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University of Nebraska (Lincoln, NE 68503-2427)
Matt Cohen (Project Director: July 2018 to present)
Charles Chesnutt: A Digital Archive

A structural redesign of the Charles Chesnutt Digital Archive, with the addition of more works by Chesnutt.  The online reference resource would include all of Chesnutt’s published fiction and nonfiction, a manuscript section with hand-corrected galleys of four major works, including his first and second novels and his biography of Frederick Douglass, and a collection of 300 contemporary reviews of six book-length works Chesnutt published between 1899 and 1905.

Writing as Reconstruction failed, Charles Chesnutt (1858-1932) chronicled the relationships that zigzag across America’s color line. His fiction is widely taught and studied, but important works are hard to find and little attention has been given to his manuscripts. We seek an HCRR Implementation grant to transform and expand the HTML Charles Chesnutt Digital Archive into a standards-based, extensible digital archive with (1) all published works; (2) a manuscript wing with an initial collection of hand-corrected galleys held by the Cleveland Public Library, (3) contemporary reviews, and (4) the infrastructure for an archive that will grow to include three thousand manuscript pages, correspondence, and photographs. Chesnutt’s work cries out for collection: we do not have robust archives for pre-Harlem Renaissance African American writers other than Booker T. Washington and W. E. B. Du Bois, and students and scholars are eager to probe in new ways one of the nation’s finest writers.

Project fields:
African American Studies; American Literature

Humanities Collections and Reference Resources

Preservation and Access

$292,627 (approved)
$292,627 (awarded)

Grant period:
5/1/2019 – 6/30/2021