Some Project Ideas, some small, some large
some for mapping projects, some with Praxis possibilities
(still evolving).

prelim project blurbs

1.0: annotating a key text

A pair of students will scan/ transcribe Westcott's chaps on rows and annotate w/ images, map links, data, plans. Discuss evolution in plan and loc of fashionable rows. Scan/ transcribe Lockington, annotate with examples, and discuss in this context.

FLP, ?
Take a broad overview of contemporary architectural criticism in and about Phila buildings in 19th and 20th c. Find and list key articles, describe continuous venues. Compile into narrative about changing nature, etc., including full text examples. Annotate and illustrate
1.3, 3.1

Take the Phila suburban profiles from Sub Life magazine, c. 1909, at FLP, and present, contextualize. Discuss as state of each individual subs at this point and collectively at the the dawn of the auto suburb. Research and ID all buildings shown and their history w/ respect to each suburb.

FLP, PAB [prax]
Scan all plates from BDW runs. Enter all associated data, and coord w/ other info on subjects. Make accessible in website. Build framing finding aid, discussion of journal relative to others, unique info.

2.0: collections

FLP, LCP [prax]
Take a close look at the aerial view collections at FLP and LCP, reviewing their indexing systems. Begin scanning, access scheme, for some coherent pieces, but expandable for whole. Explore some sort of coord system for addtl indexing. Make web unit contextualizing and presenting, with two research projects utilizing them as exemplars of their value.

Use fire insurance surveys to explore the houses of the poorest at different times. Place in locational contexts, illustrate, use other recs to contextualize -- directories, health dept recs, census recs. deeds. Examine plan type, ownership, occupancy. Alternatively, try to profile some different class-representative lives by their profession. Or compile surveys for a very specific geographical area, amplifying w/ collateral doc'm to tell stories of a neighborhood's growth and dev.
2.2a, b, c

PC, MA, HSP [prax]
Get a full understanding of FICo records at HSP and db component. Explore state of other Phila companies. Identify any pertinent readings, research using, contextualizing these, other websites presenting this kind of data -- Balto, Richmond. Explore possibilities of unifying, solidifying Phila data from diff co's.

(mini) BMC
Map, research, contextualize Fox Views at BMC.

HSP [prax]
Take Kennedy Views to next step, organizing geographically, keying to different maps, grabbing all possible repros. Ditto for Evans. Provide overviews and cite, provide exemplar uses. Ditto for Breton as (mini) proj.

BMC, Natl Archives Phila branch
Take a close look at the 1798 Direct Tax and scholarly literature that uses it. Make a rich finding aid to the Phila-area parts. Adopt a focus on a geographical area or a type of building as basis of research project, richly enlisting collateral sources, as a research example.

FLP [prax]
Create enriched finding aid for Hexamer gen'l surveys. Examine, see if list, index publishable on web. Describe, scan samples. Create locational interface. Discuss use, patterns. Do two example projects showing value.

HSP [prax]
Work w/ photo coll like Ph B. Wallace, Wilson, Edwin Kremer [or other cited in Evid of place.] Work on unspec. locations, esp suburban ones. Create locational interface. Contextualize, discuss photog's choices.

HSP [prax]
Work w/ Hazlett & Moss apt plan records, creating rich finding aid, searchable db, map interface, two research projects exemplifying use of these. [now in PAB]

PCArchives, PAB, Docomomo: [prax]
Research new building in Phila from postwar through 1970s, examining various sources of doc'm, starting w/ bldg permits. National and local publs. Explore Dodge reports, other contracting mechanisms. Produce a webbed unit discussing ways of knowing and use of info resources, compile some body of data, look at patterns, do three projects exemplifying use of such records.

3.0: types of data

Do a broad sampling of real estate advertisements and notices for new developments from early 19th c. into 20th. Array by decades and discuss, contextualize, tracking down actual places. Explore devlprs, devs, and initial buyers. Build into richly illustrated website.

