In view of current concerns about the future of the National Endowment for the Humanities, we at Library of America wish to express what the Endowment’s support has meant to us as a publisher and cultural institution.
Library of America is currently celebrating its thirty–fifth year as a nonprofit organization dedicated to championing our nation’s cultural heritage by publishing and keeping in print America’s greatest writings, and by providing resources for readers to explore this rich, living legacy.
The very existence of Library of America was made possible in part by seed funding from the Endowment in 1979.
• Since then, the Endowment has helped us undertake a series of major projects including definitive editions of the complete plays of Eugene O’Neill and the collected criticism of Henry James, and an authoritative five-volume anthology of American poetry from the colonial period to the twentieth century.
• We received NEH support for our edition of the collected stories of Isaac Bashevis Singer, in three volumes with an accompanying critical guide, as well as a series of public events exploring the work of this great modern writer.
• Our three-volume boxed set of writings by and about Abraham Lincoln issued in honor of his bicentennial was accompanied by NEH-supported discussions of Lincoln’s life and legacy in public libraries across the nation.
• The publication of our acclaimed four-volume set The Civil War: Told by Those Who Lived It and the extensive program of public events and educational outreach associated with it were generously by supported by the Endowment.
• Our recently published World War I and America likewise received essential assistance from the Endowment, with a grant that is making possible a two-year initiative designed to bring veterans and their families together with the general public to explore the continuing relevance of the war by reading, discussing, and sharing insights into the Americans who experienced it.
Because of their scale, these projects would not have been undertaken by commercial publishers and were made possible only through the support provided by the NEH. We are grateful to the Endowment for all it has done to help keep American history and great American writing alive in the culture.