Encyclopedia of Greater Philadelphia

News

Welcome to the Team

As The Encyclopedia of Greater Philadelphia expands, so does our team of editors. We are pleased to welcome the following colleagues, whose work you will begin to see in the Encyclopedia over the next several months:

  • Donald D. Groff, a veteran journalist, is our new managing editor.
  • Tyler Hoffman, Professor of English at Rutgers-Camden, is an associate editor who will oversee topics related to literature and theater.
  • Jean Soderlund, Professor of History at Lehigh University, is associate editor for early American topics up to 1800.
  • Roger Turner, Associate Fellow at Dickinson College, is associate editor for topics in the areas of science, technology and medicine.

The expertise and talents of these individuals undoubtedly will enrich The Encyclopedia of Greater Philadelphia in many ways as the project continues to grow. Welcome to the team!

New Support from The Mayor’s Fund for Philadelphia, Poor Richard’s Charitable Trust

We are pleased to announce new financial support for The Encyclopedia of Greater Philadelphia project.  From The Mayor's Fund for Philadelphia, the project has received a grant of $25,000. In addition, Poor Richard's Charitable Trust has contributed $2,500.  These much-needed awards will help us to continue to expand the Encyclopedia's content, especially in ways that serve the needs of the region's students and teachers. We extend our thanks to these valued partners as we continue fund-raising efforts among individuals, corporations, and foundations.

Call for Contributors: Summer 2014

The Encyclopedia of Greater Philadelphia seeks authors for its next phase of expansion. A wide range of topics is available, including subtopics related to communications, transportation, business and industry, the built environment, civil rights, literary works, holiday traditions, and key events in the region’s history. The scope of the project includes the city of Philadelphia and the surrounding region of southeastern Pennsylvania, South Jersey, and northern Delaware.

Prospective authors must have expertise in their chosen subjects demonstrated by previous publications and/or advanced training in historical research. Authors will have the option of volunteering or receiving modest stipends, and all submissions will be peer-reviewed. Deadlines will be set in consultation with authors; it is expected that most will range from end of summer to the end of 2014. To express interest, please send an email describing your qualifications and specifying topics of interest to the editor-in-chief, Charlene Mires, cmires@camden.rutgers.edu. No attachments, please. Graduate students, please include the name and email address of an academic reference.

Guidelines for writers are available online:

http://philadelphiaencyclopedia.org/about/guidelines-for-writers/


(Readers on the Encyclopedia blog, click here to see the list of topics.)

  Read More »

Support from Rutgers-Camden Digital Studies Center

We're pleased to share the news of new support for The Encyclopedia of Greater Philadelphia project from the Digital Studies Center at Rutgers-Camden. This grant will allow us to improve and expand our bibliographic survey by migrating it to Zotero, a platform that will make the citations more user-friendly and accessible to the public. Watch our Sources page for this transformation by the end of the summer.

Inga Saffron wins Pulitzer Prize for criticism

Congratulations to Inga Saffron of The Philadelphia Inquirer, who is the 2014 recipient of the Pulitzer Prize for criticism. Inga helped us launch the Encyclopedia with her theme essay on "Green Country Town," which now anchors our growing coverage of topics related to the natural and built environment.

From Our Authors: New Book Examines the Story of Intentional Integration in West Mount Airy

Perkiss-bookJust published by Cornell University Press is Making Good Neighbors: Civil Rights, Liberalism, and Integration in Postwar Philadelphia, by Abigail Perkiss.  In addition to teaching history at Kean University, Perkiss lives in West Mount Airy and is the author of our essay on Northwest Philadelphia.

Here is the publisher's description of the book:

In the 1950s and 1960s, as the white residents, real estate agents, and municipal officials of many American cities fought to keep African Americans out of traditionally white neighborhoods, Philadelphia's West Mount Airy became one of the first neighborhoods in the nation where residents came together around a community-wide mission toward intentional integration. As West Mount Airy experienced transition, homeowners fought economic and legal policies that encouraged white flight and threatened the quality of local schools, seeking to find an alternative to racial separation without knowing what they would create in its place. In Making Good Neighbors, Abigail Perkiss tells the remarkable story of West Mount Airy, drawing on archival research and her oral history interviews with residents to trace their efforts, which began in the years following World War II and continued through the turn of the century.

