The Historical Society of Pennsylvania's Pennsylvania Abolition Society Digital Exhibit brings together a series of documents to tell a history of the PAS's work during its crucial battle against slavery in the years before the U.S. Civil War. The papers, accessible by following the links to the left, are arranged by theme—from those documenting court cases involving illegal enslavements to the PAS's work on education—and are representative of the HSP's effort to make available to the public the stories of PAS lawyers and philanthropists, as well as those enslaved persons who both received aid from or crossed paths with the PAS during their fight for freedom.
Founded in 1775 at the Rising Sun Tavern in Philadelphia, Society for the “Relief for Free Negroes unlawfully held in Bondage,” the Pennsylvania Abolition Society (PAS) reorganized itself in the 1780s to include a third mission: “improving the Condition of the African Race.” For the founders, this primarily meant offering jobs and education to black youth, whether escaped slaves from the South or native Philadelphians. In order to further this part of its mission, in 1790 the PAS appointed 24 members to a Committee for Improving the Condition of the Free Blacks, which was subdivided into a Committee of Inspection, a Committee of Guardians, a Committee of Education, and a Committee of Employ. The PAS Papers contain the records of the Society general meeting and various committees, financial papers, minutes, and legal papers related to cases taken on by the PAS, papers related to the documentation and education of the free black community, and the records of numerous anti-slavery societies.
PhilaPlace is an interactive Web site, created by the Historical Society of Pennsylvania, that connects stories to places across time in Philadelphia’s neighborhoods. PhilaPlace weaves stories shared by ordinary people of all backgrounds with historical records to present an interpretive picture of the rich history, culture, and architecture of our neighborhoods, past and present. The PhilaPlace Web site uses a multimedia format – including text, pictures, audio and video clips, and podcasts – and allows visitors to map their own stories in place and time. More than a Web site, PhilaPlace includes ongoing community programs and publications, from workshops for teachers, to trolley tours, and exhibits. PhilaPlace is an engaging, meaningful way to understand more about where we live, and will serve as an enduring record of our heritage.
Preserving American Freedom, a Historical Society of Pennsylvania digital history project funded by Bank of America, explores how Americans have interpreted and fought for their freedoms from the 1600s to the present and how these freedoms have shaped America's history. To this end, the project presents 50 documents from HSP's collection that illuminate conceptions, facets, and conflicts of freedom, as well as interpretive and contextual essays and resources for educators.
“Closed for Business” is a multi-year, grant-funded digital history project by the Historical Society of Pennsylvania that tells the story of Bankers Trust Company, the first large bank to fail in Philadelphia during the Great Depression.
This project is part of a larger effort, funded by the Albert M. Greenfield Foundation, to draw attention to HSP’s 20th-century collections. It also aims to provide greater digital access to one of HSP’s flagship collections related to the history of Philadelphia during the 20th century: the Albert M. Greenfield papers (collection #1959). Greenfield (1887-1967) was a prominent Philadelphia businessman involved in real estate, banking and mortgages, retail, and politics. His extensive connections to civic, political, business, and social affairs make the collection one of the most heavily referenced when discussing 20th-century Philadelphia.
Project staff selected 300+ documents from the Greenfield papers and other HSP collections to digitize, transcribe, and annotate in XML using the guidelines of the Text Encoding Initiative, which allows sophisticated searching and analysis of digital documents. This web site also offers contextual essays and other resources aimed at teachers who may use the site in the classroom.