Fact Sheet: The National Historical Publications and Records Commission
The National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC) promotes the preservation and use of America's documentary heritage, which is essential to understanding our democracy, history, and culture. Since 1964, NHPRC has awarded $163 million to 4,100 projects in all 50 states and special jurisdictions.
NHPRC’s Publishing Program supports documentary editing, training of editors, and publishing. The program has funded or endorsed 296 projects that have produced:
These projects have helped facilitate use of original documents of the Founding Era of the Republic, including the papers of George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, Alexander Hamilton, Benjamin Franklin, the first Federal Congress, the early Supreme Court, and the Ratification of the U.S. Constitution.
NHPRC has funded publication of some or all of the works of 16 U.S. Presidents, the records of U.S. territories before statehood, the history of Emancipation, Women’s Suffrage, and the works of our greatest scientists, inventors, and explorers. These original documents are the basis for telling America’s story. Pulitzer Prizes for History have been awarded to documentary editors C. Vann Woodward (for Mary Chestnut’s Civil War) and Steven Hahn of the Freedom History Project (for A Nation Under Our Feet) and documentary editions have been the foundation for such award-winning biographies as David McCullough’s John Adams and Ron Chernow’s Alexander Hamilton.
Just one project—The Freedom History Project—an edition of documents pertaining to Black American life in the years between the beginning of the Civil War and the advent of Reconstruction, has resulted in citations in 23 reference works, 15 documentary editions, 130 monographs, 212 scholarly essays, and 68 college-level textbooks and anthologies. At least 152 college courses and eight publications for elementary and middle school teachers have made use of the work. The documentary materials have been included in three CDs, nine books for young readers, two dozen books for popular audiences, nine exhibits, six films, 11 television programs—including Ken Burns’s “Civil War” series—16 radio programs, 80 stage productions, and 176 Web sites.
The NHPRC Records Program supports archival projects at state and local government archives, colleges and universities, and other nonprofit institutions. All of these projects facilitate use of public records and other collections by scholars, family and local historians, journalists, documentary film makers, and many others. The records in state and local historical records repositories convey knowledge of a shared national experience from generation to generation, assure continuity of operations, document personal rights and entitlements, provide evidence needed to hold governments and other institutions accountable for their actions, and document the effectiveness of government programs. For example, grants have helped to:
The NHPRC Electronic Records Program has supported research and development into methods for preserving and making accessible those records created or stored in digital formats. Since 1979, NHPRC has awarded 60 grants totaling more than $6 million for basic research and implementation grants in 17 states.
For a list of NHPRC Grants by State and Territory, 1976-2005, see the NHPRC Web site at: