News & Events
MHC Receives Grant From A.V. Davis Foundations
Mars Hill College has received a prestigious $250,000 grant from the Arthur Vining Davis Foundations to endow funding for the Southern Appalachian Archives, housed at the Liston B. Ramsey Center for Regional Studies on the campus.
Chief among the goals for the grant is to help meet the requirements of a challenge grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities. The N.E.H. grant, received by the college in November 2006, provided a $500,000 federal contribution, contingent on a 3-to-1 match to be raised by the college by July 2012. The $2 million total is to create endowment funds for a full-time archivist, and preservation and programming costs for the archives.
According to Dr. Kathy Newfont, associate professor of history and faculty chair of the regional studies program at Mars Hill College, the A.V. Davis Grant represents a significant gift in a six-year fundraising campaign to endow the Southern Appalachian Archives and to raise matching funds for the N.E.H. Challenge Grant.
“This grant is so important to securing the future of our unique archival collections, and to enabling us to develop programming related to those collections,” she said. “Thanks to A.V. Davis and other challenge grant supporters, we will be able to preserve and provide access to these unique collections for present and future generations.”
Cataloging and creating access to the Southern Appalachian Archives is one of the primary tasks of Dr. Karen Paar, director of the Ramsey Center and archivist of the Southern Appalachian Archives. Her position as archivist was made possible by an endowment through the N.E.H. Challenge Grant.
|The Bascom Lamar Lunsford Collection is among the treasures of the Southern Appalachian Archives.|
“We are extremely grateful to the A.V. Davis Foundations,” Paar said. “This very generous gift has virtually guaranteed our success with the N.E.H. Challenge Grant for the Southern Appalachian Archives. As we move closer to our fundraising goal, we will be able to turn our attention more fully to preserving and providing access to these wonderful archival collections, as well as encouraging student use of these materials for research.”
The holdings of the Southern Appalachian Archives include photographs, documents, sound recordings, and artifacts which document aspects of mountain life and culture of interest to scholars here and abroad. Among many other collections, the Archives includes: the Ruskin Collection of Cherokee documents and artifacts; the James G.K. McClure Farmers Federation Collection, which contains almost 3000 photographs of western North Carolina agricultural life in the early to mid 1900s; and the Bascom Lamar Lunsford Collection, comprised of Lunsford’s letters, memorabilia and over 2,300 handwritten ballads and folksongs.