Archives > Historical Features > Exhibits


American History Seminar:
Penn and West Philadelphia


In the fall semester 2005, Mark Frazier Lloyd, Director of the University Archives, taught a 200-level, post-1800 American history seminar on the relationship between Penn and West Philadelphia.

This was a research seminar on Penn's past, present, and future relationships with West Philadelphia / Philadelphia, from 1870 to 2010, from town gown conflict to town gown collaboration. Students conducted research in primary and secondary sources on Penn's three-stage transition over time: indifference, conflict, and collaboration with West Philadelphia. The staff and resources of the University Archives were made available for consultation.

The students wrote papers on topics relating to the neighborhoods and public schools of West Philadelphia. These papers are available here as PDF files to be read, searched and printed.


First graded assignment: Essay (five to eight pages) on a West Philadelphia neighborhood

Pick a neighborhood in West Philadelphia. What communities existed there historically? When? What communities exist there now? What are the community landmarks that make this neighborhood unique? Document your responses.


Second graded assignment: Essay (five to eight pages) on public schools in West Philadelphia

When did the public schools in West Philadelphia go "bad"and what will it take to "fix"them? Use five schools -- Lea, Belmont, Harrity, Bryant, and Penn-Alexander -- as case studies. Provide context and evaluation; which approach works best and why?