Leon Levy Foundation Awards Millions to Preserve, Digitize Archives

Since 2007, the has awarded grants totaling more than $10 million to some two dozen institutions to identify, preserve, and digitize their archival collections and make them available online to scholars and the public, the reports.

The driving force behind the grants is Shelby White, founding trustee of the Levy Foundation, which is named for her husband, the late Wall Street financier and philanthropist who was committed to making history more accessible. Through its archives and catalogs program, the foundation has both provided funding to institutions to maintain their archives and convened archivists to share information on what scholars and the public want most and how much of their collections to digitize.

In the past week, the program has awarded two significant grants, including its largest to date: $3.5 million to the in Princeton, New Jersey, to collect and conserve the papers of present and former scholars in residence, including J. Robert Oppenheimer and Albert Einstein; and $2.4 million to the to digitize 1.3 million pages, including historically significant music scores. The program's other recipients, many of them New York City cultural institutions, include the , the , the , the in Boston, and the in Cambodia.

"Many archives contain historical treasures that are extremely fragile and that might otherwise be neglected or lost forever," said White, a major force in New York City arts and educational philanthropy and a notable collector of antiquities. "These institutions have been recapturing their own history."

Sam Roberts. "." New York Times 10/13/2009.