HSP [prax]
Find or compile list of all known area published briefs of title. Note, scan any graphics. Create list and map interface. Contextualize in discussion, using graphics. Do two example projects utilizing such resources.

HSP, LCP, Pop Ctr
Enrich presentation of AA censuses. Explain, exemplify each w/ sample scans and transcriptions. Place in mapped, photo'd spaces. Use other recs, i.e. directories, reg censuses, atlases to fully present some excerpts of each. Compare to 1861 voting list at LCP.

PCArchives?, HSP, FLP:
examine building stats from as early as possible, probably mid 19th c. Display, compile, contextualize, discuss, analyze by loc, type, given criteria. Present graphically.

GtHS & ChHHS: [prax]
Prepare atlas unit akin to that of L Merion Library system. Identify atlases and locs, find most cooperative for scanning. Consult w/ PAth. Find scanning facility, prep interface. Choose, as a minimum, three copyright-free, chronologically spread times, i.e., mid 19th, 1890s, 1920s, but create template that will accommodate rest. Do two research projects exemplifying utilty.

FLP, GtnHS, OYRHS? [prax]
Scrutinize a local weekly newspaper like the two in Gtn or the two at Jenkintown for mentions of building activities. Compile, discuss, relating particulars to places on maps, in images, survival.

HSP, LCP, elsewhere: [prax]
Find 19th c. developer's docs of various sorts, beginning w/litho plans in W Phila HSP vol. Follow up with others of this sort, Dwgs by Norris, Carstairs, Mills, Graff. Satterlee heights, W End land co lithos, TU Walter entries, 1832-33, for 15th & Walnut, E B Warren journal at HSP, Wendell & Smith, etc. Look at newspaper advert, deeds, other sources that reflect further stages of dev processes in 19th c. Check Donna Rilling for processes, sources, Balto book, Moss student reports on rows at PAth.

PCArchives & PAB: [prax]
Examine Phila Building permits c. 1887-1900. Do a pilot project compiling data for at least a year's run, comparing to data in PRER&BG. Devise webpage explaining these, earlier (newsp reports), and later records of this sort, how to use, how they change, how to access. Explore patterns. Do two example mini-projects utilizing such data.

PAB, Docomomo, PC AIA
Identify living architectural principals active from 1950s through 1970s (HK, FW, VK). Identify published references to their work and look at principal buildings. Schedule interview, prepare specific questions, and bring graphics as focus. Record, selectively transcribe answers. Build into illustrated website. Discuss, relating to issues delineated in published narratives about the period.

4.0: integrated unit

Using a pair of adjoining panoramas, research, compile, and tell the detailed history of this place in micro and macro pictures (i.e, why, when did it change) from the time of conception of oldest shown to the present. Connect with changing footprints of blocks, lifespan of each building. Find other views, record changes till today.

5.0: map interface

(mini) UP FAL
Map survey if London volumes as clickable maps. Explore if other cities susceptible of similar (Berlin, Paris?)

GtHS & ChHHS: [prax]
Work up illustrated, mapped, annotated, interactive finding aid for collections at these repos: Naylor photos, Richards zinc prints, Gtn Independent c. 1902 publication.

Map King's Views and/or Hotchkin, grabbing existing images, adding info on each building, integrating into map interface. Do discursive website that contextualizes these among larger patterns of building, society.

PAth & LMC: [prax]
Pick a suburban location, say Haverford and Bryn Mawr, and run every PAB citation to ground. Coordinate w/ Lower Merion inventories bracketing by atlas. Find some coordinate system to prepare for PAB GIS. Integrate digital images of places, data about building, earliest atlas snippet showing building. Create phased map interface for whole thing accompanying narrative of area's development as website and/or paper.
5.6, 6.3

Scan and map Boston and NYC panos, linking (mini). Identify surviving buildings and give data for specific buildings where available as to date of construction, replacement.

PbHS, PAB: [prax]
On model of White's Presby Churches of 1895, do suburban churches w/i certain geo limits. Integrate digital images of places, data about buildings, earliest atlas snippet showing building. Create phased map interface for whole thing accompanying narrative of area's development as website and/or paper. Start w/ Presby, other largest denominations, or do all churches you can find.

