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Classicizing Philadelphia on the ARTstor blog

ARTstor’s blog for May 27, 2014 features the Classicizing Philadelphia project.  Click here for the ARTstor blog entry.

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What kind of project will this be?

A recent conversation with Jeff Cohen helped me understand what kind of project Classicizing Philadelphia will become.  Jeff teaches in Bryn Mawr’s Growth and Structure of Cities program, and he knows as much as anyone about the architectural history of Philadelphia.  We talked about image quality, rights and permissions, and the Classicizing Philadelphia mobile app now under development.  Jeff, as I remember, was the first to use the term “public history.” It’s a good one.  Classicizing Philadelphia has three announced goals:

  • To be a focal point for research on classical receptions in Philadelphia
  • To be a gateway to documents of classical reception in Philadelphia collections
  • To inform the citizens of Philadelphia about and engage them in our city’s long conversation with Greece and Rome

Of these goals, the second and third are emerging as the most important.  Classicizing Philadelphia is not evolving into an archive or a research collection; the project doesn’t have the resources in time or money, and there are many fine digital archives for research into the cultural history of Philadelphia (several of these are on the “Resources” page of the Classicizing Philadelphia web site).  Instead, Classicizing Philadelphia will be a place to look if you recognize “Patriae Pater” as Latin and wonder what it’s doing in Rembrandt Peale’s “porthole” portrait of Washington at PAFA, or if you’re curious about the columned tombs in Laurel Hill Cemetery.  Classicizing Philadelphia’s primary audience will not be scholars in universities.  This project is for Philadelphia’s citizens, and for anyone who wants to join the long conversation.  It will be digital public history.  Thanks, Jeff.

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Web site is up!

March 27, 2014

A preliminary version of the Classicizing Philadelphia web site ( is now up and running, with a small set of data focused on architecture and city planning.  This marks an important step forward for Classicizing Philadelphia.  None of this progress could have happened without the support of the Classical Association of the Atlantic States, and especially of its president and officers, or without the help and good will of the librarians and other staff of Bryn Mawr College, including especially Camilla Mackay, Head of Carpenter Library and Visual Resources; Nancy Halli, Image Cataloger, Carpenter Visual Resources; and Oliva Cardona, Program Assistant for the Department of Greek, Latin, and Classical Studies.  I am grateful to them, and also to Jen Rajchel and the TriCo Digital Humanities team and to Bryn Mawr’s Chief Information Officer, Gina Siesing, for their support and encouragement of Classicizing Philadelphia.

Lee Pearcy

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Classicizing Philadelphia receives Leadership Initiative Grant

The Classical Association of the Atlantic States has awarded Classicizing Philadelphia a $10,000 Leadership Initiative Grant for 2014–2015.  The grant will support continued development of Classicizing Philadelphia’s data base and web exhibits, preliminary development of a GIS-enabled tour of classical Philadelphia, a student internship, and purchase of essential equipment.

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Classicizing Philadelphia joins CRSN

Classicizing Philadelphia is now part of the Classical Reception Studies Network, based at the Open University in Great Britain.  CRSN is a group of institutions, projects, and people “formed in 2004 with the goal of promoting collaboration among institutions with research interests in Classical Reception Studies. Membership of the network includes institutions both in Britain and across the world.”

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