NEH Grant Awarded to Publish Works of Dickinson

UD Library and The John Dickinson Writings Project Awarded NEH Grant to Publish Works of Dickinson

The University of Delaware Library, Museums and Press, in partnership with The John Dickinson Writings Project (JDP), has been awarded a Scholarly Editions and Translations grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) of $300,000 with a $149,998 match for the next three years, 2021-2024. 

The JDP brings to life the works of John Dickinson, an American Founder from Delaware, known as the “Penman of the Revolution.” Dickinson, the internationally recognized leader of the American resistance to Britain before independence, published more for the American cause than any other. With his extensive knowledge of law and politics and eloquent expressions of patriotism, he was one of the foremost leaders of the era and America’s first political hero.  

The JDP aims to collect, edit and publish print and digital editions of everything Dickinson wrote on public affairs over the course of his life. The UD Press is working with the JDP to publish, “The Complete Writings and Selected Correspondence of John Dickinson,” in an estimated 12 print volumes. Volume 1 (1751–1758) was published in 2020, Volume 2 (1759–1763) was published this year, and Volume 3 (1764–1766) is forthcoming. Trevor A. Dawes, Vice Provost for Libraries and Museums and May Morris University Librarian, and Jane E. Calvert, Director and Chief Editor for the JDP, serve as the project’s co-directors.

Grant proceeds will support hiring two full-time editors to work on Volumes 4 and 5; and the establishment of a physical base of operations within Morris Library, resulting in future educational outreach opportunities for the UD community and beyond. Volumes 4 and 5 will contain material that will be highly interesting to students of the American Revolution,” Calvert said. “This includes Dickinson’s launch into international celebrity with the publication of his Farmer’s Letters.”

Dickinson’s public writings—approximately 800 written over the span of 40+ years—are extraordinary not only for sheer volume but also for the audiences addressed and the messages delivered. Dickinson advocated for rights for all segments of society, applying the concept of “all men are created equal” to those who were black, women, Native Americans, criminals, the poor and others. While his ideas for implementing safeguards for human rights in America’s founding documents were rejected, his writings show evidence of these ideas at the founding of the nation.

“I am pleased to be a part of, and for the Library to host, this national project, which will further scholarship on John Dickinson and also shed light on marginalized populations,” Trevor A. Dawes said.

The Library, Museums and Press is home to several archives and an online exhibition that highlights Dickinson’s material within our collections.

To learn more about the JDP, please visit the Project website.

For questions, please contact Trevor A. Dawes, vice provost for libraries and museums, at: