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Grant number like: FB-53554-08

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Nicholas Andrew Basbanes
Unaffiliated independent scholar

Fellowships for College Teachers and Independent Scholars
Research Programs

[Grant products]

$50,400 (approved)
$50,400 (awarded)

Grant period:
1/1/2008 – 12/31/2008

The History of Paper, Timeless Marvel of Human Ingenuity

A comprehensive overview of the conception, creation, migration, and influence of paper, a miracle of invention that has had a profound impact on the growth of world culture and the spread of civilization over the past two thousand years. The project will involve extensive primary research in the field and in various archival collections, and rely heavily on personal interviews to be conducted with a wide variety of pertinent people, including hand papermakers, manufacturers, artists, archivists, chemists, conservators, recyclers, paper historians, and collectors. Among sites to be profiled are papermaking villages in China and Japan where ancient skills are still practiced, along with many key sites throughout the United States. A major consideration is how paper has flourished as an idea, an approach that represents a significant departure from previous efforts. This will be driven largely by narrative, and intended for a wide readership of general readers, scholars and students.