Digitization Grant Program

In January 2005, METRO launched its Digitization Grant Program as an effort to support digitization projects involving significant collections held by METRO member libraries in New York City and Westchester County. This initiative is supported in part by funds from the New York State Regional Bibliographic Databases Program.

Since that time, METRO has awarded over close to $900,000 in grants to support 92 digital projects.

Funding is distributed on an ongoing basis for qualifying projects that aim to increase access and engagement with digital materials. Projects will only be considered that have a realistic project plan and clear evidence of the intent and ability to make digital collections publicly available online.

Only current METRO member organizations located in New York City and Westchester County are eligible to apply for grant funding.

Applications for METRO Digitization Project funding for 2019 are now available. Applications are due by May 10, 2019. Please contact Anne Karle-Zenith, METRO’s Associate Director of Business Development, at to request application materials and for any additional information.

Current Projects | 2017 | 2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2012

2018 Funded Projects

Marlon Brando, page front (1954)
Institution: Carnegie Hall Corporation
Collection: Carnegie Hall Incorporated Collections
Description: The Carnegie Hall Incorporated Collections document the history of the ownership and management of Carnegie Hall from 1925 to 1960. In 1925, Robert E. Simon, Sr., a real estate developer, purchased Carnegie Hall from the Estate of Andrew Carnegie, and formed Carnegie Hall Incorporated to act as the Hall’s administrative body. As part of the terms of the sale, Simon guaranteed that Carnegie Hall would remain a concert hall for the first five years of his ownership. In 1935, Simon died suddenly and ownership passed to his son, Robert Simon, Jr. He ran Carnegie Hall Incorporated until he sold the Hall to the City of New York in 1960. The Carnegie Hall Incorporated Digital Collections consist of 3,213 images of correspondence, scrapbooks, studio rental ledger pages, telegrams, newspaper clippings, business records, and photographs.
Institution: Irwin S. Chanin School of Architecture Archive of The Cooper Union
Collection: The Student Work Collection
Description: The Student Work Collection represents over eight decades of The Cooper Union’s experimental, influential approach to architectural education, and its material provides valuable opportunities for enriching public understanding of American culture, history, and the democratic ideals that shape our built environment. The Collection encompasses analog image, text, and audio records as well as born-digital media that document nearly 4,800 projects by over 1,500 students from the 1930s-Present. Most projects date from the mid-1960s forward. Documentation of student work includes process drawings, final presentation drawings, photographs of architectural models, faculty course documents, and supplemental research material, all drawn on an annual basis from each semester of the academic year. Project activities will take place in two phases over five years. Phase I, which began in November 2016 addresses the Collection’s 30,000+ analog records dating from 1930-2006 and includes: cataloging records at the folder/item-level, digitizing them for public access and preserving them through archival rehousing. The METRO grant funds will be used to support 624 hours of post-scanning image processing performed by student interns, resulting in roughly 3,500 adjusted images.
Lady with flowers
Institution: New-York Historical Society
Collection: Burr McIntosh Photographic Prints, 1900-1910
Description: Burr McIntosh (1862-1942) established his first studio in 1901 on West 33rd Street, across from the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel, a meeting place of many of the society and theatrical people whose portraits he would take. This project will cover digitization of 3,825 photographic prints, to be added to 596 existing digitized photographic negatives from the collection, creating a comprehensive digital archive of this important early twentieth-century photographer who recorded the fashionable elite in New York City at the end of the Gilded Age. Most of the images in the collection are society and celebrity portraits. Actors Ethel and John Barrymore appear at the seashore; philanthropist A.G. Vanderbilt celebrates a holiday at his Adirondack lodge. The collection also includes images of children playing, professional New York theatrical groups, horse shows and events including polo and fox hunting, sailing at Newport, Rhode Island, and various buildings. The images constitute a remarkable record of high society and the world of entertainment in the first decade of the twentieth century, but the collection also includes unexpected material, such as the photographs taken in 1905 when McIntosh accompanied Secretary of War William H. Taft as the official photographer on his peace trip to the Philippines, stopping on the way in Hawaii, Japan, and China.The vast majority of the estimated 4,141 prints were made by N-YHS in the late 1940s from glass plate negatives taken during the period 1900-1910; the negatives were destroyed after being printed.
A. Jones In The Studio
Institution: New York Public Radio
Collection: On The Media 1993-2000
Description: Since 1993, WNYC’s seminal program On the Media investigates “how the media shapes our world view.” This collection includes 200 hours of program files originally archived on audio cassette. The WNYC Archive's collection of early On the Media broadcasts (1993-1996) is significant because it is both a profile and a chronicle of the media just before and during the infancy of the internet and digital age. It is also a critical compendium of discussions on many of the issues involving the media, journalism, and reporters that continue to resurface regardless of era. The show's lively and provocative exchanges provided listeners with a captivating look at the inner workings of news operations while exploring the impact of decisions by editors, producers, and media executiives on elections, public policy, and the shaping of public opinion and attitudes. The program first went on air locally in February 1993 and nationally in October 1995 with host Alex S. Jones, a Pulitzer Prize-awarded journalist known for for covering the press for The New York Times. Among his guests were White House correspondent Eleanor Clift, media critic Jonathan Alter of Newsweek, Village Voice columnist Nat Hentoff, author Ken Auletta, NBC-TV reporter Gabe Pressman, editor Abe Rosenthal of The New York Times, Tina Brown of The New Yorker, columnist Molly Ivins, critic Stanley Crouch, TV Nation's Michael Moore, NPR's Scott Simon, and Joan Conner, Dean of the Columbia School of Journalism. Topics covered include coverage of the World Trade Center bombing, the Rodney King trial, President Clinton’s first 100 days, and gay and lesbian issues. The early broadcasts are archived as “airchecks” on analog audio cassette tape. These standard audio cassettes have reached or are approaching their manufacturer’s expected shelf-life.
