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Grant number: PG-252853-17

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Chesapeake College (Wye Mills, MD 21679)
Kristy Floyd (Project Director: May 2016 to present)

Preserving the Thoreau of Maryland's Eastern Shore

A preservation assessment of 40 linear feet of published and unpublished works by author Gilbert Byron (1903-91), whose writings focused on the history and culture of the Chesapeake Bay region.  The project would also entail staff training on the care and handling of special collections.  The collection comprises first-edition monographs, manuscript drafts, unpublished writings, correspondence, photographs, and drawings produced and maintained by the author, historian, and poet referred to as the “Thoreau of the Chesapeake.”  Most of Byron’s works chronicle the importance of the Chesapeake Bay to the economy and life of the region and touch also upon issues such as race and intercultural relationships on Maryland’s Eastern Shore.  They have been actively consulted for research, classroom use, and public exhibitions.

Chesapeake College, a small community college serving five counties on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, proposes to hire a preservation consultant from LYRASIS to conduct a preservation needs assessment of the library’s recently acquired Gilbert Byron manuscript collection and conduct training on working with and handling the materials. The Gilbert Byron collection includes the full extent of this local author’s published and unpublished literary works, as well as his correspondence and personal artifacts. Gilbert Byron was considered a “Thoreau” of our region during the 1900s. His literary works, correspondence, and personal artifacts have local historical value for their focus on Chesapeake Bay life and culture. Our goals through this project are to assess the collection and create plans for its preservation, so we can assure the collection will be available for our students, humanities scholars, and the community for generations to come.

Project fields:
American Literature; Cultural Anthropology; Cultural History

Preservation Assistance Grants

Preservation and Access

Total amounts:
$5,065 (approved)
$5,065 (awarded)

Grant period:
1/1/2017 – 6/30/2018