February 27, 1998 Texaco Foundation to Donate $300,000 to National Digital Library Program

Press Contact: Guy Lamolinara, Library of Congress (202) 707-9217 | Keelin Molloy, Texaco Foundation (914) 253-7461

The Texaco Foundation, as part of its new focus on broadening the use of music in education, has presented the first installment of a $300,000 pledge to the National Digital Library Program of the Library of Congress.

The donation will be used to make available the on-line presentation "America from the Grass Roots," comprising four collections from the Library's American Folklife Center. The four collections pay particular attention to rural Southern, African American, Hispanic and American Indian musical traditions. They feature sound recordings, photographs and manuscripts that document examples of folk cultural expression as recorded by scholars, documentarians and others. The new presentation will be part of American Memory (www.loc.gov), electronic collections of the Library's rare American history materials.

"'America from the Grass Roots' will contain some of the Library's most important materials reflecting the nation's diverse voices," said Librarian of Congress James H. Billington. "The generosity of the Texaco Foundation will make it possible for all Americans to share more fully in their cultural heritage."

"The Texaco Foundation is proud to be a part of the National Digital Library Program," said Anne T. Dowling, President of the Texaco Foundation in White Plains, N.Y. "These collections from the American Folklife Center celebrate the many remarkable, unique voices that have shaped America.

The four collections that will make up "America from the Grass Roots" are:

The John and Ruby Lomax Southern States Collection, 1939, the result of a three-month trip through nine Southern states. The Lomaxes recorded songs, spirituals, field hollers, dramas, prayers and oral histories that document African American, Mexican American and British American traditions.

The Lomax/Hurston/Barnicle Expedition, 1935, in which John Lomax's son Alan collaborated with author- anthropologist Zora Neale Hurston and folklorist Mary Elizabeth Barnicle to document African American music and lore in Georgia, Florida and the Bahamas.

The Juan Rael Collection: Traditions of the Spanish Southwest, in which Rael traveled through the upper Rio Grande communities of southern Colorado and northern New Mexico to record their traditions.

Omaha Indian Music, Past and Present, which provides a window into ancient and contemporary music and dance traditions of the Omaha tribe of northeastern Nebraska.

The Texaco Foundation's new signature program in music education will explore the potential of music to improve academic achievement. The emphasis is on serious curricular reform, which will be aided by the Library's program to make original music source material available for student and teacher use on the Internet.

American Memory is a project of the National Digital Library Program of the Library of Congress. It aims to make freely available on the Internet millions of items from the Library's incomparable collections relating to American history. This public-private initiative is being supported in part by the U.S. Congress and mostly by contributions from the private sector. More than $37 million has been pledged in donations so far, enabling the Library to have more than 400,000 items currently on-line with millions more in the pipeline.

"America from the Grass Roots" will join "California Gold" and "Voices from the Dust Bowl," other on-line collections from the American Folklife Center's archives. The more than two dozen American Memory collections include "African American Perspectives," "Selected Civil War Photographs," early short films, sound recordings and panoramic maps.


PR 98-005
ISSN 0731-3527