FRANKFORT, Ky. (Feb. 7, 2013) — The Kentucky Historical Society (KHS) has been selected to receive a $142,700 Cataloging Hidden Special Collections and Archives grant by the Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR). The funds will support the cataloging of an estimated 40,000 textiles in the Churchill Weavers Collection.
For 85 years, Churchill Weavers produced distinctive hand-woven clothing and home textiles in Berea, Ky. Talented owners and employees helped it become one of Kentucky’s most beloved handcraft businesses. Faced with foreign competition and downsizing, the business was auctioned in 2007. Soon after, the KHS Foundation purchased the Churchill Weavers Collection, which includes thousands of fabric samples, tools, looms, photographs and business records.
“The Churchill Weavers fabric archive is a hidden collection holding an intensely rich resource of scholarly information. This collection promises to enrich scholarship in many disciplines and academic fields. Nearly every textile created by Churchill Weavers has a sample in the fabric archive, documenting every pattern, weave nuance, color, fiber and material in their products,” said Jennifer Spence, KHS’s Churchill Weavers project coordinator.
“This is one of the most important American textile archives to date and perhaps the most important one in Appalachia, and yet these fabric samples are not accessible to the public,” she said. “The collection’s substance, once made accessible, has the potential to make profound impact on scholarship and to create opportunities to learn things about small business hand-weaving production that have never been known before.”
Created in 2008 and supported by ongoing funding from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Cataloging Hidden Special Collections and Archives awards program supports the identification and cataloging of special collections and archives of high scholarly value that are difficult or impossible to locate. Award recipients create Web-accessible records according to standards that enable the federation of their local cataloging entries into larger groups of related records, enabling the broadest possible exposure to the scholarly community.
CLIR (www.clir.org) is an independent, nonprofit organization that forges strategies to enhance research, teaching, and learning environments in collaboration with libraries, cultural institutions and communities of higher learning.
For more information about this grant and the Churchill Weavers Collection, contact Jennifer Spence at (502) 564-1792, ext. 4503 or [email protected]. For more about KHS, its collections and programs, visit www.history.ky.gov.