Library of Congress Bicentennial: 1800-2000
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April 20, 1999
Contact: Guy Lamolinara, Library of Congress (202) 707-9217
Karen Sanborn, Ameritech (313) 223-7194; e-mail:

12 Winners Announced in Final Round of Library of Congress/Ameritech National Digital Library Competition

$2 Million Program to Help Other Institutions Digitize Their Important Collections Concludes

Twelve winners in the third and final round of the Library of Congress/Ameritech National Digital Library Competition have been announced. The program, in which Ameritech donated $2 million to the Library's National Digital Library (NDL) Program, has made awards to 33 institutions, including the 12 that will receive awards either alone or as part of a consortium this year.

The competition has enabled U.S. libraries, archives, museums and historical societies to digitize their collections of American historical materials for inclusion in the American Memory electronic collections of the Library of Congress ( The competition also helps fulfill the Library's goal of placing, in cooperation with other institutions, 5 million items on-line by 2000, the Bicentennial of the Library of Congress. The NDL Program is one of the Library's birthday "Gifts to the Nation."

"Congratulations to the award winners and to Ameritech for its role in launching this pioneering project," said Librarian of Congress James H. Billington. "Today's winners will join the others from the previous two years in helping make the National Digital Library Program truly national in scope."

"Ameritech was once again wowed by yet another group of very deserving winners," said Lana Porter, President of Ameritech Library Services. "We are extremely proud to have helped make it possible for so many valuable collections, from so many prestigious libraries, to be digitized for easy access to everyone via the Internet."

The 1998-99 Library of Congress/Ameritech National Digital Library Competition award winners are:

Lee Library at Brigham Young University (lead institution), University of Utah, Utah State University, and the Utah State Historical Society, for "Pioneer Trails: Overland to Utah and the Pacific." Amount of Award: $64,875.

The Utah academic libraries consortium's digital collection consists of 155 items from 59 diaries of pioneers trekking westward on the Overland Trail, across America to Utah and the Pacific between 1847 and 1869. In addition to the diaries, the collection includes 16 maps, 75 photographs and illustrations, and selections from five immigrant guides.

Michigan State University (lead institution) and Central Michigan University, for "Shaping the Values of Youth: A Nineteenth Century American Sunday School Book Collection." Amount of Award: $123,763.

This collection is a representative selection of 121 American Sunday school books from the Russel B. Nye Popular Culture Collection and the Clarke Historical Library. Published primarily between 1815 and 1865 by the American Tract Society, the American Sunday School Union and other religious publishers, these books for juvenile readers taught moral conduct and good citizenship. The books cover a wide range of subjects deemed particularly useful and important for socializing early 19th century youth, including history, holidays, slavery, African Americans, Native Americans, travel and missionary accounts, death and dying, poverty, temperance, immigrants and advice.

Mystic Seaport Museum for "Maritime Westward Expansion." Amount of Award: $57,218.

Mystic Seaport Museum's digital project is a selection of 7,500 items from its archival collections. These items include materials dating from the mid- to late 19th century, including logbooks, diaries, letters, business papers and other manuscript items, images, imprints and ephemera, and maps and charts. The unique maritime perspective of these materials offers a rich look at the events, culture, beliefs and personal experiences associated with the settlement of California, Alaska, Hawaii, Texas and the Pacific Northwest. The materials chosen to be digitized relate to major themes in the history of westward expansion, including the California Gold Rush, the decline of native American cultures and populations,the politics and economics of "manifest destiny," the roles of women and the immigrant experience.

The Bancroft Library at the University of California, Berkeley (lead institution) and the California Historical Society, for "Chinese in California, 1850-1920." Amount of Award: $150,000.

This collection of 12,500 items documents the 19th and early 20th century Chinese immigration to California and the West and reflects the social life, culture and commerce of these immigrants. The materials include photographs, original art, cartoons and other illustrations; letters, diaries, business records and legal documents; pamphlets, broadsides, speeches, sheet music and other printed matter.

