New Film: The Work and Legacy of W.E.B. DuBois

We’re pleased to call attention to a new documentary produced by area high school and college students under the direction of one of the Encyclopedia project’s advisers, Professor Amy Hillier at the University of Pennsylvania.  Legacy of Courage: W.E.B. DuBois and The Philadelphia Negro, was created as part of the Mapping DuBois Project.

Legacy of Courage: W.E.B. Du Bois and The Philadelphia Negro from Amy Hillier on Vimeo.

New Opportunities for Teachers

We’re so pleased that the Encyclopedia project has sparked a series of extraordinary workshops for Philadelphia-area educators.  Please add these to your calendar and register now:

  • City of Neighborhoods, April 17, 4-6:30 p.m., a free workshop at the Philadelphia History Museum at the Atwater Kent.  Click here for more information and registration.
  • A Summer Teacher Institute!  During July, the Encyclopedia team together with our education consortium of civic partners, will offer “Philadelphia for Teachers,” a week-long institute for graduate credit.  In addition to an immersion in Philadelphia history, teachers will have the opportunity to research and write their own Encyclopedia-style essays, which may be considered for publication.  Click here for more information and registration.  Download a flyer for posting (PDF): Click here.

These opportunities are created by our education consortium, including the Historical Society of Pennsylvania, the Philadelphia History Museum at the Atwater Kent, the National Archives in Philadelphia, the National Constitution Center, and Independence National Historical Park.  Thank you very much!

New Program Series Explores Civil Rights Struggles

To commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Thirteenth Amendment and the abolition of slavery, local cultural institutions will host screenings of clips from Created Equal: America’s Civil Rights Struggle.  The African American Museum in Philadelphia (AAMP), Historical Society of Pennsylvania (HSP), the National Constitution Center (NCC), and the Philadelphia History Museum (PHM) have also developed programming using these video clips to launch larger explorations of whether or not equality is ensured with the passage of new laws or amendments.  For details about these free events, which are co-sponsored by The Encyclopedia of Greater Philadelphia, please visit our events page.

These four documentaries feature riveting new footage illustrating the history of civil rights in America. Each film tells remarkable stories of individuals who challenged the social and legal status quo of deeply rooted institutions, from slavery to segregation. AbolitionistsSlavery by Another NameThe Loving Story, and Freedom Riders include dramatic scenes of incidents in the 150-year effort to achieve equal rights for all. Presentations and discussions featured in the AAMP, HSP, NCC, and PHM programs will focus on the specific themes and subjects of the documentary series.

“We are thankful to the NEH and Gilder Lehrman Institute for the ability to bring these programs to Philadelphia. It is an opportune time to be having these conversations,” said Beth Twiss Houting, HSP’s Senior Director of Programs and Services.

Educators will also be able to receive ACT 48/CEU credits at each Created Equal? event. A teacher workshop on February 28 will also focus on civil rights struggles.

The Created Equal film set and public programs have been made possible by a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, as part of its Bridging Cultures initiative, in partnership with the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History.

Created Equal: America’s Civil Rights Struggle is made possible through a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, as part of its Bridging Cultures initiative, in partnership with the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History.

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.

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!


On the Trail: A History of American Hiking — New Book by Encyclopedia Contributor

We are pleased to share the news of a new book by Silas Chamberlin, author of the essay about recreational trails in The Encyclopedia of Greater Philadelphia.  His book, On the Trail: A History of American Hiking, is a history of American hikers and their role in creating the nation’s trail system.  According to Yale University Press:

Cover of the book On the TrailIn the mid-nineteenth century urban walking clubs emerged in the United States. A little more than a century later, tens of millions of Americans were hiking on trails blazed in every region of the country. This groundbreaking book is the first full account of the unique history of the American hiking community and its rich, nationwide culture.

Delving into unexplored archives, including those of the Appalachian Mountain Club, Sierra Club, Green Mountain Club, and many others, Silas Chamberlin recounts the activities of hikers who over many decades formed clubs, built trails, and advocated for environmental protection. He also discusses the shifting attitudes of the late 1960s and early 1970s when ideas about traditional volunteerism shifted and new hikers came to see trail blazing and maintenance as government responsibilities. Chamberlin explores the implications for hiking groups, future club leaders, and the millions of others who find happiness, inspiration, and better health on America’s trails.

Chamberlin will discuss and sign his book at the Penn Book Center, 130 S. Thirty-Fourth Street, Philadelphia, on Thursday, December 8, at 6:30 p.m.  For more information, link here.

One Year Later

It’s been a busy year since we launched the Encyclopedia project with a Civic Partnership and Planning Workshop in April 2009.  To summarize our progress and challenges, we have prepared a brief annual report.  Thanks to all of our partners and the new friends we are making at branch libraries and through the Greater Philadelphia Roundtable.  Please continue to add to these discussions on our Events page and join us for our additional programs this spring.

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.

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