HSP, Balch ?
Conceive some project designs to map class over time. Coord lists of wealthy from c. 1845, 1865, with directories for res locs. Other criteria, like club membership, upper-class occs like banker, directors of corps. Find ways to look for poor, other class shadings. Research taxation recs for this purpose. Consider ethnicity, nativity, churches, community orgs.

LMHS, Woodlands, LMC?
Map area cemeteries, compiling info on each, pop, years of activity, state of their data, links to any info. Find literature on these. Try to characterize "catchment" relative to others. Create website w/ hot-linked maps, links, data, enriched narrative, rich biblio. Consider, explore possibilities for the futures of the historic cemeteries.

NYT/OMH? [prax]
Make a locationally based graphic index to the NYT Streetscapes articles. Research block number, other coord systems. Research, acquire images. [too much just work?]

Explore 19th c. Phila architects' journals, diaries, biz records: A. Hutton, T. U. Walter, T. P. Chandler, H. Sims, T. Stewart. Others? Describe each, in terms of content and coverage. Choose piece to research, enrich through connection of snippets, annotation, illustration.

Reconstruct the building-world picture in year X and Y, separated by at least three decades. Try to build an overview of Phila-area building for each year. Where, how much, architects' piece vs. not. Where is doc'm? Numbers? Key large efforts? Patterns?

?, FLP
The dark years, 1866-85: Before 1886 and BG, doc'm of Phila-area buildings is scant. Some in AABN notes 1876-86, some PPL notes 1850s, Poulson scraps. Westcott scrapbooks late 1870s to 1886.. Look at all local newspapers, ferret out other sources, for doc'm of buildings in these years.

Track developers, identify them and their work, each on hot-linked maps combining doc'm, images, data.

Find catalog, scan, and map Valentine's Manual images of NYC. The are published prints inserted in city manuals from late 19th c to early 20th of odd views of old NYC.

Map Vict townhouses in JC diss cat. Integrate data and images.


PHC: Dick Tyler, Randy Barron, Jeff Barr, Laura Spina, Jon Farnham

o PHC1. Website help, mapping districts
Create website mapping hist districts and linking to detailed maps, narratives, inventories on each, other enhancements to PHC website. Contact Jim Green of CPC to get static versions of GIS maps as base maps. Model fuller enhancements to site for a specific area? Integrate 1980s db of file holdings onto site, extend in useful ways to PHC, make more accessible. Find Excel doc of Phila register, exploring ways to make accessible. Make pilot for small area of fully featured 'dream' PHC website. Coord efforts w/ PAB by geo-coding where pertinent. [jc]

o PHC2. Research Old City or Spruce Hill district nominations
Two pending historic district nominations, each w/ over 900 to 1800 buildings, perhaps 100 or more in each with only rough, eye-balled 'circa' dates. Use maps, docs to delve deeper into these, find better sources for dating, possible architects.

o PHC3. Organize, catalog, reshelve PHC library
Reorganize PHC library in new space, cataloging, shelving topically to degree useful to staff. Scrutinze all card files, researching to degree needed to identify, and create finding aid to them all (taxes, FI polices, street name changes, etc.) Create website for public to know of these resources, exemplifying research use for each.

o PHC4. Work w/ city photog to get better images for files
Parts of city in need of more recent photogs for PHC files, but must be done w/ city photog, for production of 8x10 glossies. Query staff as to most needful areas, schedule w/ city photog, accompany w/ small digital camera, keeping careful itinerary and then record of shots. Create website of images that can be used to identify city photog's images. File these. Coord efforts w/ PAB by geo-coding where pertinent (i.e., ten code?) [content aspects?]

o PHC5. Organize, rehouse PHC slide collection (now 4-5 binders, c. 1500-200 images)

o PHC6. Find later fire ins surveys for PHC files, insert in files

early bp project (indexed only from 1903 right now). [3.10]

