Brigham Young University is among 13 organizations sharing in a $724,814 National Endowment for the Humanities grant to protect brittle or badly deteriorated archival collections through microfilming.
The Research Libraries Group, manager of the grant, has organized the Archive Preservation Microfilming Project to turn the aging materials into an estimated 2 million frames of microfilm during the next three years."Preservation problems facing archival and manuscript material are enormous and all the more compelling because of the uniqueness of these collections," said Research Libraries Group chairwoman Katherine Morton, head of manuscripts and archives at Yale University Library.
Documents scheduled for filming at BYU include the Cecil B. DeMille Collection, the Walter Mason Camp Papers, the Sen. Reed Smoot Collection and the Newel K. Whitney Papers.
The DeMille Collection consists of 1,400 boxes of material involving the late Hollywood producer and his studio. Camp was a railway engineer and amateur historian who spent 35 years documenting the Indian Wars of the Plains, 1860-1890.
The Smoot Collection includes 124 boxes of the former Utah senator's personal documents. The Whitney Collection documents the early years of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
"Dissemination is a key feature of the program," said Randy Silverman, BYU rare book conservator. "It will make the material more available to historians and other researchers. Researchers now won't need to handle the original material."
Some of the other organizations involved in the microfilming project are Cornell University, Yale University, the New York State Library and the New York Historical Society.