Events & News

Queens Receives a Crown Jewel Archive Project Awards $44,000 Grant, Its Largest Ever

December 1, 2022

By Brad Vogel, Executive Director

The Archive Project, as part of its
Shelby White & Leon Levy Archival Assistance Initiative, awarded the Bowne House Historical Society a “crown jewel” grant of $44,000. The grant, the largest ever given by the Archive Project, will facilitate a major digitization project to improve archival access to a key set of historical records. 

“One of our top goals here at the Archive Project is to convince organizations in the broader preservation field to take care of their archives,” said Gina Pollara, secretary of the Archive Project. “So, as you can imagine, this grant aligns splendidly with that goal.”

Delivered at a September 29th ceremony on the Bowne House grounds in Flushing, Queens, the grant will allow the Society to digitize over 300 years’ worth of archival materials connected with the historic 1661 Bowne House and the Bowne and Parsons families dating to the 1600s. Major assistance from the Leon Levy Foundation allowed the Archive Project to reinstate and expand its archival assistance initiative, which had previously awarded grants in 2013, 2015, and 2017. The Bowne House grant is the first “crown jewel” grant awarded under the initiative. 

The Bowne House collection slated to be digitized represents a uniquely important chronicle and cross section of the history of New York City and the borough of Queens that has thus far not been made available to the broader public online. Records relating to the house’s preservation over the centuries, its ties to early colonial agitation for religious tolerance, its role in the Underground Railroad, and more will be made available online for researchers and the public for the first time.

“We are truly thrilled; this is about the memory of the city,” said Brad Vogel, the Archive Project’s executive director. “Archival work is often an unsung bit of work that goes on in the background, that people aren’t even noticing, and today, I hope the city takes notice.”

The grant award ceremony, complete with oversize check, featured remarks by Richard Vietor (on behalf of Rosemary Vietor, vice president of the Society); James Trent, Society trustee; Jordan Geddes, representing Congresswoman Grace Meng; Jennifer Ellis, senior program officer at the Leon Levy Foundation; Gina Pollara, Archive Project secretary; Brad Vogel, Archive Project executive director; and Charlotte Jackson, Bowne House archivist and trustee.