University of Chicago Library (lead institution) and the Filson Club Historical Society of Louisville, Ky., for "The First American West: The Ohio River Valley, 1750-1820." Amount of Award: $145,596.

This collection assembles 745 items from the rare books, pamphlets, newspapers, maps, prints and manuscripts collected by Reuben T. Durrett and the Filson Club Historical Society of Louisville, which he founded in 1884 and named after John Filson, author of The Discovery, Settlement and Present State of Kentucke (1784), a promotional tract recognized as the first history of the state. These materials present a rich picture of the Ohio River Valley from the dawn of its Euro-American settlement to the passing of the frontier beyond the Mississippi River.

University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, for "The Church in the Southern Black Community: Beginnings to 1920. Amount of Award: $74,513.

This collection of 19,000 pages from approximately 100 works (including slave narratives, black autobiographies, spirituals, sermons, church reports, religious periodicals and denominational histories) traces how Southern African Americans experienced and transformed Protestant Christianity into the central institution of community life. The materials are taken primarily from published works and observations by African American authors on ways the black community of the South adapted evangelical Christianity and made it a metaphor for freedom, community and personal survival. Later works written by African American church and lay men and women tell the post-emancipation story of the growth of churches and their role in the face of disenfranchisement, segregation and bigotry.

Forty-eight applicants representing 70 institutions submitted proposals to compete for the awards (some applications were submitted by institutional consortiums). In formulating the competition guidelines and administering the evaluation process, the Library turned to the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Council on Library and Information Resources for expert guidance. Led by George Farr, Director of the Division of Preservation and Access of the National Endowment for the Humanities, and Deanna Marcum, President of the Council on Library and Information Resources, three successive panels evaluated applications for historical significance, technical viability and the relevance of collections to current and planned American Memory collections.

The primary criterion for evaluation of an application was the significance of the collection for historical understanding and its utility to students and the general public. Once evaluators had assessed the significance and utility of the proposal, they assessed the technical and administrative viability of the project. For the 1998-99 competition cycle, applications were accepted for collections of textual and graphic materials that illuminate American history and culture beginning with the contact period in 1492 and continuing through the Colonial and nation-building eras to 1920. The competition was especially interested in proposals that illuminate the exploration and settlement of the American West. The competition was also interested in science and technology, and church and society.

Additional information on the Library of Congress/Ameritech National Digital Library Competition, including summaries of the projects of the first- and second-year award recipients, is available at:

Several previous award winners have already completed their digitization projects and made the results available on the Library's American Memory Web site. These collections are: "American Landscape and Architectural Design, 1850-1920," from Harvard University's Frances Loeb Library, Graduate School of Design; "The Northern Great Plains, 1880-1920," from North Dakota State University's Institute for Regional Studies; "The South Texas Border, 1900-1920," from the University of Texas at Austin's Center for American History.

The goal of the National Digital Library Program is to make freely available over the Internet 5 million items by the year 2000, in collaboration with other institutions. Ameritech's contribution helps the Library meet that goal by providing funds to libraries and other institutions to aid them in the critical, yet expensive, task of digitizing their unique American collections for access on the World Wide Web.

The Library of Congress is the world's largest library, with more than 115 million items, including the papers of 23 U.S. presidents. Its collections are in nearly every language and format -- from Chinese woodblock prints to compact disks. Founded in 1800 to serve the reference needs of Congress, the Library has grown into an unparalleled treasure house of knowledge and creativity. It will celebrate its Bicentennial in 2000 (

Ameritech (NYSE:AIT) has a strong tradition of giving back to the communities it serves. Last year, the company contributed nearly $27.2 million to more than 3,800 nonprofit organizations, and Ameritech Pioneers -- some 42,700 employees and retirees throughout the Midwest -- volunteered 482,000 hours of community service by supporting health and human services, civic and community projects, and educational and arts programs. Ameritech provides a full range of communications services, serving millions of customers in 50 states and 40 countries.

NOTE: The following are media contacts for the institutions that have won awards:

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PR 99-046
ISSN 0731-3527