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Keywords: 'Teenie Harris' (this phrase)
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Carnegie Mellon University (Pittsburgh, PA 15213-3890)
Golan Levin (Project Director: January 2017 to present)
David Newbury (Co Project Director: July 2017 to present)
Supporting Cultural Heritage Research in Historic Photography Archives with Machine Learning and Computer Vision

The development of a set of prototype image identification tools and techniques to allow enhanced access to large photography archives. The Carnegie Museum of Art’s Charles “Teenie” Harris Archive of African American life in Pittsburgh would serve as the test collection.

We address the challenges faced in the research and annotation of large digital image archives by creating prototype software tools that use machine learning and computer vision. Specifically, we are developing software tools to aid research into the Carnegie Museum of Art’s publicly available Teenie Harris Archive, a major photography collection documenting 20th century African American life in Pittsburgh. Our goal is to create open-source software that uses state-of-the-art techniques to help identify and annotate visually distinctive features across this large (80,000 item) set of digitized photographs, to improve and expedite the Museum's archiving and cataloging process. Through compatibility with International Image Interoperability Framework (IIIF) standards, our project will furthermore provide free tools and reproducible, computer-vision based workflows that other museums, libraries and archives can use to help organize their own digital collections.

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Project fields:
African American History; Interdisciplinary Studies, General

Digital Humanities Advancement Grants

Digital Humanities

$72,458 (approved)
$72,458 (awarded)

Grant period:
9/1/2017 – 2/29/2020


Louise W. Lippincott (Project Director: May 2012 to October 2017)
The Charles Harris Archivist Endowment

Endowment for a key humanities position to oversee the archive of African American photographer Charles "Teenie" Harris (1908-1998).

Carnegie Museum of Art (CMA) is seeking a $300,000 challenge grant from The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) to help permanently endow the Teenie Harris Archivist position. This $1.2 million endowment campaign marks a critical moment in the evolution of the archive from a grant-funded special project to an integral component of the museum’s permanent collection. Since 2003, and with continuous support from NEH, CMA has worked to preserve and make accessible the life’s work of Pittsburgh African American photographer Charles “Teenie” Harris (1908–1998). Today, Harris’s archive of 80,000 images is considered one of the most complete portraits of 20th-century, urban African American experience ever created. Its distinction arises not only from the extent, quality, and historical importance of its many images, but also because its records and interpretation are based on first-person accounts and accounts from African American scholars and publications.

Project fields:
U.S. History

Challenge Grants

Challenge Programs

Totals (matching):
$300,000 (approved)
$300,000 (offered)
$300,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
12/1/2011 – 7/31/2017


Louise W. Lippincott (Project Director: August 2010 to March 2014)
Teenie Harris, Photographer: An American Story

Implementation of a multimedia traveling exhibition examining the work of African American photographer Teenie Harris of Pittsburgh.

"Teenie Harris, Photographer: An American Story" is the first major retrospective exhibition and Web site celebrating the work and legacy of African American artist Charles "Teenie" Harris (1908-1998). From 1936 to 1975, Harris was staff photographer for the Pittsburgh Courier, the preeminent Black news weekly. This was a period of momentous change for Black Americans, and Harris's pictures offer a richly, detailed history of the time. Carnegie Museum of Art opens An American Story in Pittsburgh, October 29, 2011-April 15, 2012. The national tour of the exhibition begins May 1, 2012: confirmed traveling venues to date are Birmingham Civil Rights Institute (August-October 2012) and the Robert W. Woodruff Library at Atlanta University Center (January-March/April 2013).

[Grant products]

Project fields:
Art History and Criticism

America's Historical and Cultural Organizations: Implementation Grants

Public Programs

Totals (outright + matching):
$250,000 (approved)
$250,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
4/1/2011 – 5/31/2013


Louise W. Lippincott (Project Director: July 2006 to March 2010)
Preserving the Charles "Teenie" Harris African American Image Collection, Phase II

The cataloging, conservation, creation of finding aids, and mounting on the Internet of 26,963 images that document African American history and culture in Pittsburgh from 1935 to 1975.

In 2001, Carnegie Museum of Art (CMA) purchased the collection of negatives of African American photojournalist Charles "Teenie" Harris. In a 40-year career, Harris produced over 80,000 images that documented daily life in the Black communities of Pittsburgh from 1935 to 1975. Recognizing the potential of the Harris archive to significantly expand understanding about the urban African American experience, CMA made a commitment to preserve, research, and make accessible the images and the stories they tell. In 2005, the museum received an NEH grant of $340,000 for Phase I of the Teenie Harris Archive Project. With Phase I set to achieve its objectives by April 2007-and with mounting interest in and use of the Harris images-CMA is requesting a new grant to support Phase II of the Teenie Harris Archive Project to conserve, catalog, scan, and archivally store additional negatives and to scan these negatives for distribution on CMA's web site.

Project fields:
U.S. History

Grants to Preserve and Create Access to Humanities Collections

Preservation and Access

$348,885 (approved)
$348,885 (awarded)

Grant period:
5/1/2007 – 10/31/2009