Nominate A Topic

What would you like to know about Philadelphia and its history? Nominate a topic and tell us why you’d like to see it in The Encyclopedia of Greater Philadelphia. To submit your ideas to the editors, simply scroll to the bottom of this page.

240 thoughts on “Nominate A Topic

  1. I would like to know more about the scarlet fever epidemic of the 1940s. Now that we are going through the corona virus in 2020, it seems that there is a lot of things similar but they have not been mentioned.

  2. Founded in old city in 1998, Media Bureau Inc. was the first company to put political debates online in 1999. It has become an epicenter for media and culture. This was an important at the time because nobody else was willing to do it and it ushered in a grassroots technological capability accessible to the masses. This independent company now produces the Philadelphia Independent Film Festival, going on its 14th year. Its innovation, activism, and mission in seeing technology put into the hands of the people, is not lost on the fact that it was founded in old city Philadelphia. It has always looked towards the ideals of bringing (global) citizens into the dialogue. Philadelphia is a unique place for an original idea like Media Bureau.

  3. I would like to see images of all that existed at Center Square before City Hall. I saw a picture of Philadelphia Water Works and also Broad Street Station but would be interested in dates and anything else that was there before that. I’m not sure if the station was on the exact same piece of real estate.

  4. I would like to know history of Panama Street, why it is called Rue of Panama and specifically the 1900 block.

  5. Early immigration of HENDERSON, mainly Charles, David, John- Charles transported in 1747 from Angus, Scotland, a servant.

  6. I would like to know about the slaves that are buried along the wall at Trinity Oxford Church on Oxford & Longshore Avenues. They are unmarked graves. There is a stone at the entrance to the cemetery that says “Free at Last” and I was told that some neighborhood people were upset that the stone was put there. I believe there is a historical story to be told here and I would like to learn what it is. There is no mention of these slaves in any article relating to the Trinity Church, which, by the way is one of the oldest churches in the county, built in 1695. If anything, how can I research this?

  7. I would love to see an entry on Bayard Rustin. He is mentioned in some articles, but there is much more to his life than is written here.

  8. Definitely need an entry on the Pennsylvania Museum and School of Industrial Art, a consequence of the 1876 Centennial and now the Philadelphia Museum of Art (the museum) and the University of the Arts (the school). Founded as one institution, it’s a history not popularly known.

  9. Having recently volunteered to update the website of the African American Genealogy Group of Philadelphia, I was searching for a photograph a founder “Stan Arnold” when I stumbled on to your website. Though I found an article here co-authored by Philadelphia native “Stanley Keith Arnold” of Northern Illinois University, I am not able to confirm through my search that he has or had any association with AAGG of Philadelphia.

    My hope is that the authors of this blog “The Encyclopedia of Greater Philadelphia” might be able to offer assistance in determining whether your “Stanley Keith Arnold” and our “Stan Arnold” are the same person. It may also be of interest to include an article about our group in your encyclopedia, as my brief search did not reveal such a reference. The “Website” I include above will serve as a source.

  10. I have heard calls to rename Taney Street in the Fairmount area. It seem to be presumed that the street was named for Supreme Court Chief Justice Roger B. Taney, a Jacksonian Democrat who authored the Court’s notorious Dred Scott decision. If the street was indeed named for Justice Taney — who had no real connection to Philadelphia — as a symbolic endorsement of Dred Scott and as a sort of finger in the eye of abolitionism or of Reconstruction, then the perpetuation of the street name is the Philadelphia equivalent of a Confederate Memorial. But that depends on when and why the street actually received its name. I have seen nothing addressing these questions in a serious, evidence-based way. This is a subject for a historian to research and address. Anyone associated with the EGP want to take it on?
    – Peter Goldberger, Ardmore

  11. I would like to see a biographical entry on Benjamin Rush, cross linked to other relevant essays in the Encyclopedia. I would especially like to see something that addresses Rush’s contributions to anti-slavery activism, and his connections with Quaker anti-slavery, eg. Anthony Benezet.

    I ask my students to analyze Rush’s 1773 anti-slavery tract (anthologized in Lubert, Hardwick, and Hammond, THE AMERICAN DEBATE OVER SLAVERY, 1760-1865), and regularly direct them to your encyclopedia to research the document’s context.

    All best wishes,
    Kevin R. Hardwick
    James Madison University

  12. Intensity and frequency of Irish and Italian unrest in Philly

    Prohibition and gangland life in Philly, including notable shootouts, murders, raids, and locations (not just the obvious ones like the Bellevue and Boo Boo Hoff’s headquarters in the Arts Tower on Locust St).

    Support for Mussolini among Philly Italians

    Sports and recreation among the lower classes in pre-Civil War Philly. Were there sports fans and did they attend fights/games/etc?

    Gangs in Philly like the Schuylkill Rangers in Philly

    How did the 1854 Act of Consolidation happen and what was the reaction in the press and among the people?

    Sorry that’s a lot LOL.

    Ryan O’Hara

  13. I would like to nominate a comprehensive treatment of Philadelphia and western Pennsylvania in the search for an effective domestic alternative to olive oil that enveloped Thomas Jefferson, John Bartram and his sons, William Hamilton of the Woodlands, and Henry Muhlenberg of Lancaster, along with Francois Michaux, son of Andre, and Patrick Archbold of the Laurel highlands near Greensburg in the examination of what became known as the Buffalo Nut, or Pyrularis pubera, in later years.

