Annual Report, 2010-2011

Two years following our initial Civic Partnership and Planning Workshop for The Encyclopedia of Greater Philadelphia project in April 2009, we offer the following update on our activities.  Over the past year, we have achieved greater visibility and success in public programming, we have generated new essays for online publication and comment, and we have continued to create a vision for a comprehensive digital information resource for Greater Philadelphia. We continue to face the challenge of raising funds for this project in difficult economic times.

Institutional Home at Rutgers-Camden

During the summer of 2010, we established a home base for the project at the Mid-Atlantic Regional Center for the Humanities (MARCH) at Rutgers-Camden.  With Encyclopedia editors Charlene Mires as director of the Center and Howard Gillette as immediate past director, this institutional home provides a number of advantages.  At Rutgers-Camden, we have the opportunity for collaboration with other initiatives, including an Urban Research Center that will be established in 2011-12.  We have had the assistance of the Rutgers University Foundation in developing a fund-raising strategy and other professional staff in submitting grant proposals and drafting legal documents.  We have office space, and it is anticipated this will expand with a move to another campus location during 2011-12. Our web site is now hosted at Rutgers-Camden, which has improved its functionality.

The Greater Philadelphia Roundtable

Our most visible activity over the last year has been our series of public discussion programs known as the Greater Philadelphia Roundtable, organized in partnership with the Historical Society of Pennsylvania and funded by the Pennsylvania Humanities Council.  During a series of pilot programs during the spring of 2010, nearly 400 people attended panel discussions held at the Historical Society of Pennsylvania, the William Way Community Center, the Academy of Natural Sciences, and the African American Museum in Philadelphia. With a new grant awarded for 2011-12, the series has expanded to new partners and now includes an essay commissioned for each program and published in the Philadelphia Inquirer and on WHYY’s web site.  These essays also form an important content layer in the digital encyclopedia.   The discussion programs aid our goals for civic engagement by inviting public suggestions for the encyclopedia and building a community of interest in Philadelphia’s history.  Summaries of the programs are posted on our web site:

Education Initiatives

In connection with the roundtable programs, and with the leadership of Beth Twiss-Houting at the Historical Society of Pennsylvania, a committee of our civic partners is organizing a series of teachers workshops building upon the themes of the discussion programs.  The first of these will be held on June 23, 2011, another in the fall, and a third during the spring of 2012, with possibly a summer institute to follow. Teachers who attend the evening discussion programs also are eligible for Act 48 continuing education credit. Our civic partners participating in this effort include the Philadelphia History Museum at the Atwater Kent, the National Constitution Center, and Independence National Historical Park.  Thanks also to Stevie Wolf of the editorial board and volunteer Helen Grady.

New Sample Content

With the support of the University of Pennsylvania Press, we have commissioned sample essays to display on our web site.  In addition to essays associated with the Greater Philadelphia roundtable, additions over the last year have included a featured essay about the Liberty Bell by Gary Nash; an essay on the Italian Market by Helen Tangires; and a series on epidemics and public health coordinated by Randall Miller. Additional essays are forthcoming that respond to suggestions made during our roundtable programs.  We also have revised and improved existing essays based on public comments posted on the web site, and we continue to expand and update our bibliographic survey of Philadelphia scholarship published since 1982.

Augmented Reality Project

We were pleased to participate in an “augmented reality” technology project for the Philadelphia Department of Records and With a Digital Humanities Start-Up Grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the software company Azavea Inc. developed a cell phone application that enables users to view historical photographs keyed to the user’s location in the city. A subset of the photographs include text coordinated by the Encyclopedia editors, who commissioned Rutgers-Camden graduate Doreen Skala to research and write the text.  Another outcome of this project is an agreement to link photographs on with corresponding content on the Encyclopedia’s web site.

Advisers and Editors

As with any long-term project, our team of project advisers and editors continues to grow as well as change. During the last year, and we have welcomed important new partners to our Civic Advisory Board, including the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Friends of Laurel Hill Cemetery, and the Association of Philadelphia Tourguides. We thank these new civic partners for the contributions they already are making to our roundtable series.  We are also grateful for the service of our editors and advisers as well as the Digital Task Force formed last year.  They are listed below.



We continue to meet with greatest success with in-kind support and funds for programs, and less in seeking funding for content or technology.  Over the last year, our greatest support has come from the Pennsylvania Humanities Council, which awarded the grant supporting the Greater Philadelphia Roundtable project to our partner, the Historical Society of Pennsylvania.  We also have funding for sample essays and our bibliography project from the University of Pennsylvania Press. Many partners have helped with donations of space, publicity, staff time, or receptions for the Greater Philadelphia Roundtable.  However, we were unsuccessful with our most recent application to the National Endowment for the Humanities. In recent months, the Rutgers University Foundation has aided our fund-raising effort by developing a case statement for the project and making inquiries for private foundation support.

We are grateful to the many, many partners and volunteers whose commitment helps to demonstrate the public need and value of our project.

