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Grant number like: CZ-50114-06

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University of Nebraska, Lincoln (Lincoln, NE 68503-2427)
Kenneth Price (Project Director: February 2005 to June 2009)

Special Initiatives
Challenge Programs

Totals (matching):
$500,000 (approved)
$500,000 (offered)
$500,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
9/1/2004 – 3/31/2009

The Walt Whitman Archive

Endowment for staff and other costs of managing the digital Walt Whitman Archive.

The year 2005 marks the 150th anniversary of the first publication of Walt Whitman's Leaves of Grass (1855), a declaration of American literary independence and the founding book of American literary democracy. Whitman gave epic voice to our country, memorable articulation to American ideals, and expressed through his art the crisis of Civil War and the cultural possibilities of democracy. Founding principles of our country--freedom and equality--shaped his free verse style, his vernacular usage, and his subject matter. The 150th anniversary of Leaves of Grass is also the 10th anniversary of the Walt Whitman Archive < > (1995-present). The Archive is providing a complete record of the "American bard," thus giving the general public and scholars at all levels the opportunity to read and study the work of this central spokesman for America. The Archive has begun the unprecedented process of providing free access, via the world-wide web, to the entire corpus of a writer who deepens and enriches our sense of who we are and of what we can become as Americans. We have accomplished a great deal in our initial ten years of long-term undertaking (a projected thirty years of major editorial work along with concurrent and indefinitely ongoing work to foster the scholarship, teaching, and learning the Whitman Archive makes possible). We have produced a large amount of high quality content, garnered grant support from three different federal agencies and a private foundation; established the infrastructure for our work; and built a talented and cohesive team of scholars, technical experts, and library staff. We need, however, to establish secure financial footing. With the support provided by an NEH Challenge Grant, we will create the first fully realized "born digital" edition of a major American writer.