Encyclopedia of Greater Philadelphia


Top Ten Topics of 2020

Happy new year!  Our most-read topics for 2020 reflect a year of pandemic, unrest, stay-at-home learning, and searches for family connections:

10. Orphanages and Orphans, by Holly Caldwell.

9. Nativist Riots of 1844, by Zachary M. Schrag.

8. Yellow Fever, by Simon Finger.

7. Columbia Avenue Riot, by Alex Elkins.

6. Immigration and Migration (Colonial Era), by Marie Basile McDaniel.

5. Murder of Octavius Catto, by Aaron X. Smith.

4. I'd Rather Be in Philadelphia, by Charlene Mires.

3. Row Houses, by Amanda Casper.

2. Native American-Pennsylvania Relations, 1754-89, by Timothy J. Shannon.

And the most-read topic for 2020 is, no surprise here:

Influenza ("Spanish Flu" Pandemic, 1918-19), by Thomas Wirth.

Have a happy and healthy new year, and thank you for your interest and support of The Encyclopedia of Greater Philadelphia.

Update: Our Website Functions

Frequent users of The Encyclopedia of Greater Philadelphia may notice that some features of our website are unavailable or not working properly.  The website is undergoing review and maintenance to improve functions and security, so thank you for your patience.  You will still be able to read the text for all topics.

If you wish to reach other features, such as texts in image galleries, you may be able to access them through the copy of the website in the Internet Archive Wayback Machine:


Top Ten Topics for 2019

Happy new year! Join our most frequent users by visiting the top ten most-read topics in The Encyclopedia of Greater Philadelphia during 2019:

10. Broad Street Bullies, by Karen Guenther

9. Immigration 1870-1930, by Barbara Klaczynska

8. Yellow Fever, by Simon Finger

7. Native American-Pennsylvania Relations, 1681-1753, by Michael Goode

6. March of the Mill Children, by Gail Friedman

5. Boxing and Boxers, by Matthew Ward

4. Immigration and Migration (Colonial Era), by Marie Basile McDaniel

3. Row Houses, by Amanda Casper

2. Medicine (Colonial Era), by Martha K. Robinson

And the most-read topic for 2019 is ...

1. Native America-Pennsylvania Relations, 1754-89, by Timothy J. Shannon

Thank you for reading, and watch for more new topics in 2020!

Milestone: 650 Topics Published

We're pleased to announce that The Encyclopedia of Greater Philadelphia has reached a new milestone of 650 topics published online. The 650th topic, published on December 27, 2019, is Turnpikes, written by the encyclopedia's Editor in Chief, Charlene Mires.

Our publishing during 2019 was supported by generous contributions by individual donors, including those who gave during our annual one-day fund-raiser on Rutgers Giving Day. Watch for your next opportunity to contribute on March 25, 2020--the next Rutgers Giving Day--or add your support any time by using the link on our home page. Thank you!

New: Teaching With The Encyclopedia of Greater Philadelphia

We have learned a great deal from the students and educators who have turned to The Encyclopedia of Greater Philadelphia to explore local, regional, and United States history. In return, we now offer a brief guide, Teaching With The Encyclopedia of Greater Philadelphia. The guide offers assignment tips, outlines correlations between encyclopedia essays and typical textbook chapters, and includes a digital scavenger hunt activity for introducing students to The Encyclopedia of Greater Philadelphia.

Link to download the PDF document -- and please share your ideas for the next edition!


Call for Authors: 2019-20

During 2019-20, our goal is to complete the remaining priority topics for the The Encyclopedia of Greater Philadelphia, which is nearly 600 topics strong and growing. Writing for The Encyclopedia adds to an unparalleled public information source for the region and establishes authors as the go-to authorities on their subjects. This year’s assignments will help to complete important subject categories.

To view available assignments, link here for the list of topics.

To join more than 350 leading and emerging scholars who have already contributed to this peer-reviewed, digital-first project, let us know your choice of topics and choice of deadline from summer through early fall. Prospective authors must have expertise in their chosen subjects demonstrated by previous publications and/or advanced training in historical research. The scope of the project includes the city of Philadelphia and the surrounding region of southeastern Pennsylvania, South Jersey, and northern Delaware. 

To express interest, please send an email describing your qualifications and specifying topics of interest to co-editor Howard Gillette, email hfg@scarletmail.rutgers.edu. No attachments, please. Graduate students, please include the name and email address of an academic reference.


