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One of Largest Historical Collections in Maryland to Be Better Preserved Through Grant from National Endowment for the Humanities

Mount St. Mary's University

December 13, 2017


The Hugh J. Phillips Library at Mount St. Mary’s University, which houses collections with medieval and early modern manuscripts dating from 1320 to 1700 as well as records on early Maryland history and Catholicism in America, has been awarded a Preservation Assistance for Smaller Institutions grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) to support a comprehensive preservation assessment.

A consultant, Annie Peterson, preservation services librarian with LYRASIS, will provide an overview of the preservation concerns in the library’s significant historical and cultural collections, including the Rhoads Memorial Archives, as well as provide short- and long-term plans for addressing these issues. The $5,749 grant also allows Jessica J. Whitmore, C’16, interim library director and university archivist, to improve collection care immediately by purchasing environmental monitoring equipment for the two rooms where the materials are housed.

“Since reopening the archives in 2014, conducting a formal preservation assessment of the university archives has been one of my top priorities. I am grateful to the NEH for this funding opportunity,” Whitmore said. “In the past, only about 30 percent of applicants have received this NEH grant. The fact that the Mount was a successful applicant in this highly competitive grant speaks volumes about the quality of our archival collections.” The NEH awarded 76 Preservation Assistance Grants for Smaller Institutions, totaling $441,054.

“The humanities offer us a path toward understanding ourselves, our neighbors, our nation,” said NEH Acting Chairman Jon Parrish Peede. “These new NEH grants exemplify the agency’s commitment to serving American communities through investing in education initiatives, safeguarding cultural treasures, and illuminating the history and values that define our shared heritage.”