National Historical Publications & Records Commission FY 2010 Funding

The National Historical Publications and Records Commission’s (NHPRC) budget would increase from the current fiscal year’s $11.25 million to $13 million under the fiscal year (FY) 2010 omnibus funding bill passed by Congress on December 13. Most importantly, the NHPRC would receive the entire $13 million in funding for grants; the highest appropriations level in its history. This is a sizeable increase of $3.75 million over the $9.25 million in grant money NHPRC received in FY 2009.

In FY ’09, the NHPRC received $9.25 million for grants (plus $2 million for administrative costs). The $2 million that the NHPRC has traditionally received for administrative costs has usually been transferred from the National Archives and Records Administration’s operating and expenses account. For FY 10, the administrative support for NHPRC will be included as part of NARA’s operating and expenses account base funding. As a result the full amount provided in FY 10 for the NHPRC will go towards grants.

The Administration and the Senate Appropriations Committee had proposed allocating NHPRC funds to specific projects. However, those directives are missing from the final conference report. The only designated set-aside is $4.5 million for the initiative to provide online access to the papers of the Founding Fathers.

The $4.5 million in funding for the Founding Fathers Online Project will be used to continue the initiative begun in 2009, a pilot project to develop a new approach to publishing the papers of John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and George Washington. Funding will support the document preparation and encoding for online searching; and initiate a fully searchable online portal for the Founders’ papers that is free to the public.

In October 2009, the NHPRC, in partnership with Documents Compass at the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities, announced that 5,000 previously unpublished documents from the nation’s founders were now available online through Rotunda, the digital imprint of The University of Virginia Press.