HSP Launches Albert M. Greenfield Center for 20th-Century History

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

The Historical Society of Pennsylvania (HSP) recently launched a new online research guide to improve access to and visibility of its 20th-century collections. HSP is a treasure trove for 20th-century research material, especially regarding the Philadelphia region's political, cultural, social, and economic history. The Albert M. Greenfield Center for 20th-Century History promotes the study of this history, enabling us to learn from the past and make educated decisions as we move further into the 21st century. The project was generously funded by the Albert M. Greenfield Foundation.

The project includes an endowed research fellowship. The current fellow is Dr. David Hochfelder, University at Albany, SUNY, whose project is titled "Creating the Ownership Society: A Social History of Saving and Investing."

HSP archivists have rehoused the extensive Albert M. Greenfield papers, held here at the Society, into 1,148 archival boxes and 18,000 folders. 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.

In addition to the endowed research fellowship and online research guide, the Historical Society is in the process of developing a new digital history project for educators and students focused on the Albert M. Greenfield papers. Set to launch in early 2013, the 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.