The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH)

Hartwick Completes Project Funded by National Endowment for the Humanities Grant

April 9, 2013

In 2010, Hartwick College received a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) in the amount of $6,000. The grant, implemented in the spring and summer of 2011, funded a visit by a professional conservator who surveyed the audio materials within the college archives and then wrote an extensive report on their condition, including recommendations for their preservation and care.

The Paul F. Cooper, Jr. Archives at Hartwick College house an extensive collection of audio materials, including recordings of talks by visiting lecturers of national prominence such as civil rights activists James Farmer and James Meredith, Native American rights activist Grace Thorpe, and speakers Granville Hicks, Alex Haley, and Benjamin Spock, among others.  There are also recordings of student performances, college events including Founder's Day and Commencement, and oral history interviews with former Hartwick presidents and administrators. Special collections also include the interviews award-winning journalist Dr. Roy Rowan H'95 conducted with prominent political figures in Asia in the '70s and '80s, and the Delaware County Folklore Project, which includes audio documentation of music and folklore in Delaware County, NY.

Based on the report and recommendations produced by the professional conservator, in December of 2012, Hartwick College Archivist Rebekah Ambrose-Dalton selected an assortment of items to send out to be professionally reformatted off-site (e.g. converted to digital files), by George Blood Audio in Philadelphia as a pilot project funded by the College. These items included talks and press conferences given by Farmer and Meredith, and a talk given by Thorpe. The audio materials were among the most vulnerable and inaccessible in the archives because of their fragile condition.

"Encouraging students to do research with primary sources is an important function of the archives and it is directly linked to Hartwick's mission to foster critical thinking and encourage experiential learning," said Ambrose-Dalton. "Many students are eager to learn about the college's history - as members of the community they are naturally curious about its past and quickly engage in raising questions about how and why the college has changed over time. It is exciting to play a part in preserving these materials and making them accessible to researchers inside and outside the college community - particularly recordings of individuals of national importance like Farmer, Meredith and Thorpe, which document national movements of great historical significance. Being able to reflect on these events gives us an opportunity to see how the Hartwick community was impacted by, and participated in, broader historical changes throughout the 20th century."

The NEH is an independent federal agency created in 1965. It is one of the largest funders of humanities programs in the United States. Because democracy demands wisdom, NEH serves and strengthens our republic by promoting excellence in the humanities and conveying the lessons of history to all Americans. The Endowment accomplishes this mission by awarding grants for top-rated proposals examined by panels of independent, external reviewers.

For additional information, contact Margaret Arthurs, director of corporate, foundation, and government relations at 607-431-4061 or at

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Hartwick College is a private liberal arts and sciences college of 1,500 students, located in Oneonta, NY, in the northern foothills of the Catskill Mountains. Hartwick's expansive curriculum emphasizes an experiential approach to the liberal arts. Through personalized teaching, collaborative research, a distinctive January Term, a wide range of internships, and vast study-abroad opportunities, Hartwick ensures that students are prepared for not just their first jobs, but for the world ahead. A Three-Year Bachelor's Degree Program and strong financial aid and scholarship offerings keep a Hartwick education affordable.

Contact: Valerie Capullo
Phone: 607-431-4031