Library Archives Receives National Endowment

The Hugh J. Philips Library was recently the recipient of a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities to better preserve the precious and important artifacts held in our archives.

The Rhoads Memorial Archives holds more than 90,000 documents and artifacts preserving the history of the university, some dating back to the 14th century.  

Historian, librarian and Mount graduate Jessica Whitmore was in charge applying for the grant.  The whole process stretched from the fall of 2016 to the spring of 2017 before the grant was received in December.  The grant will provide a consultant to evaluate the archives, and environmental monitoring equipment, known as dataloggers, to monitor humidity, temperature and light exposure around the archives.  The archives, while already preserved, will be further monitored to be best kept for future generations.

The National Endowment for the Humanities only gives out limited grants each year due to funding.  As a result, only about 30 percent of institutions that apply get funding.

“It is kind of a tough process,” said Whitmore, “We are very fortunate.”

The Mount’s success in obtaining this grant is testimony to the quality and importance of the artifacts preserved in the archive.  

The archive contains documents, photos and objects relating to the history of Catholicism, the surrounding area of Emmitsburg as well as the university and its founding.  Documents contained in the archives relate to such figures as Fr. Stanley Rother, Bishop John Walsh and Bishop McCaffrey, writer of the Baltimore Catechism.

“Our history is so entwined with so many national narratives,” said Whitmore, “that its of national importance as well.”

To learn more about the Rhoads Memorial Archives or how to access it, go to libguides.msmary.edu/Archives.

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