The Great Depression of the 1930s presented one of the greatest economic, social, and cultural crises in the history of the United States. Yet that crisis also sparked one of the greatest outpourings of interest and activity in the preservation and interpretation of the past by the American people. Americans preserved historic sites and reinterpreted them, created new museums and transformed older ones, expanded the stories that they told, and reimagined their pasts.
The Elfreth’s Alley Association, one of Philadelphia’s premier historic sites, invites proposals for papers and panels for a conference that explores these and other issues relating to “Public History and the Great Depression: History, Heritage, and Memory in a Time of Crisis” to be held October 9-11, 2009 in Philadelphia. Possible topics may include preservation, interpretation, and restoration efforts throughout the United States during the Great Depression; significant public commemorations during the era; government involvement in historic preservation and commemoration, including New Deal programs and others; the diversification of American heritage through public history; and other topics.
The Elfreth’s Alley Association was founded in 1934 to preserve a group of unique early American dwellings in what was, at the time, a declining area along Philadelphia’s riverfront. The preservation effort was organized by one local woman and drew in working-class residents interested in preserving the story of early American craftsmen’s lives, and thus was one of the first American preservation efforts that sought to tell the story of everyday Americans. Celebrating its seventy-fifth anniversary in 2009, the Association maintains that goal while telling a three-hundred year history of the people who lived and worked along the Alley.
Deadline for proposals is March 25, 2009. Send proposals to Dr. George W. Boudreau, conference co-chair, at firstname.lastname@example.org. The organizers plan to publish a collection of essays drawn from the conference, and therefore request that original works be presented, and that authors give right of first refusal on papers presented.
Public History Conference
124 Elfreth's Alley
Philadelphia, PA 19106 Email: email@example.com
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