Guidelines for writers and editors:

Roster of authors:

Editors and staff:

An Invitation: Support Scholarship,
Build Community, Create a Legacy

Thank you, everyone who supported our successful one-day fund-raiser on Rutgers Giving Day.  Your support will enable us to continue to employ students as fact-checkers and digital publishing assistants, so that The Encyclopedia of Greater Philadelphia can continue to grow.

If you missed the opportunity or wish to encourage others to give, please link here to add your support: Make a gift today.

●     $15 employs one student for one hour of research assistance or digital publishing.

●     $30 pays for fact-checking one new essay.

●     $90 pays for building one new topic page.

●     $150 employs one student for one ten-hour work week.

●     $2,100 employs one student for one semester.

Additional anticipated needs include a temporary expansion of professional staff during 2020 (estimated $10,000 to $15,000) and website repair and redesign (estimated $50,000 to $100,000).

Thank you for helping us continue producing original scholarship and supporting the history practitioners of the future.

Return of the Greater Philadelphia Roundtable

Many will recall the program series that launched The Encyclopedia of Greater Philadelphia -- the Greater Philadelphia Roundtable. This spring we are pleased to again invite you to a series of conversations about our region's history and contemporary issues.

Sanctuaries: Past Into Present

Throughout American history, people have come to the Philadelphia region seeking opportunity, while others have been fleeing persecution, and still others have been forced here in chains. When have these migrants been granted the right to feel safe, and when have they been denied safety? How do we come to grips with our country’s contradictory history of celebrating the diversity these many migrations produced, while denying rights to many?

This spring, join friends and neighbors for a series of free public seminars across greater Philadelphia. Learn from local experts about Philadelphia’s immigration and migration history, hear from activists working in the region now, and grapple with how our complicated histories shape today’s social and political landscape.

In Search of the Underground Railroad: Connecting People, Places, and Things
April 2, 2019
Pop-Up Exhibits at 6 p.m., Lecture at 7 p.m.
Rutgers-Camden Campus Center
Featuring archaeologist Cheryl LaRoche and community partners.

Discover how historians and archaeologists connect people, places, and things to better understand the lives of enslaved people who sought sanctuary with the Underground Railroad. Link for further information and registration.

Sanctuary Now, Sanctuary When?
April 23, 2019, 6 p.m.
Arch Street Meeting House
320 Arch Street, Philadelphia
Featuring Domenic Vitiello (University of Pennsylvania) and Blanca Pacheco (New Sanctuary Movement)

Learn how the idea of “sanctuary” became part of immigration justice lexicon in the United States and what we can all learn from the experiences of refugees and activists, past and present. Link for further information and registration.

Sanctuary in Sickness, Sanctuary in Health
June 4, 2019, 6 p.m.
Philadelphia Lazaretto
Second Street and Wanamaker Avenue, Essington, Pa.
Featuring David Barnes (University of Pennsylvania)

Explore the Philadelphia Lazaretto, discover the critical role it played in Philadelphia’s immigration history, and contemplate the past, present, and future of health care for our most vulnerable. Link for further information and registration.

Sanctuaries: Past into Present is a Greater Philadelphia Roundtable program series of The Encyclopedia of Greater Philadelphia, produced at the Mid-Atlantic Regional Center for the Humanities (MARCH) at Rutgers-Camden. "In Search of the Underground Railroad" is supported by the Office of the Chancellor at Rutgers-Camden and co-sponsored by the following departments and programs: History, Africana Studies, Liberal Studies, and Forensic Science.

Encyclopedia’s Expert on Root Beer History Featured in Segment on 6ABC

The author of our essay about root beer, Theresa Altieri Taplin, has been interviewed for a segment on 6ABC about a new root beer float offered by Bassett's Ice Cream at the Reading Terminal Market. Watch the segment here, and prepare to be hungry!

Thank You for Supporting the Encyclopedia Builders!

On March 21 during Rutgers Giving Day, scholars, students, community members, and staff came together to support The Encyclopedia of Greater Philadelphia, produced by the Mid-Atlantic Regional Center for the Humanities (MARCH) at Rutgers-Camden.

The dedication of all who donated and promoted our cause through social media is truly inspiring. Your generous contributions will be used to employ the students who help to make digital publication of The Encyclopedia possible. Keep an eye on our website or like us on Facebook to watch our essay collection grow!

We are so grateful for the opportunity to continue producing original scholarship and making it accessible to readers like you. Thank you!

P.S. Missed your chance to donate on Giving Day? Make a gift to support The Encyclopedia today!

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