Carl Sandburg Preservation Project

“Save America’s Treasures” Grant to Preserve Sandburg Collection

The Library has been awarded $239,000 in federal partnership funds that will benefit its Carl Sandburg Collection. The funds are part of the 2004 “Save America’s Treasures” federal grant program, which helps preserve nationally significant cultural artifacts and historic sites . The Library is one of 60 organizations and agencies throughout the country that received funding.

“This grant will ensure long-term access to the Sandburg collection, which faces significant threat of deterioration. It would be impossible for us to complete this much work at this time without this generous federal assistance,” said Tom Teper, head of the University Library’s preservation program. Teper is co-directing the project with Gene Rinkel, special collections librarian and curator of the Sandburg Collection. According to Rinkel, the grant will preserve “the collection of a great author, biographer, and poet who achieved national recognition as a symbol of American culture.”

Housed in the Rare Book and Special Collections Library, the Carl Sandburg Collection is the most comprehensive collection of Sandburg materials in the country. Its massive contents include Sandburg’s personal library of more than 2,800 volumes, roughly 300,000 pages of literary manuscripts, over 3,000 photographs, and more than 25,000 letters of correspondence with notable contemporaries such as Ernest Hemingway, Ezra Pound, and Franklin D. Roosevelt. Also included are more than 45,000 newspaper clippings and over 600 audiovisual materials. The collection provides a rich insight into Sandburg’s life and work as well as into the history, literature, and culture of twentieth-century America.

The grant will fund a combination of treatments to preserve the collection. Paper-based books and manuscripts will be treated to neutralize their acid content and protect them from becoming brittle. Extremely fragile materials will be photocopied to spare the originals from wear and tear, and some will be encapsulated in protective enclosures. Other activities will include reproducing photographic materials to protect the originals and reformatting audiovisual materials that have become obsolete.

The Save America’s Treasures grant program is administered jointly by the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities (PCAH), National Park Service (NPS), National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), and Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS). To be successful, each project must demonstrate its national significance, an urgent preservation need, an educational or other public benefit, and the capability to provide nonfederal matching funds. The Library will fulfill the 1:1 matching requirement through in-kind contributions of faculty and staff time. It also will contribute the necessary preservation supplies for materials that are treated in house.

For more information about the Save America’s Treasures grant program, visit http://www.nps.gov/history/hps/treasures/ .