Rachel Wischnitzer (photo courtesy of Yeshiva University Archives)
Institution: Leo Baeck Institute New York
Collection: Digitizing the Estate of the Art Historian Rachel Wischnitzer
Description: The collection (18 reels of microfilm/20,000 frames), documents the professional activities of the art historian and architect Rachel Wischnitzer (1885 –1989), including her research and publications, work as a curator and museum consultant, service on editorial and museum boards, lectures she gave, and her tenure as a professor of fine arts at Yeshiva University’s Stern College for Women. Also included in this series is a large amount of visual material—photographs, lantern slides, and negatives—compiled by Rachel Wischnitzer and used as reference materials, illustrations for her publications, and as visual aids for her lectures. Common topics include synagogues, book plates and illuminated manuscript pages, ceremonial and liturgical objects, and art. Note: Photo courtesy of Yeshiva University Archives.
Gaby Gluekcselig
Institution: Leo Baeck Institute New York
Collection: The Gaby Glueckselig Collection
Description: This collection (44 reels of microfilm/44,000 frames) includes documents and papers from former German-Jewish emigrant Gaby Glueckselig. She was the hostess of New York’s longest running German-language Stammtisch. Founded in 1943 by Vienna-born artist George Harry Asher and Bavarian author Oskar Maria Graf, the weekly gathering became a cultural home for Jewish and non-Jewish émigrés who had fled the Nazi takeover of their beloved Heimat but did not want to leave their culture behind. The group met for years in cafes on the Upper East Side until Glueckselig began hosting the group in her Yorkville apartment – and many of the documents in the collection are connected to this Stammtisch.
The Suffragist Vol. 3, Issue 24
Institution: Staten Island Museum History Center and Archives
Collection: Digitize Suffrage Periodicals
Description: Collection of 382 issues made up of 6,117 pages from two periodicals published by Women's Suffrage organizations in the 1910s: The Woman Voter, published by the Woman Suffrage Party of New York City between 1910 and 1917, and The Suffragist, published by the Congressional Union for Woman Suffrage between 1913 and 1920. The Woman Voter covered news of the campaign for suffrage in each district in New York City. It listed the officers of each chapter of the Women’s Suffrage Party within New York City, reported the results of party elections, and featured profiles of individual suffragists. Activists for the cause contributed opinion pieces, updates about planned activities, and lists of major donors. While The Woman Voter, focused primarily on New York, The Suffragist was national in scope. It covered political news and major events, but also listed individual donors, and occasionally solicited contributions from guest writers. Now that these materials are digitally available via the Internet Archive, this has become the most complete online collection of the two periodicals available to the public.
Institution: The New York Academy of Medicine
Collection: William S. Ladd Collection of Prints
Description: Collection of 671 prints, primarily portraits, dating from the 17th century through the early 19th century. The prints, which demonstrate a variety of printing processes including etching, engraving, mezzotint, stippling, lithography, and hand coloring, primarily depict people who have made historically significant contributions to the fields of science and medicine, as well as some medical institutions, procedures, and other health-related topics. The prints are spectacular and appealing because of their subject matter and artistic merit. They lend a personal dimension to the study of the history of medicine.William S. Ladd, a former dean of Cornell University Medical College, accumulated the collection during the first half of the 20th century, purchasing many of the prints as deaccessioned duplicates from the Ashmolean Museum at Oxford University.
Institution: American Museum of Natural History Library
Collection: Biodiversity Heritage Library - Enhancing Access Project
Description: The collection includes an assortment of 20th century, scientific journals. The publishers do not offer e-journals. The digitization of these 84 issues (approximately 9,500 pages) will allow their content to be discovered -- and freely accessible -- via the Biodiversity Heritage Library portal. The materials were selected initially as part of the BHL's system to identify materials that users wanted to see online.
Institution: Library of The Jewish Theological Seminary
Collection: Audio of JTS Lectures, 1947-1969
Description: Reel to reel audio recordings + one 16mm film of lectures at JTS documenting American Jewish history, society, and scholarship throughout the mid to late 20th century. The items selected capture lectures, conferences and events held and recorded at The Jewish Theological Seminary between 1947 – 1969. covering topics that range from Jewish perspectives on healthcare, Jewish/Christian and Jewish/Islamic relations, and relations with the State of Israel. There are also recordings of Rabbinical Assembly meetings, including a notable session featuring Civil Rights activists Coretta Scott King and Andrew Young discussing Black/Jewish relations. There are several oral histories recorded with longtime JTS faculty and staff, including Jessica Feingold, Sylvia Ettenberg, Mordecai Waxman, Moshe Davis, and Simon Greenberg. Also speeches given by Jewish and other luminaries such as David Ben-Gurion, first Prime Minister of Israel, Teddy Kollek, Mayor of Jerusalem (1965 to 1993), President Harry Truman, former Vice President Nelson Rockefeller. Tapes were selected by date recorded (1940s-1960s) as they are the most endangered and need to be digitized before their contents are lost.

