Rambsy and Hansen receive grant to preserve EBR Collection

In institutions of higher education across the country, obtaining grants to fund efforts to investigate social phenomena, preserve important artifacts and explain social behavior is often high on the list of priorities. As Howard Rambsy, chair of black studies and associate professor of English language and literature, and Julia Hansen, associate professor and humanities librarian, can attest, applying for such grants may be a difficult process but the benefits of having such an application approved is worth it.

In December, Rambsy and Hansen – who co-wrote the grant as a team – received a letter informing them that they were being awarded a National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) grant of $6,000 to support their efforts to preserve and care for SIUE’s Eugene B. Redmond (EBR) Collection. The collection is housed in the Lovejoy Library on SIUE’s campus.

“Funding from the NEH will support the purchase of preservation and storage supplies, including acid-free archival boxes, oversize flat archival containers, negative sleeves, archival sheets, interleaving paper, and archival file folders for the EBR Collection,” reads the proposal drafted by Rambsy and Hansen.

NEH also designated Rambsy and Hansen’s project a “We the People” project. According to the letter received by Rambsy and Hansen, the goal of the “We the People” initiative is “… to encourage and strengthen the teaching, study and understanding of American history and culture through the support of projects that explore significant events and themes in our nation’s history and culture and that advance knowledge of the principles that define America.”

The EBR Collection contains several significant and rare cultural artifacts including almost 100,000 photographs of African American writers, musicians, filmmakers, visual artists, scholars, and activists.

Howard Rambsy, chair of black studies and associate professor of English language and literature.

“ [the collection] comprises an extensive record of visual images, flyers, programs, and artifacts documenting the literary activity of hundreds of major and lesser known African American literary and cultural figures from the mid-1960s to the present,” reads a description of the collection provided by Rambsy and Hansen.

According to Rambsy, the award stimulates even more enthusiasm and excitement for preserving the collection. Adding to the mounting excitement is the fact that NEH grants are especially prestigious.

“The National Endowment for the Humanities is one of the largest and most respected agencies for humanities projects in the country, so it’s a tremendous accomplishment to earn an award from this organization,” explained Rambsy. “Receiving the support for our work on the Redmond Collection gives us a professional and personal boost for extending our efforts to preserve the collection and make it more widely available to SIUE students, citizens in the area, and scholars across the country.”

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