About This Project

The Encyclopedia of Greater Philadelphia is a civic project to increase understanding of one of America’s greatest cities. Based at the Mid-Atlantic Regional Center for the Humanities (MARCH) at Rutgers-Camden, the encyclopedia project builds from a foundation of civic engagement and brings the work of leading and emerging scholars to a wide general audience. From abolition and the American Revolution to yellow fever and zoning (with cheesesteaks, rowhouses, and hundreds of other topics in between), the digital Encyclopedia and its print volumes will offer the most comprehensive, authoritative reference source ever created for the Philadelphia region.

  • Readers will discover the origins and history of this dynamic city and its connections with its nearby neighbors, the nation, and the world.
  • Residents of the Delaware Valley will see how their experiences combine to create the vitality of social, cultural, economic, and political life.
  • Students, teachers, and community organizations will have ready access to reliable information, and policy-makers will find the lessons of the past that are necessary for charting the future.

With lively and informed essays, original maps, and new research on topics of current interest, The Encyclopedia of Greater Philadelphia will create a legacy of understanding for generations to come.


We seek to understand Greater Philadelphia.
The Encyclopedia will be attentive to ways that Philadelphia is distinctive as well as its connections and relationships with the region, the nation, and the world.

We will situate Philadelphia at the hinge between its past and future.
The Encyclopedia will encompass history but also will be forward-looking in ways that are useful to citizens and policy-makers.

We strive to build community.
The Encyclopedia will create linkages between particulars (such as neighborhoods and ethnic identities) and patterns (such as urban development and immigration).

We seek to animate the Philadelphia experience.
The Encyclopedia will be lively as well as informative. Attention will be paid to significant individuals, institutions, and groups that have had impact on the city and region. Emphasis will be placed on the alliances, tensions, and dynamics that make the city work.

We will construct content from multiple ways of knowing.
Contributors will build new knowledge from a variety of sources including texts, visual sources, and artifacts.

We will provide an authoritative reference source.
The Encyclopedia will adhere to the highest standards of scholarship and undergo rigorous review and fact-checking.

We recognize that new knowledge is created both inside and outside the academy.
The Encyclopedia will build upon the foundation of public history and policy work as well as published scholarship.  We invite public input and scrutiny.

We are creating a legacy.


Read more about the Encyclopedia project in Cross-Ties, the newsletter of the Mid-Atlantic Regional Center for the Humanities.

We continue to welcome public nominations of topics.  Please use the “Nominate a Topic” link on this page.


Connecting the Past with the Present, Building Community, Creating a Legacy