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2017 Funded Projects

Agnes Meyerhof Bookplate
Institution: The Grolier Club
Collection: Maria Gerard Messenger Women’s Bookplate Collection
Description: Collection of over 2000 women’s bookplates and book labels assembled by Maria Gerard Messenger (1849-1937) of Great Neck, Long Island. The collection represents women book owners from the sixteenth century to the 1930s, and includes women from North America, England, France, Germany, the Low Countries, and Spain, among other locations. It includes both well-known collectors and those with little or no documentation in the historical record.
A Boy Playing the Trumpet in a Camp in Tehran
Institution: Pilsudski Institute of America
Collection: Photographs of Polish Soldiers and Civilians During WWII (1939-1945)
Description: Collection of over 1000 photographs of Polish Armed Forces in the West, including organized military formations, established in the autumn of 1939 outside of Poland, on the basis of inter-allied agreements signed with France and the United Kingdom. The Polish Armed Forces were commanded by the Commander-in-Chief General Władysław Sikorski and later on General Kazimierz Sosnkowski. This collection includes three major groups of photographs associated with three military formations: Polish Armed Forces in the United Kingdom (1940-1944), the formation of Anders’ Army in the East, and the life of soldiers of the Polish Independent Carpathian Rifle Brigade in Africa (1940-1942).
Catechismo, y breue exposicion de la doctrina Christiana
Institution: New-York Historical Society
Collection: Five Timicua Language Imprints, 1612-1635
Description: This digital collection includes five seventeenth-century Mexican imprints that are among the earliest known primary sources in the lost Timucua language of Spanish Florida and among the first works ever published in a native language of the Americas. They owe their survival to antiquarian and linguist Buckingham Smith (1810-1871), whose collection of manuscripts and books related to Native American cultures and languages was donated to the New-York Historical Society in the 1880s.

