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Grant number: PG-233621-16

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Davis and Elkins College (Elkins, WV 26241-3971)
Mary Jo DeJoice (Project Director: May 2015 to present)

Preservation Assessment for the Special Collections at Davis & Elkins College

A preservation assessment of special collections related to the cultural and natural history of Appalachia including the Augusta Collection of Folk Culture, containing sound recordings, film, video, photographs, and cultural artifacts documenting folk life and folk artists; the 300,000-item Comstock Collection of materials from the career of newspaperman James Franklin Comstock; the Darby Collection of 10,000 items documenting West Virginia history; and the College Archives.  Highlights include an unparalleled set of recordings of previously undocumented traditional fiddlers, correspondence with Nobel Prize-winning author Pearl S. Buck, hours of videotaped interviews documenting the Swiss “Helvetia” community in central West Virginia, and 89 historic firearms.  The library supports workshops, publications, presentations, and research based on the collections.  This would be the institution’s first preservation assessment.

Booth Library and The Stirrup Gallery will contract with a preservation specialist to secure a general assessment for the special collections at Davis & Elkins College. Significant to Appalachian history and culture, they include: The Augusta Collection, an assemblage of primarily audiovisual material documenting over 40 years of traditional Appalachian music and dance; the Comstock Collection, including original manuscripts and correspondence from Nobel Prize-winning author Pearl S. Buck; and the College Archives which house records for the Davis & Elkins National Historic Landmark District, as well as from the prolific Senators Henry Gassaway Davis and Stephen Benton Elkins. The consultant will conduct an on-site assessment of the policies, practices, and conditions affecting the care and preservation of the collections and prepare a report that contains prioritized recommendations for future preservation action.

Project fields:
Arts, General; History, Other; U.S. Regional Studies

Preservation Assistance Grants

Preservation and Access

Total amounts:
$5,994 (approved)
$5,660 (awarded)

Grant period:
1/1/2016 – 6/30/2017