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The NYU Libraries’ special projects allow us to continue our commitment to enriching the experiences of our community. The following projects will help us expand our collections and create opportunities for future research and scholarship.


Ruth Gruber Collection

Funds make it possible to process the papers of Ruth Gruber (1911-2016), groundbreaking reporter, photojournalist, and author. The collection documents Gruber’s reporting trips in Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union, her pioneering coverage of Holocaust survivors and Jewish refugees in Europe, the Nuremberg trials, the birth of Israel, her feminist column for Hadassah Magazine, notes for her 19 books, extensive memoirs, and more.

Indigenous Films Collection

Establish a fund to inventory and digitize over 5,000 analog at-risk productions by and about indigenous communities around the world. NYU Libraries is committed to the inclusion of indigenous peoples and perspectives in the process of stewardship and description of collections, recognizing that this is a crucial opportunity to rethink and alter traditional workflows of accessioning, cataloging, and accessibility.

Cuban Slave Documents

This collection consists of documents concerning slavery in Cuba between 1809 and 1898. Materials include telegrams, contracts, identification papers, travel licenses, marriage and baptism records, death and burial certificates, purchase and insurance documents, and manumission records documenting various aspects of slavery in Cuba, including the economics of the Atlantic slave trade, demographics of Cuban populations, England’s abolition of slavery, the transportation of Chinese workers to Cuba, family relationships in the context of slavery, living, and working conditions on sugar cane plantations, and manumission processes. Funds will help provide digital, accessible versions of this collection.

Closed Captioning for Special Collections Video

Video captioning ensures that the rich content of our extensive video collections is accessible to a diverse audience.

Preservation Equipment

This equipment will help our conservation experts treat and preserve Special Collections materials.

Material Analysis Equipment

These tools will expand our ability to study the material composition of items within our collections. Analysis of material composition sheds light on both the manufacture and the use history of our materials, and provides information crucial to preservation of those materials. Learning to use the following material-analysis tools will also provide our conservation, museum studies, and applied chemistry students with hands-on training.

  • Portable x-ray fluorescence spectrometer (XRF): used for analysis of collection materials including the identification of potentially harmful substances such as arsenic (used as a colorant for nineteenth-century book covers)

  • External reflectance attachment: used for the Fourier transform infrared spectrometer (FTIR) to provide non-contact analysis of organic components of fragile collections materials

  • Polarizing light microscope: used for identification of fibers and pigments that provide information about the age and source of materials

  • Spectrophotometer: used for non-destructive monitoring and examination of collection materials

Film Digitization Tools

These tools will expand our capacity to digitize various motion picture film formats. A significant portion of our Special Collections holdings is from the twentieth century, including a variety of moving image film formats, reflecting the means by which many individuals and communities recorded their histories. These materials include films of student-led events, community activism, and creative performances. Formats within the collections range from Super 8mm to 35mm. Digitization of these films will allow NYU students and faculty as well as researchers from around the globe to access this rich material, and to use the material in classroom teaching, exhibitions, screenings, and more.

  • Warped film kits: used for 8mm/Super 8mm, 16mm, and 35mm gauges facilitate the safe digitization of deteriorated film that is warped or cupping

  • A composite magnetic sound head: allows for the digitization of both the sound and picture tracks of a 16mm composite film

  • Super8 magnetic sound head: allows us to capture 8mm magnetic sound

Environmental Monitoring Equipment

Fluctuation of temperature and humidity causes both immediate and long-term damage to collections materials. Closely monitoring our internal environment with data loggers is crucial to preventing such damage. We are in need of updated, wireless data loggers that will improve our monitoring capabilities and allow staff to remotely monitor our spaces in order to respond quickly to any potential danger.

Rare Book Cradles

The past decade has seen a dramatic increase in requests by faculty for the use of Special Collections materials in the classroom as well as in student research projects. In recognition of this increase, our new Special Collections Center was designed with three specially-equipped classrooms reserved solely for teaching with archival and rare book materials. To support this increased use, we need to expand our supply of specialized “cradles” that allow for the safe handling of rare manuscripts and books.

Connolux Studio Lamps

Connolux Studio Lamps are made for use in conservation laboratories because they provide a neutral color light source and high accuracy color rendering, vital for color matching.