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2016 Funded Projects

Students studying in colonnade
Institution: Bronx Community College
Collection: Hall of Fame for Great Americans Collection
Description: The Hall of Fame for Great Americans collection consists of 142 photographs and documents related to the selection, election, induction and media coverage of individuals represented in the Hall of Fame located at Bronx Community College (BCC). Honorees include authors, educators, architects, inventors, military leaders, judges, theologians, philanthropists, humanitarians, scientists, statesmen, artists, musicians, actors, and explorers. Dating from the 1920s to the 1970s, the collection includes memoranda and personal correspondence, office records, publicity materials, and photographs. Note: This collection was created as part of the Culture In Transit project, made possible by a grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.
Fordham College Monthly Volume v.9 (1890-1891)
Institution: Fordham University Libraries
Collection: Selections from Special Collections
Description: This collection comprises 78 volumes from Fordham Library Special Collections, grouped into three broad categories. 1) Early Fordham publications: documenting the history of Fordham University and Catholic New York during the 19th and early 20th centuries, including three handwritten student publications. 2) Selections of manuscript collections: rare materials from the 14th-18th centuries, including two books of hours and handwritten Catholic sermons from New Spain (Mexico and California plus a 19th century Syriac bible ). 3) Shvidler Chair Judaica Collection: a selection of rare early printed titles in Hebrew and Yiddish, primarily from the 16th and 18th centuries.
1964 Annual Report
Institution: Hospital for Special Surgery, Kim Barrett Memorial Library
Collection: Annual Reports of the Hospital for Special Surgery
Description: Collection of 63 volumes of Annual Reports from the Hospital for Special Surgery, originally known as the Hospital for the Relief of the Ruptured and Crippled. The reports span the years from 1895-1979, chronicling the development of life-changing discoveries pertaining to musuloskeletal diagnosis, treatment and care against a backdrop of ongoing political and enconomic crises, including surgery to treat woulnded soldiers of WWII, establishemen tof American Hosipital in Britain, use of HSS as supplier of blood for WWII national defense programs, polio's impact and treatment.
1960 Annual Report of The Roosevelt Hospital
Institution: Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai
Collection: Annual Reports of St. Luke's and Roosevelt Hospitals
Description: This collection includes the Annual Reports for St. Luke's Hospital (1859-1976) and the Roosevelt Hospital (1871-1978). These two famous New York City medical institutions were both founded in the 19th century to serve the worthy poor in the City. Both grew to include education in their missions, training both young doctors in their residency programs, as well as nurses in three year diploma programs. Many scientific and clinical innovations occurred at these institutions, but their primary mission was and remains service. The Annual Reports detail the stories of the hospitals: their needs, their supporters, the people they served, and how they interacted with their communities in New York City. The Reports also show the advance of medicine, including information about how the hospitals responded to various epidemics and public health crises, from 19th century cholera to 20th century drug addiction.
AAMI Annual Dinner "Blueprint" Announcement 1915
Institution: General Society of Mechanics and Tradesmen
Collection: Industry & Culture Collection
Description: Collection of 364 objects composed of selected archival materials and museum holdings from The General Society of Mechanics and Tradesmen of the City of New York (GSMT). Founded in 1785, The General Society initially served as a benevolent organization that provided mutual support to fellow craftsmen and artisans in need. This philosophy of practical philanthropy has been maintained for over 230 years in the form of the second-oldest library in New York (since 1820), an active program of lectures (since 1837), and a tuition-free evening trade school (since 1858). Since its inception, The Society has counted many prominent New Yorkers among its over 4000 members such as Andrew Carnegie, Peter Cooper and Abram S. Hewitt. The items presented in the Industry and Culture Collection document a wide variety of General Society activities including patriotic, civic, educational and literary pursuits. Note: This collection was created as part of the Culture In Transit Project, made possible by a grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

