Blog, page 8

William Penn Foundation Grant

We are pleased to announce that The Encyclopedia of Greater Philadelphia will enhance its digital platform with a two-year, $81,040 grant awarded by the William Penn Foundation to the Mid-Atlantic Regional Center for the Humanities (MARCH) at Rutgers–Camden, the Encyclopedia’s institutional home. The grant will allow us to add photo galleries of material artifacts; place-mapping; new text about Philadelphia’s history; links between history and the news; and more.  We look forward to working with our civic partners as well as the Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media at George Mason University in developing these new features.

The William Penn Foundation, founded in 1945 by Otto and Phoebe Haas, works to close the achievement gap for low-income children, ensure a sustainable environment, foster creativity that enhances civic life, and advance philanthropy in the Philadelphia region. With assets of nearly $2 billion, the Foundation distributes approximately $80 million in grants annually. Learn more about the Foundation at

Call for Volunteer Authors – Summer 2012

Help us grow! During the summer of 2012, The Encyclopedia of Greater Philadelphia seeks volunteer authors to contribute essays related to the themes of City of Neighborhoods, the Cradle of Liberty, and the Workshop of the World. Prospective authors must have expertise in their chosen subjects demonstrated by previous publications and/or advanced training in historical research.  For further information, visit our list of available topics.

Spotlight on Children’s Television

This week our Children’s Television essay is featured by Rutgers Media Relations in a news release by Ed Moorehouse.  The article calls attention to the Rutgers-Camden connections of the two authors, Vibiana Bowman Cvetkovic of the Robeson Library and the Ph.D. program in Childhood Studies, and Brandi Scardilli, who earned her M.A. from the Rutgers-Camden Department of History.  In the interview, the essay authors also comment on children’s television programming today.  Update:  Listen to Vibiana Bowman Cvetkovic discuss her research on WHYY-FM, broadcast May 9, 2012.

Delving into Philadelphia’s “Epic Fails” with WHYY

While so many this week are remembering the Titanic on the 100th anniversary of that epic disaster, WHYY turned its attention to “epic failures” in Philadelphia’s history.  We helped by putting reporter Peter Crimmins in touch with Michael Zuckerman, the author of our “City of Firsts” essay, and our associate editor Stephanie Wolf.  Their insights into such memorable events as the Bicentennial and Sesquicentennial were featured along with others’ comments about the Tram to Nowhere, the MOVE bombing, and other “epic failures.”  What would you add?  Visit Newsworks to join the discussion.  (And keep coming back to the Encyclopedia – we will add essays on the Sesquicentennial and Centennial celebrations this summer.)

Thank You for Supporting us in the News Challenge

We were so grateful and impressed by your expressions of support for our application in the Knight News Challenge.  We have learned that our proposal will not be advancing to the next round of the competition — in all, more than 1,100 applications were submitted and all but 51 were eliminated in the first round of screening.  Although we are disappointed, we are glad for the positive developments that emerged from our collective effort.  We have attracted new, enthusiastic potential partners for the future, and we have more than 200 followers for the @Backgrounders Twitter feed that we started for connecting history with the news.  We will continue to use this to serve the public and add value to the Encyclopedia project.  To follow us on Twitter:!/Backgrounders.  To see the projects advancing to further consideration in the Knight News Challenge, and comments about the selection process, follow this link:

@Backgrounders in Action: Girard College

This week’s news presented an ideal opportunity to connect history with the news, using our Backgrounders feed on Twitter to reach journalists and other interested readers.  When WHYY posted its report that Autumn Adkins Graves, the president of Girard College, will step down at the end of the school year, we added background with our Girard College essay as well as a link to Temple University’s outstanding “Civil Rights in a Northern City” project.  These resources, combined with the news account, call attention to the significance of the service of President Graves as the first female and African American head of this landmark Philadelphia institution.

Call for Proposals: Community Voices Gallery

Building on the widespread interest in our recent “City of Neighborhoods, City of Homes” program at the Philadelphia History Museum, we’re pleased to call the following opportunity to your attention: 

The Philadelphia History Museum at the Atwater Kent has reopened with a new exhibition concept, a community history gallery featuring exhibitions designed and curated by neighborhood organizations about the work they do and the contributions they have made to the fabric of life in the city. One goal of this new exhibition gallery concept is to give Philadelphians an active voice in presenting the city’s history based upon historical, social, cultural, intellectual, or political concepts. The Philadelphia Voices Gallery will present three compelling exhibitions each year that give voice to the ways that Philadelphia’s community and neighborhood based organizations address issues including hunger, violence, homelessness, discrimination, housing, education, immigration, health, environment, and work.

For information on how to participate in this exciting opportunity, visit this web page:

Thank you for supporting our “Backgrounder” proposal in the Knight News Challenge

When we asked our friends and partners to support us in the Knight News Challenge, you responded – thank you!  Our online “likes” doubled in just two days, and we concluded the competition period with 194 “likes” and 92 comments on our proposal.  While the competition urged us to focus on the quantity of participation, we are especially pleased by the quality of the online discussion, which demonstrated support while also posing good questions and offering additional ideas.  The winners of this funding from the Knight Foundation will be announced in June.

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