The book of knowledge

Comprehensive histories of Philadelphia are few. The most recent, Philadelphia: A 300-Year History, was published in 1982 by W.W. Norton and the Barra Foundation. Its 842 pages of small type weigh in at nearly three pounds, making it an excellent book for pressing leaves under or propping open a door; for reading, as admirable and wide-ranging as the effort is, it’s rather less welcoming. At any rate, it’s out of print.

Fortunately, the online Encyclopedia of Greater Philadelphia is at my fingertips. “Produced by the Mid-Atlantic Regional Center for the Humanities (MARCH) at Rutgers-Camden, the Encyclopedia as a digital resource and print volume will offer the most comprehensive, authoritative reference source ever created for the Philadelphia region,” the web site says, and it’s already doing a rather good job of it, though there’s little information there about the promised print volume. Nonetheless, as I traipse down memory lane, I find it’s a most effective goad to my own recollections, and, because it’s frequently updated, there’s plenty more besides. It’s a fine effort and deserves your support.