PAth: Bruce Laverty

o Ath1. Permit drawings at Ardmore
There are a good number of architects' drawings in rolls at Lower Merion township dating back to the mid 1920s. Linda Stanley is beginning to work on these w/ PAB, to make an inventory in PAB format. Is there a project here? Talk to her. Contextualize by exploring four other counties' suburban bp documentation. Make overarching website explaining how these can be used, and exemplifying in mini research project.

o Ath2. Trades League volume, 1894
PAB would like to have this illustrated volume scanned according to their specs. Project here

o Ath3. Old/ new address numbers, 1850s
relate old and new numbers from city directories before and after 1857 change. Perhaps with focus on certain parts of the city, i.e., biz streets. Use directories, maps, fire insurance db, file at PHC, etc.

o Ath4. Nail PAB LM props (jc)
Digest and locate all LM properties on PAB, assigning real addresses to the vague, relating to existing places, atlases, other docs.

LCP: Sarah Weatherwax, Jennie Ambrose

o LCP1. Aero Service combined finding aid *
Hundreds of 1920s and 1930s aerial views of city and region as large glass plates. Help with scanning. Research vague or unknown location using maps, directories, and devsie location hierarchies or systems that accord w/ PAB. Build on existing access tools on web, at FLP, at LCP, to create unified access mechanism on web (db?). Select part of collection for special full treatment, i.e., suburban locations, great eststaes, industrial properties, working class sections, Lower Merion, institutions. Choose examplar project capitalizes on this, enriching with collateral research.. [2.1]

o LCP2. Levis photos of Lansdowne houses
A collection of photos by Stephen Pancoast Levis from the 1890s to 1910s, mostly centered around Lansdowne (inner sub, Del Co, to SW of Phila). About 1000 of them. Some small proportion published recently in new Arcadia book by Matt Schultz. Mostly middle class sub. houses, apparently shot for realtors. Presently FMPro db w/ data from original. Create enriched finding aid, with locational interface, mounting db electronically. Do some sample scans. Research locations, buildings. Do collateral research to contextualize, finding RE adverts, key people involved, motives of photos.

o LCP3. Wainwright lithos (jc)
About 292/450 lithos in Wainwright's 1950s Philadelphia in the romantic age of lithography have now been scanned for PAB. Scans available to PiT. Link to Wainwright lists for browsablility? Do locarion work and break down by geography? Help w/ "Beyond Wainwright" component, soliciting from Don Cresswell and Christopher Lane at CHPS, other colls. Find contextualizng project here -- about commercial uses, others?

o LCP4. Stereographic Views
Erika Piola is working on the stereographic view collection, scanning them and mounting them onto their OPAC. Many are of individual stores, exts and some ints. Help with scanning, research locations, make accessible for browsing, by location, building type. Research, infer motives, image choices in enriched finding aid.

o LCP5. More early photos
Early Phila photos by Richards, Newell, and Moran already in PiT. Add about 75-100 loose Newells. Research locations and create integrated unit with addtl locational ordering. Consider choices of each photographer in creating enriched intro material.

FLP: Joe Benford

o FLP1. Aerial views
collection of c. 1300 large scale prints from between wars. Half-filecard system for indexing, which works. Research and integrate two finding aides for this and LCP collection (glassplates). Include about 50 loose ones not in albums. Investigate copyright, scanning issues. Do collateral research, and create enriched finding aid. Focus on part of collection, scanning, nailing exact locations, ordering topical access, mini-project making exemplary research use of collection. [2.1]

o FLP2. Edmunds photos
Collection of about 1700 glass plate negs, 1890s to 1920s, by Franklin E Edminds. Perhaps half of Phila school buildings, to be coordinated with his pubs. Other half need locational research, enriched finding aid. Scan and rehouse, focusing on non-school subset. Copyright issues?

