgotten,” a World War I documentary, produced by the American Battle Monuments Commission. This 24-minute film follows the story of Sergeant Paul Maynard, a Torrington doughboy who died on the last day of the war.

Among the first to volunteer for the Army, Maynard survived some of the most brutal fighting American forces endured, including the Battle of Belleau Wood, the Saint-Mihiel Campaign, and the Meuse-Argonne Offensive. In “Never Forgotten,” Maynard’s grandniece, Lisa Ann Maynard, and ABMC Superintendent, Dave Bedford, tell Maynard’s story in an effort to ensure that his legacy, and the legacies of all Americans who fought during the Great War, are never forgotten. The film highlights the role that letters have in telling a person’s story as well as reuniting family that had been separated through the years. This program will also feature a panel discussion about the film and the legacy of Sgt. Maynard. Panelists will include the filmmaker, Michael Shipman and Rick Maynard, a relative of Maynard. “Never Forgotten” has been made possible by the Connecticut State Library and a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities: Exploring the human endeavor.

Posted: May 11, 2017 NEH video features CSUSB’s ‘Dialogues on the Experience of War’ program
California State University San Bernardino News

A program at Cal State San Bernardino funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities is featured by the endowment in its “In the Field” video series.

In The Field: Dialogues on the Experience of War,” posted on the NEH’s YouTube channel, focuses on “From Ancient Greece to the Contemporary Middle East: Dialogues on the Experience of War,” a reading, viewing and discussion program on classical literature and the Greek-Trojan wars in dialogue with letters, articles, literature and documentaries about more recent conflicts. Events have been held at CSUSB, San Bernardino Valley College and the CSUSB Palm Desert Campus.

“We have tried to create a series of campfire-like conversations with veterans where we share compelling storytelling around the experience of war,” said Jennifer Andersen, CSUSB professor of English who designed the curriculum discussions with veterans, recruited, hired and trained the trainers and discussion facilitators, and coordinated events all year at CSUSB, PDC and San Bernardino Valley College.

“Homer’s Iliad and the civic tradition of free, public performances of Greek tragedy ensured an ongoing discussion about war in a culture where no citizen escaped the duty of military service. I think that the NEH Dialogues on the Experience of War program is an effort to stimulate this kind of civic discussion about war in our country where now only a tiny percentage of the population experience it firsthand,” she said.

The NEH interviewed faculty members and students who facilitated discussions with veterans from September 2016 to May 2017.

Posted: May 11, 2017 Historical Society hosts 'Working Warriors'
Herald Times Reporter, Manitowoc

"Working Warriors: Military Life Beyond Combat," a traveling exhibit from the Wisconsin Veterans Museum, will be on display at Manitowoc County Historical Society, 924 Pinecrest Road, Manitowoc, throughout June.

Working Warriors highlights the everyday life of service men and women. About 75 percent of military work is considered non-combat. These roles rarely make the headlines, but are vital to every military operation. Exploring the non-combat roles of military service personnel, including work as beauticians, military police, dentists, mechanics and photographers, this exhibit showcases an often overlooked, but highly relatable, side of military life.

This exhibit is provided courtesy of the Wisconsin Veterans Museum and is funded in part by the Wisconsin Humanities Council with funds from the National Endowment for the Humanities. The Wisconsin Humanities Council is honored to provide this exhibit as part of its Working Lives Project. Go to www.wisconsinhumanities.org for more details.

Posted: May 11, 2017 History Professor Receives NEH Fellowship to Study History of Wine in Russia
Sonoma State University News

Sonoma State University History Professor Stephen Bittner has received a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Humanities to study how wine has the power to bring people together to create a common culture -- in Russia.

"You might think Russia is typically associated with vodka," says Bittner. "But in 1985, the Soviet Union was the fourth-largest producer of wine in the world behind France, Italy and Spain." The cultural embrace of wine helped establish Russia's civilizational pedigree -- or their "Europeanness," as Bittner puts it.

"When Peter the Great came to power in 1696, he really wanted to establish Russia as a European Power," Bittner continued. "Embracing wine as a culture was how he attempted to associate Russia with European and Western Values."