In 1974, Jim Gray and his colleagues convened the first summer institute of the Bay Area Writing Project at UC Berkeley—the very first Writing Project site—with two dozen teachers. Over the years, these educators promoted a radically new vision of professional learning, one that has taken root across the nation. Thanks to their hard work, and the talents and efforts of over 100,000 teacher-leaders throughout the U.S., NWP has generated a national network of sites that have served more than two million educators, pre-K through University, and across the curriculum.
In 2014, in partnership with The Bancroft Library at the University of California Berkeley, we launched the NWP Archives project to ensure preservation and accessibility of NWP organizational records, publications, and resources, including more than 100 oral history interviews from founding Writing Project site directors, scholars, teacher-leaders, and funders. The NWP Archives provide a rich resource for all who are interested in the history of professional development in literacy—and, in particular, composition and rhetoric—and the role of teacher leadership and professionalization in the United States, as well as the spread of the NWP model to a range of international locations.
This project was entirely funded by contributions from NWP leaders, supporters, and friends, who helped raise $100,000 for this effort. Through this effort, we ensure that the history of the early educators who built NWP is preserved for generations.
The NWP Archive officially opened to researchers in 2017, and a special exhibit, Teachers at the Center: The Story of the National Writing Project, was on display in the Rowell Cases at The Bancroft Library from April 17–September 1, 2017.
You are welcome to visit the NWP Archive at the Bancroft Library when the library is open. You can also learn more about the collection and request items here.