A collection for the world courtesy of the Illinois Secretary of State and Oak Park Public Library

Oak Park Public Library in Oak Park, Illinois, the hometown of Ernest Hemingway, will soon offer the world unprecedented access to rare archives from both the library’s collections and the Ernest Hemingway Foundation of Oak Park, thanks to a grant from the Illinois Secretary of State to digitize Illinois history. These items will be included in the Illinois Digital Archives and will be available to the world as they are digitized.

Jesse White, Illinois Secretary of State and State Librarian, awarded more than $400,000 in digital imaging grants to support the creation and storage of digital collections across the state. Oak Park Public Library is the largest recipient of funds. LYRASIS is excited to share that Leigh A. Grinstead, LYRASIS Digital Services Consultant, has already begun consulting work on the project with a kick-off meeting and is planning several more face-to-face meetings with the library.

The collection, entitled “Hacking Hemingway: Cracking the Code to the Vault”, will focus on Ernest Hemingway’s life in Oak Park. It will cover his birth through young adulthood with an emphasis on his everyday experiences with family and friends. Ephemera from his sister Marcelline, his mother Grace, and Ernest’s own have been selected for digitization. The Foundation’s Hemingway Archive serves as an informal “twin collection” to a collection housed in the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library in Boston. Items from the library’s own Special Collections of Oak Park history will add rich context. The Historical Society of Oak Park and River Forest has also been invited to include materials that bring to life the Hemingway family’s lives.

Oak Park Public Library’s project is expected to be digitized in full by June 2016. Leigh Grinstead will present on the project at the international Hemingway Conference to be held in Oak Park in June 2016. Stay tuned to LYRASIS Now for updates on the project.

For more information about the project, or to learn about digitization services from LYRASIS, contact Leigh Grinstead.

The following is a list of additional libraries receiving grants as well as the amount awarded and the project for which it will be used:

  • Blessing Health Professions Library in Quincy: $39,304;
    “Open Access to the Healthcare History of the Quincy Community”
  • Chicago Horticultural Society in Glencoe: $67,273;
    “Digitization of Original Manuscripts of Orchidologists and the Horticultural Society of Chicago”
  • Eureka Public Library District in Eureka: $10,449;
    “Pumpkins, Parades & Pies: Eureka’s Pumpkin Festival Past, 1939-1961”
  • Gail Borden Public Library District in Elgin: $10,895;
    “Elgin’s History-A Look Back in Time”
  • Galena Public Library in Galena: $9,557;
    “Galena Area Historic Photos Digitization Project”
  • Highland Park Public Library in Highland Park: $78,667;
    “Highland Park Memory Project”
  • Huntley Area Public Library District in Huntley: $5,521;
    “Preservation and Digitization of the Dairy and Agricultural History of Huntley, Illinois”
  • Illinois State Archives in Springfield: $78,800;
    “Register of Prisoners Digitization Project”
  • Meadville Lombard Theological School/Wiggin Library in Chicago: $37,456;
    “Illinois in Transition: Liberal Religious Activism, 1890-1983”
  • Mount Prospect Public Library in Mount Prospect: $5,660;
    “Dimensions of Life in Mount Prospect”
  • Oak Park Public Library in Oak Park: $86,919;
    “Hacking Hemingway: Cracking the Code to the Vault”
  • Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville in Edwardsville: $42,371;
    “Madison County, Illinois, Naturalization Records: A Digital Collection of Social and Family History”
  • Vespasian Warner Public Library District in Clinton: $12,907;
    “Vespasian Warner Public Library World War I Collection”