Chicago Library Receives $2 Million to Digitize Collection of African American History and Literature

The Mellon Foundation has awarded a $2 million grant to the Chicago Public Library to digitize the Vivian G. Harsh Research Collection, the largest cache of African American history and literature in the midwestern United States.

Vivian Harsh was the first Black director of a branch library in Chicago, who is responsible for acquiring many of the materials currently part of the collection today. The Harsh Collection has historically only been available for viewing in person at the Chicago Public Library. The new grant from the Mellon Foundation will allow the library to digitize 300,000 pieces from the collection and other sources so that they can be accessible to the global public.

The library expects to fully digitize the collection within the next three years.

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