Project Background
This project began as an exploration of a reference made to a Shantytown in West Philadelphia. In her 1903 book entitled West Philadelphia Illustrated, M. Laffitte Vieira writes

West of Thirty-fourth street, between Ludlow and Sansom streets, the ground rose and formed two hills divided by Chestnut street...This was...the favorite camping ground for the gypsies who in the early days frequently visited Philadelphia.

This comment sparked a curiosity in learning more about the people on the periphery of Philadelphia's past. How do we investigate the parts of society that we cannot see? That which we do not want to see? These people were poor, marginalized and forgotten in their own day, so how do we learn about them today? Documentation has been difficult to come by, but what I wish to share on this website is what little I did find, and I how I did it.