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2015 Funded Projects

Honorius Papa :
Institution: Fordham University
Collection: Political and religious pamphlets of the Italian unification, 1815-1871
Description: This collection of approximately 1600 short printed pamphlets was published in Italy, largely from 1815-1880, and markings on several of the items appear to link the collection with Cardinal Carlo Luigi Morichini (1805-1879) as a former owner. The pamphlets reflect the Catholic Church's outlook on and response to the sweeping changes occurring in 19th-century Italy, a period which witnessed the national unification of the Italian peninsula and the corresponding secularization of civil, political, and educational institutions.
Trends In The New York Clothing Industry
Institution: Baruch College CUNY
Collection: Institute of Public Administration Collection Printed Materials and Reports, 1907-1959
Description: A unique colleciton of reports from the Institute of Public Administration on the origins of reform government in the US. The organization was created and financed in the early twentieth centurey by wealthy reform-minded New Yorkers, including the Rockefeller, Carnegie and Harriman families, to promote honest, efficient government. The IPA (and its predecessor, the Bureau of Municipal Research) taught NY and municipalities worldwide the necessities of budgets, training for public servants, and investigative studies to expose waste and corruption. Reports are from the period 1920-1950 and cover the workings of municipalities and states around the country and the measures taken by municipal governments to improve their operations.
Carnegie Hall Booking Ledger, volume 17, page 86a
Institution: Carnegie Hall Archives
Collection: Carnegie Hall's Booking Ledger Collection
Description: Carnegie Hall booking ledgers that recorded every event that took place in the Hall’s three auditoriums and were used to schedule performances spanning 1955-2007. These ledgers include rare documentation of the great artists and managers of various music genres that have performed at the Hall over the past half-century, and also chronicle the wide range of non-musical events such as lectures, meetings, and civic rallies that have taken place.

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2014 Funded Projects

Bulletin of the Brooklyn Institute of Arts and Sciences, Volume I, Number 1
Institution: Brooklyn Academy of Music and Brooklyn Museum
Collection: Brooklyn Institute of Arts & Sciences Periodicals
Description: The Brooklyn Institute of Arts and Sciences Bulletins Collection is comprised of promotional materials known as Bulletins, or Monthly Magazines of Brooklyn Institute of Arts and Sciences. These periodicals contain listings of upcoming performances, lectures, courses, special events and related articles. The first issue is from September 1908 and the series runs through June 1953.

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2012 Funded Projects

Cover of the Bauer collection of Antique Chinese Art Treasures
Institution: Frick Art Reference Library
Collection: Gilding the Gilded Age: Interior Decoration Tastes and Trends in New York City as Documented by a Collection of Auction Catalogs in Frick and Hearst Library Collections
Description: The Gilded Age, witnessed large and valuable private collections disposed of at auction. New York City played an important role in this burgeoning market. Auction catalogs from these sales provide a wealth of information about the world of collecting, provenance, artists, and artistic tastes during a time of burgeoning wealth. Materials from the Frick Art Reference Library and Archive and The William Randolph Hearst Archive, LIU Post comprise this collection documenting auctions of decorative arts during the Gilded Age. Spanning the period from 1876 to 1922, this collection documents the importance of auction catalogs and sales that played a pivotal role in the history of collecting in New York City. A majority of the auction catalogs in the collection were issued at auctions held by the American Art Association. 19,294 objects were digitized and 104 MARC records were created for the digital versions of the catalogs.

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