AIP History Center Newsletter
Volume XL , No. 1, Spring 2008
 

AIP Marks 10th Anniversary of Grants to Archives

The Center’s Grants to Archives program grew out of a challenge that’s hard to imagine these days. In mid-1997 the History Center’s endowment was producing nearly $30,000 more in revenue than budgeted, thanks to the dotcom boom. We considered a variety of needs that we could fill with this windfall, and after assessing the archival community’s needs as well as our own, we decided to try an experiment—creating a program that would offer individual grants of up to each $10,000 to process physics and allied science collections. The amount was designed as an incentive and a means for the recipients to raise the additional money needed to process and catalog significant collections—either from their own institution or from outside organizations.

After ten years and 42 grants, we can report that the experiment is a success. The grants meet our need to help preserve and make known the history of modern physics and allied sciences. And it helps other archives process, describe and catalog their important collections in the field so that researchers can use them. The grants, which require significant matching funds, also encourage recipients to collect more actively in the history of physics by reducing their backlogs of unprocessed collections.

The 42 grants that we’ve funded to date have helped make a wide range of papers and records accessible to the research community, ranging from a large group of important Russian collections (thanks to the strength of the dollar at the time), to a number of significant resources at smaller archives, along with the papers of major figures like Victor Weisskopf and Murray Gell-Mann at leading science archives. We’ve also used grants to try to jump-start science collecting at some repositories that don’t have a strong track record in the area.

The deadline for Grants to Archives applications is August 1st. For information on the 2008 program, along with links to the grant guidelines and a list of previous recipients, go to http://www.aip.org/history/grants_archives.html.

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