WWP The Project Newsletter Archive Volume 2, Number 1 From the Director

From the Director

by Carol DeBoer-Langworthy

The Women Writers Project has undergone profound changes since the last Newsletter was published in the spring of 1990. The original objective of the WWP was to produce a single scholarly anthology that asked new questions about genre, publication, canonical traditions, and literary culture. Today, the mission of the WWP is based on the idea of creating, developing, and making accessible a state-of-the-art electronic textbase of pre-Victorian women's writing in English. It is a testimony to the strength of the original visionaries who established the WWP that it has survived the numerous changes in its structure.

I arrived as Director in August, 1994, and bring the perspective of a documentary editor to the WWP. My background is in academic administration and fund-raising, with academic training in American Studies. The WWP now has a full-time staff of two and a part-time staff of four. Ten students invest invaluable time and energy in the WWP; some work on encoding, proofing and editing the textbase, while others oversee the distribution of our printed texts, maintain the WWP's web page, and assist in the production of this newsletter.

Over the past nine years, major funding for the WWP has come from Brown University. The second major funder has been the National Endowment for the Humanities, which has provided major grants for the creation and enrichment of the SGML textbase and bibliographic activities. As part of the 1995 NEH award to the Project. we were asked to raise $50,000 in private monies to match an equivalent amount from NEH toward the requested budget for the Project through June 30, 1997.

This has proved a fortunate challenge to the WWP, timed as it was with the return of Professor Susanne Woods to Providence. One of the original founders of the WWP, a former Director of the Project and current Chair of the Executive Committee of the Scholarly Advisory Board, Professor Woods has been devoting a sabbatical year to assisting us in raising money toward the NEH grant's matching requirements. As of this writing, the WWP has achieved the $50,000 goal through gifts and grants. That $50,000 will leverage an additional, equivalent amount from NEH. The Project staff and board members are deeply touched and encouraged by the outpouring of concern and commitment from people who know the Project well.

The NEH challenge has served as a catalyst for us to begin diversifying our funding base. We are actively pursuing requests to foundations and corporations to assist us with electronic delivery of our high-quality, intellectually vetted texts. I also foresee the development of a gift society dedicated to assisting the WWP with ongoing general expenses associated with encoding texts. A program of special events is envisioned, to explain our work to persons interested in the welfare and progress of the Project textbase. Organized fund-raising from individuals will focus on those who use texts from the textbase for teaching and research.

All of this is by way of explaining the appearance of a solicitation in this newsletter. Please consider making a donation to support the ongoing work of the Women Writers Project. Your tax-deductible gift to Brown University (designated for the Women Writers Project) will help us prepare more texts for eventual delivery on-line, thus ensuring that the works of women make the technological leap into the future, and assist in the creation of the new electronic canon.

We are very proud of the new WWP and hope that the newsletter will draw in more interested people. Please make contact with the WWP and become involved by ordering printed texts, perusing our web page, or by visiting the new WWP office in Graduate Center E, 92 Thayer Street, and allow us to show you what we do!

Surface Mail:

Women Writers Project
Brown University
Box 1841
Providence, Rhode Island 02912




(401) 863-3619

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