The organizing principles of neighborhood groups like the West Mount Airy Neighbors Association (WMAN) were fundamentally liberal and emphasized democracy, equality, and justice; the social, cultural, and economic values of these groups were also decidedly grounded in middle-class ideals and white-collar professionalism. As Perkiss shows, this liberal, middle-class framework would ultimately become contested by more militant black activists and within WMAN itself, as community leaders worked to adapt and respond to the changing racial landscape of the 1960s and 1970s. The West Mount Airy case stands apart from other experiments in integration because of the intentional,organized, and long-term commitment on the part of WMAN to biracial integration and, in time, multiracial and multiethnic diversity. The efforts of residents in the 1950s and 1960s helped to define the neighborhood as it exists today.

Follow Our Project on Facebook

The Encyclopedia of Greater Philadelphia on Facebook offers an additional opportunity to follow new topics, join in discussion, and learn about our writers, editors, and civic partners. Link here to like us! Thanks to our digital media assistant Scott Hearn for creating our page as well as for managing our new Backgrounders feature and the Backgrounders Twitter feed.

National Endowment for the Humanities
Awards Two-Year Grant for the
Encyclopedia of Greater Philadelphia

Our project reached an important milestone this week with the awarding of a two-year, $300,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities. We are so grateful to the many organizations and individuals who have brought our project to this point: more than thirty partner organizations, more than 150 authors and editors, our digital publishing team and colleagues at our home base at Rutgers-Camden, and of course the users of the encyclopedia who attend our events, offer valuable suggestions, and use this resource every day. The NEH funds will support the next two-year period of accelerated content development, especially topics that span the Greater Philadelphia region.  Check the site often and watch us grow!

News release by Rutgers-Camden

Our Enhanced Digital Platform

Example of map page: South PhiladelphiaWelcome to the newly enhanced Encyclopedia of Greater Philadelphia! As you explore our website, you will discover an array of new features and pathways for exploring our growing project. This enhanced digital platform builds upon suggestions from our users and partners, and it will allow us to continue to expand and take greater advantage of the capabilities of digital publishing.  Take a look around!

Browse by geography. Explore topics through maps of sections of Philadelphia and counties in the region.

Browse by time period. Go to the timeline and link to any of our nine time periods. For each, you'll find related topics as well as a more detailed timeline, an image gallery, topics on a map, links, and a related reading list.

Image of Encyclopedia Home PageConnect headlines and history. We have partnered with WHYY NewsWorks to make connections with the news through the Backgrounders feature on our home page and on individual topic pages.

Enhanced topic pages. We have improved our design and added links to additional digital resources so that each essay serves as a topical hub to resources throughout the region.

New theme pages.  Our featured essays on themes such as "City of Brotherly Love" and "Workshop of the World" now have an enhanced presence on pages that also feature related topics, timelines, maps, and image galleries.

Author index. At a glance, this page displays biographical information about our authors and provides links to their essays.

Greater coverage. With the addition of timelines for themes and time periods, we provide a more comprehensive chronology of the region.

Greater accessibility. We have sharpened our typography to make the text more readable for individuals with low vision, and we have implemented other accessibility features.

More to come. Our site also enables browsing through artifacts, and we are working with the Philadelphia History Museum to add objects using virtual-reality photography.  Also watch for additional maps and, of course, more topics as we continue to build The Encyclopedia of Greater Philadelphia. For all of this, we extend thanks for the participation of our users and partners and for the work of our digital publishing team. Implementation of the enhanced website, created in partnership with the Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media at George Mason University, was made possible by a generous grant from the William Penn Foundation to the Mid-Atlantic Regional Center for the Humanities (the institutional home of the Encyclopedia). Concept designs, funded by a planning grant to the University of Pennsylvania Press by the Barra Foundation, were created by Brian T. Jacobs with input from participants in THATCamp Philly.

Whither the Downtown Department Store?

Readers who may have found David Sullivan's essay on the history of department stores in Philadelphia of interest may well want to read a recent essay on the subject in Next City.   With downtown booming, we might well expect to hold on to the one remaining standalone store, but even that prospect can not be assured.

Share This Page: