Cumberland University Part of New Digital Publishing Effort Funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation | Cumberland University

Cumberland University Part of New Digital Publishing Effort Funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation

The Papers of Martin Van Buren project at Cumberland University is part of a groundbreaking digital publishing enterprise at the University of Virginia, which The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation has awarded $1 million in funding.

The funding will support the Virginia Digital Publishing Cooperative, a partnership between the Center for Digital Editing and University of Virginia Press that developed out of an NHPRC-Mellon planning grant awarded in 2017. The new award, issued in December 2019, will promote the creation of an accessible, robust, and sustainable system for publishing the work of scholars who transcribe and annotate records of historical importance.

The grant was made possible through a partnership between The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC). In 2017, the NHPRC-Mellon Digital Edition Publishing Cooperatives initiative was developed in response to “the urgent need of scholars and documentary editors for reliable, sustainable, authoritative, and field-driven outlets for publication and discovery of digital editions.”

For the next three years, individuals and organizations from around the globe will collaborate on building the technical and human infrastructures necessary to make such a digital publishing pipeline possible. More than 30 leaders from the fields of textual editing, history, and digital humanities are participating, including Dr. Mark Cheathem, project director for the Papers of Martin Van Buren. Other participating organizations are:

American University
Boston University
Bucknell University
Brumfield Labs, LLC
Center for Digital Editing (CDE) at the University of Virginia
Centre for Information Modelling in the Austrian Centre for Digital Humanities at the University of Graz
Constitutional Sources Project
Dolley Madison Digital Edition/Founding Women at the University of Virginia
Hampshire College
Harvard University
Filson Historical Society
Johns Hopkins University
Ramapo College of New Jersey
SUNY Old Westbury
University of Kentucky
University of Mary Washington
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
University of South Carolina
University of Virginia Libraries
University of Virginia Press/Rotunda
Wheaton College

“The initial Mellon/NHPRC planning grant led us to refine the digital edition of the Van Buren Papers available on our website,” Cheathem said. “I expect that this new grant will further help projects like ours as digital publication becomes the new standard for making historical records available to the public.”

The Papers of Martin Van Buren is a joint digital/print project hosted by Cumberland University that will make accessible approximately 13,000 documents belonging to the eighth president. It will provide fresh insight into the founding of the Democratic party, the evolution of formal politics between the War of 1812 and the Civil War, and the changes in political culture that occurred during Van Buren’s lifetime. Additionally, it will help scholars, students, and the public understand the maturation of United States politics during the nation’s early development.

The Papers of Martin Van Buren is sponsored by Cumberland University, the National Historical Publications and Records Commission, and the Tennessee General Assembly in partnership with the Center for Digital Editing at the University of Virginia.

More information about the project can be found at vanburenpapers.org.