Home / Arts & Life / N.E.H., Once Targeted by Trump, Announces $39.3 Million in New Grants

N.E.H., Once Targeted by Trump, Announces $39.3 Million in New Grants


A typewriter Ernest Hemingway used, displayed in his former home in Ketchum, Idaho. A National Endowment for the Humanities grant will help to preserve the house.

Matt Cilley/Associated Press

A literacy program on American military bases, an effort to revitalize Native American languages, a four-part TV documentary about the Atlantic slave trade and several large-scale projects relating to America’s founding period are among the 245 recipients of new grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities across the country.

The grants, which total $39.3 million, come amid a turbulent year for the N.E.H., which the Trump administration had targeted for elimination along with the National Endowment for the Arts.

That effort, announced in March as part of the administration’s proposed budget, generated a widespread outcry, and last month the House Appropriations Committee approved a bill that would provide $145 million for each agency in the fiscal year 2018. (The measure has not received a vote from the full House.)

Some of the awards, the agency’s last round of grants for the fiscal year 2017, support public exhibitions, like one featuring Georgia O’Keeffe’s little-known commercial art for the Hawaiian Pineapple Company, which will originate at the New York Botanical Garden.

Others projects receiving grants include a new biography of Sylvia Plath, a history of American comedy between the two world wars, a summer teacher institute on the history of Cold War technology focused on the former aircraft carrier Intrepid and an effort to preserve Ernest Hemingway’s Idaho home.

The grants also include awards for several large-scale scholarly efforts the endowment has supported for decades, including the George Washington Papers Project, which has so far made 135,000 documents relating to Washington freely available online, and the Documentary History of the Ratification of the Constitution, a multivolume series presenting the content and context of state-by-state debates over ratification.

The N.E.H. may have received less attention than the arts endowment during the furor over the proposed closures. But its acting chairman, Jon Parrish Peede, emphasized the agency’s role in supporting both specialized scholarship and broad public understanding.

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