Charlene Mires, Rutgers University-Camden
Howard Gillette, Rutgers University-Camden
Randall Miller, St. Joseph’s University
Consulting Editors:
Gary Nash, UCLA
Emma Lapsansky-Werner, Haverford College

Steering Committee
The Editors and Consulting Editors
Tamara Gaskell, Historical Society of Pennsylvania
Robert Lockhart, University of Pennsylvania Press
Derick Dreher, Philadelphia Consortium of Special Collections Libraries

Associate Editors
Carolyn Adams, Temple University
Richard Dilworth, Drexel University
Tamara Gaskell, Historical Society of Pennsylvania
Guian McKee, Miller Center of Public Affairs, University of Virginia
Richard Newman, Rochester Institute of Technology
Daniel Richter, McNeil Center for Early American Studies, University of Pennsylvania
Philip Scranton, Rutgers University-Camden
George Thomas, University of Pennsylvania
Domenic Vitiello, University of Pennsylvania
Kathryn Wilson, Georgia State University
Stephanie Grauman Wolf, McNeil Center for Early American Studies, University of Pennsylvania
Rebecca Yamin, John Milner Associates

Technical, Editorial, and Educational Advisers
Eugenie Birch, University of Pennsylvania
Martha Brogan, University of Pennsylvania
Charles Hardy, West Chester University
Amy Hillier, University of Pennsylvania
Margaret Jerrido, Archival Consultant
Alexis Moore, American Friends Service Committee
Lori Shorr, City of Philadelphia

Civic Advisory Board
African American Museum in Philadelphia
American Philosophical Society
Association of Philadelphia Tourguides
Athenaeum of Philadelphia
Avenging the Ancestors Coalition
City of Philadelphia Mural Arts Program
City of Philadelphia Department of Records
Eastern State Penitentiary Historic Site
Economy League of Greater Philadelphia
Fels Institute of Government
Foundations of the Union League
Free Library of Philadelphia
Friends of Laurel Hill Cemetery
Greater Philadelphia Tourism and Marketing Corporation
Historic Germantown
Historical Society of Pennsylvania / Philaplace
Independence Hall Association /
Independence National Historical Park
Independence Seaport Museum
International Visitors Council
Library Company of Philadelphia
Mid-Atlantic Regional Center for the Humanities
National Archives – Mid-Atlantic Region
National Constitution Center
National Museum of American Jewish History
Philadelphia Area Consortium of Special Collections Libraries
Philadelphia History Museum at the Atwater Kent
Philadelphia Museum of Art
Preservation Alliance of Greater Philadelphia
Young Involved Philadelphia

Digital Task Force
Ray Frohlich, Historical Society of Pennsylvania, chair
Robert Cheetham, Azavea Inc.
Elliott Shore, Bryn Mawr College
Robert Allen, Drexel University
Charles Hardy,
Walter Rice Jr., Greater Philadelphia Geohistory Network
Bruce Laverty, Greater Philadelphia Geohistory Network/ Athenaeum of Philadelphia
Patricia Washington, Greater Philadelphia Tourism and Marketing Corporation
Tamara Gaskell, Historical Society of Pennsylvania
Carolyn Adams, Philadelphia Metropolitan Indicators Project
Joan Decker, Philadelphia Department of Records /
Elizabeth Nash, The Reinvestment Fund / Policymap
Martha Brogan, University of Pennsylvania
Amy Hillier, University of Pennsylvania
David McKnight, University of Pennsylvania
Robert Lockhart, University of Pennsylvania Press

Program Assistant for the Greater Philadelphia Roundtable
Nicole Mahoney

Greater Philadelphia Roundtable Panelists and Moderators (through April 2011)

Ariel Ben-Amos, Young Involved Philadelphia
David Canton, Connecticut College
Michael Coard, Avenging the Ancestors Coalition
Spencer Finch, Pennsylvania Environmental Council
Tuomi Forrest, Partners for Sacred Places
Maris Gillette, Haverford College
Stephen Glassman, Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission
Kali Gross, Drexel University
Jethro Heiko, The Action Mill
William Hewitt, West Chester University
Margaret Jerrido, Independent Archival Consultant
Scott Knowles, Drexel University
Cindy Little, Philadelphia History Museum
Randall Miller, St. Joseph’s University
Alexis Moore, American Friends Service Committee
Kris Myers, Alice Paul Institute
Kathy Padilla
Marion Roydhouse, Philadelphia University
Chris Satullo, WHYY
Craig Schelter, Schelter & Associates
Stacey Sobel, Western State University
Jean Soderlund, Lehigh University
Harris Steinberg, Penn Praxis
George Stern, Neighborhood Interfaith Movement
Emma Lapsansky Werner, Haverford College
Michael P. Williams, City of Philadelphia Law Department

Greater Philadelphia Roundtable: Volunteer Program Assistants and Discussion Leaders (through April 2011)

Carol Garrett
Howard Gillette
Helen Grady
Francis Hoeber
Margaret Jerrido
Gerry Johnson
Melissa Mandell
Fran Ryan
J. Paul Sank
Rebecca Yamin

Greater Philadelphia Roundtable: Program Co-Sponsors (through April 2011, in addition to members of the Civic Advisory Board)

Academy of Natural Sciences Center for Environmental Policy
American Friends Service Committee
Attic Youth Center
Drexel University Africana Studies
Drexel University Great Works Symposium
Drexel University Public Health LGBT Program
Equality Forum
Friends of Independence
Gender Rights Association of New Jersey
International Foundation for Gender Education
Mayor of Philadelphia’s Office of LGBT Affairs
Mazzoni Center
Neighborhood Interfaith Movement
New Century Trust
New Jersey Stonewall
Partners for Sacred Places
Penn Praxis
Philadelphia Gay News
Philadelphia Media Network
Philadelphia University School of Liberal Arts
Philly Gay Pride
Queer Times
WHYY / Newsworks
and additional individuals

Please also visit the “Nominate a Topic” link on our web site to view 126 submissions from the public.

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