Historical Society of Pennsylvania to Establish the Albert M. Greenfield Center for 20th-Century History

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Project funded by a grant from the Albert M. Greenfield Foundation

Albert M. GreenfieldThe Historical Society of Pennsylvania (HSP) recently received a grant from the Albert M. Greenfield Foundation to improve the access to and visibility of its 20th-century collections, a project that includes an endowed research fellowship, the digitization of hundreds of 20th-century documents, an online research guide, and other educational materials.

The Albert M. Greenfield Center for 20th-Century History will be accessible through a portal on the Society’s website (www.hsp.org). The initial phase of the project will focus on the Albert M. Greenfield papers, which are held here at the Society. Greenfield (1887-1967) was a Philadelphia real estate broker and financier whose business interests also included a chain of department stores and the Philadelphia Transportation Company. He was a philanthropist and political leader who held positions on numerous local commissions.

Work has already begun on the project. HSP archivists have rehoused the extensive Albert M. Greenfield papers, held here at the Society, into 1,148 archival boxes and 18,000 folders. Last week, HSP selected Vanda Krefft as the first Albert M. Greenfield Fellow in 20th-Century History. Krefft’s project, titled “Lone Master of the Movies,” will use the Albert M. Greenfield papers to research the life of William Fox, founder of Fox Studios.

In addition to the new, endowed research fellowship, the Historical Society will be creating an online guide to its 20th-century collections and developing a new digital history project for educators and students focused on the Albert M. Greenfield papers. Set to launch in the fall of 2012, the new Greenfield digital history project will tell the story of the early years of the Great Depression and the December 1930 failure of Bankers Trust Company, a large Philadelphia bank for which Greenfield served as a member of the board of directors. The new online resource will offer images of primary source documents from the Greenfield papers, searchable transcriptions of the text, contextual essays, and suggestions for teachers on how to use these materials in the classroom.

As part of the project, the Historical Society will create a portal on its website—to launch in spring of 2012—to guide researchers through the Society’s 20th-century research materials and display searchable transcriptions, digital images, interpretive essays, lesson plans, and other supporting documents.

Other notable 20th-century collections housed at the Historical Society include: the League of Women Voters of Pennsylvania records, the Richardson Dilworth papers, and the Anthony Joseph Drexel Biddle papers.