Luke Tomczuk Update #5- February 17th

I have made more progress this week than in previous weeks for sure. Dr. Lowe being in the classroom once again really contributed to these changes. I am thankful she is feeling better. Wednesday’s visit to her office in class could not have went better. I learned that I will have a harder time than most in finding secondary sources because of the uniqueness behind my topic. Despite a lack of materials for cemeteries, there are some viable resources concerning Philadelphia, urban renewal, and especially blight. When Temple University purchased Monument Cemetery, the land was considered blight, or a severe detriment to the surrounding community. This distinction has been noted in other buildings such as the Comcast Center. Blight has given me a new angle on the project: Does blight status significantly contribute to cemetery removal? I believe the answer to this question will be yes but further research is needed. Dr. Lowe also reaffirmed that I should visit the Historical Society of Pennsylvania’s cemetery collection. Exactly when this would take place is up in the air because I heard this weekend that they are not open on weekends. I will create a plan to visit before Spring Break ends.

The recent visit to Special Collections has also played a significant factor in the progress I made this week. On Friday, I again visited the collection. This time I used the opportunity to review Allan M. Heller’s “Philadelphia Area Cemeteries.” Its contents led me to organize my thoughts regarding the upcoming historiography assignment. For instance, I plan to mention exactly who gets moved and why. Additionally I will examine Temple and Penn’s aggressive motives for expansion in the 1950s and see if Penn’s situation was similar with respect to cemetery removal. A sub-argument could be that the City of Philadelphia assisted these entities through certain policies that encouraged blight distinction. Once again more research is needed. I ran into one of my friends on Friday as well who is writing his Honors Thesis paper with Dr. Travis Glasson. He told me that he has some resources regarding Washington Square and the victims of Philadelphia’s Yellow Fever outbreaks. I am hoping to obtain these links as soon as possible, preferably before the historiography assignment is due. On Monday I plan to return to Special Collections to further examine my sources located there. By the end of the weekend I hope to email Jessica Baumert, a contact from the Woodlands Cemetery, about my project. It is my hope to meet with her and for her to provide the clarity I am still searching for. For the time being, though, I am happier with my progress than I have been in a while. I hope to have even more positive developments in the next update.

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