A Library of America Project funded by a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities
Offering $1200 and $1800 grants to libraries, museums, and nonprofit cultural institutions to host public programs
Presented in partnership with the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, the National WWI Museum and Memorial, Wounded Warriors Project, and the United States World War One Centennial Commission
Application deadline: July 15, 2016
August 15, 2016
Application deadline: January 13, 2017
February 13, 2017
October 2016 - March 2018
Organized to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the nation’s entry into the war in 1917, World War I and America is a major NEH-supported initiative supporting public programs in libraries, museums, and nonprofit cultural institutions in all fifty states, a traveling exhibition, a multimedia website, and the publication of an unprecedented anthology of writings by Americans who experienced World War I. Its principal objective is to bring veterans and their families together with the general public to explore the American experience of war and its role in shaping the contemporary world by reading, discussing, and sharing insights into the writings of Americans who experienced it firsthand.
World War I and America will fund thematic programming in 120 institutions located in all fifty states beginning in January 2017 and extending throughout the centennial year to March 2018. Fifty of the participating sites will also host a companion traveling exhibition of documents, images, and interpretive texts prepared by the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History.
Each site selected by competitive application to participate in the initiative will be awarded a grant: eighty sites will receive stipends of $1,200 to mount a minimum of two free public programs and forty sites will receive stipends of $1,800 to support a minimum of three free public programs. Applications are open to public, academic, and community college libraries; museums and historical societies; and nonprofit community organizations. There will be two application cycles, and institutions not selected in the first round are encouraged to reapply.
Many today do not appreciate the deep impact World War I had on the Americans who lived through it, or the profound ways in which it continues to resonate. The war ushered in a sea change in American culture, challenging traditional ideals and notions of social deference, introducing new and distinctly modern ways of understanding and talking about war, heroism, and sacrifice, exposing and stressing social fault lines relating to race, ethnicity, and gender, and redefining the nation’s role on the world stage.
World War I and America creates a structured environment to explore these and other issues by focusing on the words of the men and women who experienced World War I firsthand. It offers readings from the rich and diverse variety of World War I writing by Americans—soldiers, airmen, nurses, journalists, diplomats, statesmen, political activists, relief workers, poets, songwriters—to reveal what they believed they were fighting for, how they understood America’s changing position in the world, why they supported or opposed intervention, how they experienced military service and battle, how the war affected their ideas of patriotism and heroism and their views on race, ethnicity, and gender roles, how men and women transformed by war in both body and mind managed the return home, literally, emotionally, and psychologically. Restoring a human, personal dimension to increasingly distant historical events, these texts allow readers—with and without their own direct experience of later conflicts—to explore differences and similarities between the past and the present and come to a deeper understanding of historical events and their lasting impact.
The project’s Guiding Questions highlight the relevance of the issues involved:
The involvement of veterans and their families is central to World War I and America. Applicants are strongly encouraged to identify a Veteran Liaison who can assist with the planning and production of programs. For information on how to find a Veteran Liaison, see Tips for Engaging the Veteran Community in Your Area.
All participating institutions must present a minimum of two programs under the grant, at least one of which must be a discussion/reading group moderated by a scholar, veteran, and/or veteran-writer designed to draw out and explore the project’s Humanities Themes (above). The program will focus on short readings drawn from the World War I and America Reader, which will be made available at this website as a free downloadable PDF. Because audience members cannot be expected to have read the texts in advance, provision should be made for presentation of the texts as part of the program, either as live readings or by viewing of video-recordings of readings available at the project website. For information on how to find a Scholar Moderator, see Tips for Finding a Scholar Moderator.
Other programs under the grant might include:
Institutions selected to participate in World War I and America will receive:
In addition, fifty of the participating sites will be selected to receive:
Institutions selected to participate in World War I and America are expected to:
Library of America and the Gilder Lehrman Institute will select institutions to participate in World War I and America based on the following criteria:
Please respond to the following questions in no more than two pages total, making sure to number your responses to each question.
Thank you for your application.