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CU Libraries Awarded $1.1 Million for Oral History Project

Columbia University Libraries will receive $1.1 million over three years from The Atlantic Philanthropies (AP) to create an oral history archive of the organization, a group of Bermuda-based charitable foundations . The Atlantic Philanthropies Oral History Project will give researchers and scholars the opportunity to explore and learn about the decision-making process, the outcomes of grant-funded programs and the international philanthropic and business practices of AP and its founder, Charles F. Feeney.

Columbia 's Oral History Research Office (OHRO), under the leadership of Director Mary Marshall Clark, will conduct taped interviews with more than 100 individuals, including current and former members of the institution's board; financial, philanthropic and legal advisors, and grantees.

James Neal, vice president for Information Services and University Librarian, said, "Columbia's Oral History Research Office is preeminent and uniquely positioned to create a comprehensive and lasting archive of Atlantic Philanthropies' extraordinary impact in the world."

Clark added, "AP's historic contributions in the field of education, the peace process and addressing the needs of vulnerable populations are central to our understanding of the creative role that philanthropy can play in an increasingly complex world situation."

The work will be conducted in two phases: A team of oral historians will conduct the interviews for 24 months, from July 2005 through June 2007. The second phase will run from July 2007 through April 2008, when interviews will be evaluated and archived.

The interviews will yield approximately 560 hours of material, including a life history of Feeney, and will complement OHRO holdings in the history of philanthropy, which include an extensive archive on the Carnegie Corporation, as well as the Jessie Smith Noyes Foundation.

The Atlantic Philanthropies grant investments are focused internationally in four fields: aging, disadvantaged children and youth, population health, and reconciliation and human rights. Atlantic's mission is to bring about lasting changes in the lives of disadvantaged and vulnerable people.

OHRO is the oldest and largest university-based oral history program open to the public in the world. Founded in 1948 by Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Allan Nevins, the collection contains nearly 8,000 taped memoirs and 1 million pages of transcript. The program is also a center for teaching and research, offering opportunities for students, visiting scholars and fellows.

Published: Apr 26, 2005
Last modified: Apr 26, 2005

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