o FLP3. Parker & Mullikan photos
Perhaps 50,000 negs, 4x5, 8x10, 1930s-60s taken by Upper Darby photogs, Parker & Mullikin. Possibly shot for real estate purposes. Copyright issues? Volunteer presently building filecard index with data from each, and resleeving. Selective scannig undertaking? Searchable db? Contextualizing research on suubjects, photogs, motives for enriched finding aid, mini-project as example of use.

o FLP4. Old Phila photos
On-going project scanning image from Looney book on old photos of Phila. Phase one of eventual, larger project on Philadelphiana. 70-80 images of these may be from Castner Collection, but another 1400 may be in Castner. About half shot as 4x5 b/w negs, and W. Brown shooting other half. List, locate, scan these or coherent subset.

o FLP5. Postcard collection
thousands of these of Phila subjects and before 1923, meaning available for posting re copyright. Subset of 70,000 card collection overall. Create db to FLP specs for selection among these -- more unique informative views rather than more of Liberty Bell, etc. Create enriched finding aid, w/ access toosl and researched overview. Research other area postcard colls on area locations, and create accounts of each. Show utility through mini-project.

HSP: Laura Beardsley

o HSP1. Ashmead Coll. *
About 40 vols. of clippings c. 1890s on, many about places. Currently no intellectual access. Create some -- at minimum, titles of clippings, date/source, illustrations, location w/i coll. Take a look at old card file, assessing completeness. Make into db to HSP specs, but also arrange topically for browsing (via topical fields)? Research and write overall contextualizing account, posing and answering key questions.

o HSP2. PRT Colls.
Photo collection c. 1905 of bldgs of Market St subway in several vols., plus some loose. Facades adjoining route in continuous sequence, plus some of construction. Digitization possibility. May be old Bibbase db as starting point. Describe, contextualize, for finding aid. Do research mini-project exemplifying use of collection. (cp with Baxter panos?)

o HSP3. Gilliams & Stratton
photographers c. 1890s on who did slice-of-life images and articles for newspapers. Perhaps 150 images. Create inventory (existing bbase version?). Find articles that they relate to on mfilm at HSP, FLP, and print out/digitize. Research to create rich, contextualized finding aid. Choose two articles to make focus of mini-projects, adding contextualizing materials.

o HSP4. P B Wallace Coll.
Early 20th c. photo collection, mainly of buildings (among others: xx, xx), indexed through bibbase and on cards, but in need of researched overview, better on-line access. Lots of unidentified residences and apt bldgs (launch "Milk carton" effort?) [2.9]

o [RJK]
o [FFI]

o developers' docs [3.9]
o A-A Census [3.6]
o Briefs of title [3.3]
o Fire ins collections [2.2]

Bruce Gill, Christ Church, PE Churches
One of the least well organized and archived of the larger old denominations in the area is the Episcopal church. There are about 164 parishes in the 5-county Philadelphia area, called the Diocese of Pennsylvania, many of these involving the city's best architects. The city examples are recorded in a 1966 book by Wesley Twelves, a set of articles compiled by Anthony A. Roth at HSP, and a loose-leaf set of surveys from 1996. A goal here might be to map all the present and prior churches, linking each spot to images and information on eahc structure, and ultimately also to the location of archival material and architectural documentation on each. A volunteer Episcopal archivist, Glenn Colliver, might be willing ot serve as an aid in this effort. The 1895 book on Phila's Presbyterian churches by White might serve as a model, but one might also ocnfine this effort to the suburban area.

Mike Weilbacher, Lower Merion Conservancy
Mike suggests three projects:
o Do better research for on LMC's annual top ten threatened buildings

o Build an introductory slide show on historic preservation in various parts of LM

o Create a map and self-guided auto tour of Mill Creek sites

Linda Stanley, CHHSoc, GtnHsoc, and PAB
o atlas-scanning projects not yet matured.

o L Merion bldg dept plans. Linda spent about 9 days surveying holding 1925-29, about 1/8 of the collection, but then left off.

still to contact:
Mary Dabney
Lis Jarvis
Carol Smith

url=; last rev. = 31 Jan 03; [return to calendar]