University of Pittsburgh Library System Receives One Million Dollar Grant from the Henry L. Hillman Foundation for August Wilson Archive Outreach and Engagement

The University of Pittsburgh Library System (ULS) announces a $1 million grant from the Henry L. Hillman Foundation to support the final preparation of the August Wilson Archive for its opening to the public followed by two years of support for in-depth public engagement with the archive. This is the biggest grant in the history of the ULS and builds upon the many other charitable donations and grants supporting this project. The ULS acquired the archive of Pittsburgh native August Wilson in 2020. Wilson is one of the greatest American playwrights and is most widely known for his American Century Cycle. All ten plays in the cycle were produced on Broadway—two of them earning Wilson the Pulitzer Prize for Drama. 

“Pittsburgh was such a formative influence on August Wilson’s work and shaping his worldview," said David K. Roger, president of Henry L. Hillman Foundation.  "The ability to preserve the archive here in Pittsburgh where it will be accessible to audiences who grew up in the neighborhoods featured in Wilson’s storytelling is gratifying. This opportunity would not have been possible without Constanza Romero's generous collaboration with the University of Pittsburgh, helping to create an unprecedented view into the creative process of a singular American playwright.”

The archive is being processed and will open to the public in January 2023. The ULS is partnering with other local cultural organizations to provide a week-long celebration of the legacy of August Wilson in March 2023. 

Funding from the Henry L. Hillman Foundation will support the final stages of processing the archive and focus on partnering with local and national groups and organizations to see the Wilson archive come to life and be integrated into the lives of the local communities. The ULS will, among other things, reach out to students and instructors in Pittsburgh Public Schools, create public programming and exhibits, and offer research opportunities for local organizations and individuals interested in Wilson's work.

"The Henry L. Hillman Foundation grant will enable us to integrate the August Wilson Archive in the very fabric of the local cultural and civic life,' said Hillman University Librarian and Director of the ULS Kornelia Tancheva, who is the grant principal investigator. "Wilson's work was deeply informed by his experiences growing up in the Hill District neighborhood of Pittsburgh, which makes the opportunity to share this collection with those communities, local schools, and cultural and arts organizations incredibly satisfying. With the generous support of the Henry L. Hillman Foundation, we embark on what is, in some ways, a second homecoming for the archive."  

About the University of Pittsburgh Library System 

The ULS stands at the center of intellectual life at the University of Pittsburgh, fostering connections and knowledge creation and dissemination that help faculty, students, and researchers from around the world to excel in research, scholarship, and creative expression. 

About the Henry L. Hillman Foundation

Henry L. Hillman Foundation works to ensure that Pittsburgh’s considerable strengths, assets, and advantages are fully leveraged to make it one of the world’s most innovative and forward-looking cities, with a reputation for solving big problems through civic leadership and collaboration.

August Wilson

August Wilson