Brown University News Bureau

The Brown University News Bureau

1997-1998 index

Distributed July 3, 1997
Contact: Tracie Sweeney

Support from National Endowment for the Humanities

Women Writers Project receives grant to prepare pre-Victorian works

The Women Writers Project has received a $190,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities to collect, encode and disseminate via the Internet printed books written in English by women before 1830. The authors of the 50 texts include working-class women, colonial women and women of color.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. -- The Brown University Women Writers Project (WWP) has received a $190,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) for a project, "A Textbase of Pre-Victorian Women's Writing in English." The award supports two years' worth of collecting, encoding and disseminating printed books in English written by women before 1830. An additional $50,000 is available to the project through a matching requirement, which already has been pledged by an anonymous donor to Brown.

"We are very pleased to have continued support from the NEH," said Carol DeBoer-Langworthy, director of the WWP and co-principal investigator on the project with Professor Susanne Woods of Franklin and Marshall College, Lancaster, Pa. "Especially as we learned that the WWP's proposal was one of 71 funded from a pool of 226 applications received by the NEH's Division of Preservation and Access in this round, we are grateful to be deemed worthy of continued support."

"We are particularly glad to have the support of a generous donor" for the NEH matching requirement, said Woods. "This support demonstrates the growing understanding of the public for the need to preserve and present women's writings in the curriculum."

Over the coming two years, the WWP will add 50 new texts to its textbase of early women's writing to bring the total of encoded texts to 300. The textbase at this stage will include a wide range of genres by English-speaking authors from a variety of backgrounds, including working-class women, colonial women and women of color. At the project's conclusion in June 1999, 300 texts will be licensed for sale over the Internet.

Created in 1986 as a project and funded by NEH as an electronic archive in 1988, the Women Writers Project pioneered the use of Standard Generalized Markup Language (SGML) to create a versatile and long-lived scholarly resource. The WWP textbase currently contains nearly 250 encoded texts of all genres, including poems, sermons, prayers, prose, drama and letters.