    Bartram and Jefferson, and perhaps Hamilton all became aware of the perceived value of the oil in the nut, as a potential source of cooking oil, and Bartram gathered nuts and plants, which all three likely tried, unsuccessfully, to propagate and cultivate in their garden operations. By 1800 or before, Hamilton became involved with Muhlenberg, still apparently with Jefferson et al,; and was working in Lancaster, in company with Hamilton, using seeds supplied by Patrick Archbold, a farmer, Sawyer, and Miller.

    In June, 1802, Francois Michaux paid a courtesy visit to Hamilton at the Woodlands, to extend the compliments of his father, a friend of Hamilton, as Michaux was embarking on his own biological gathering travels through the American wilderness, and found Hamilton away, visiting Muhlenberg at Lancaster. As Michaux was heading that direction, he stopped in Lancaster and met both men, who asked that he detour on his trip west through the Laurel mountains and entreat Archbold to send more Buffalo Nut seeds. Michaux did this, renting a horse at an appropriate stage stop, and spent two days with Archbold on July 3, 1802.

    There are many interesting twists to the story; How is it that the best minds of the time couldn’t cultivate the plant? (It involves then-unknown chemical messenger systems that allow the seed to lie dormant until conditions are correct – that is, the presence of an acceptable host plant for a parasitic connection, not discovered until the 1960’s and still dimly understood…), and why is there a widely varying concept of the toxicology of the plant oil? (That may trace to chemical differences in the variety of host-chemistry combinations from one host to another, or with a multitude of hosts within the same plant culture.)

    There is an entire chapter on the various naming’s proposed for the plant, from one made by Muhlenberg honoring Hamilton, to the one claimed by Francois on behalf of his now-deceased father, based only on the testimony of the son, who belatedly admitted that he and another botanist published his recently-deceased father’s papers in the father’s name well after his death, and using the son’s testimony of supposed earlier events, to precede Muhlenberg’s work, allowing Michaux’s naming to survive, and then survive several later naming’s of the same plant by Constantine Samuel Rafinesque and Asa Gray over the next several decades.

    More information is available if the topic is deemed acceptable to pursue…

  14. Would love to see some kind of history of Oxford township and what it was like beforehand, Also would like to know more about the Old Oxford Trinity Church

  15. I want Nominate is:” Transsexuals the face of LGBT Freedom in History ”

    The connection of LGBT Philadelphia and NYC LGBT activism is undeniable, but so are Transsexuals who were always visible and found in every profession and class of society during the eventual gay and lesbian coming out in the later half of the 20th century .
    Transsexuals have been trailblazers in being the face of what is now World Pride and accredited with the STONEWALL riots and their Beauty which bind the NYC, Philadelphia LGBT freedom.
    the STONEWALL Monument by NPS had the only Trans woman from the STONEWALL Riots 1969 who happens to be the youngest Veteran of all the STONEWALL Vets. testify in May 2016 in front of the Secretary of the INTERIOR Sally Jules and the world that night in NYC, this trans women is also a native Philadelphian.
    So with that introduction of the topic…
    Nance Lomax

  16. Would like to know more about the John Harper who is shown on 1681-87 Thos Howe’s map of Phila Co, PA (in old Oxford Twp, defunct after 1854 consolidation) with land at intersection of Tacony and Frankford Creek, about where the city of Frankford sprang up later. I suspect he is the John Harper (1633-1716) whose son Joseph may have had Robert Harper of Harper’s Ferry, now in Jefferson Co, WVA. Two of John’s ch. (Ralph & Eliz) bapt. 1684 & 1687 at Trinity Oxford Espicopal Church, which is located on Oxford Rd just NE of John’s land on 1681-87 map. John came toAmerica in c. 1682. This same 1681-87 Howe map shows that John’s neighbors were Henry WADDY, Thos FAIRMAN, Robt ADDAM [sic: Adam?], Edward SEARY, John HUGHS, Thos DUCKET, Benj EAST, John WEST,etc. some of whom were involved with William Penn’s Society of Free Traders. So would like to know if any connection between John Harper and any of his neighbors and/or Society of Free Traders. I have vested interest as my ancestor was a Harper in Berkeley Co, WVA who may be bro of Harpers ferry Robt.-THANKS, Carol

  17. The history and legacy of Stephen Girard and his “Girard College” is an inspiring one for people of all ages and backgrounds. Girard’s seafaring adventures brought him to Philadelphia whee he decided to live out the rest of his life. Girard’s generous contributions to Philadelphia and his founding of a great school, Girard College, is surely a part of Philadelphia’s history. The full story of Stephen Girard is an interesting one and should not be overlooked in the Encyclopedia of Greater Philadelphia.
    The website – – deals only with the history and operations of Girard College as Stephen Girard mandated it to be. This website is not the full story of the generous contributions that Stephen Girard gave to the world.

  18. An interesting topic would me Mrs Mary Ryerss of Burholme. She was a domestic employed by Robert Waln Ryerss for many years. They were married just eight months before his death and caused a scandal in polite Philadelphia high society. While traveling and collecting items for a museum she died in Peking China.

    Mary gifted the people of Philadelphia Burholme Park and the Ryerss Museum.

    The Ryerss family were philanthropists and early animal rights activists. There is a pet cemetery in the park.

    Please let me know if you are interested.

  19. As Executive Director of Jazz Bridge, I’d love to see Philly Jazz History on this site. Our history and jazz traditions are recognized world-wide and should be represented here.

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