Uncovering History in Philadelphia
Rosalie Hooper '12, a History major, is spending her summer conducting research on the role of race, gender and sex in the destruction of Pennsylvania Hall, an abolitionist meeting place that was destroyed by a mob in 1838. Hooper is one of more than 60 students who received summer stipends for internships from the Center for Peace and Global Citizenship.
Hooper is a fellow at the Society of Early American Historians, an organization dedicated to exploring the events and the meaning of United States history between 1776 and 1861. She participated in a summer research program sponsored by the Society of Early American Historians and the Mellon foundation that allowed her to spend two weeks looking at original primary source research. Her current internship is a continuation of that project.
Hooper couldn't be happier, and she says“I still haven't gotten over the fact that everyday I get to go into the Philadelphia archives and handle books, diaries, and letters written by people almost two hundred years ago.”
To conduct her research, she is visiting the major historical archives in and around Philadelphia, including the Library Company, the American Philosophical Society, the National Archives, and the Special Collections at the University of Pennsylvania, Swarthmore College, and Haverford College.
When asked to describe a typical day in her internship, Hooper explains that she walks down to either the Library Company of Philadelphia or the Historical Society of Pennsylvania. One there, she requests several documents from the archives and transcribes them if they are relevant to her research topic. Hooper jokes that while the description of her internship may sound dull to some, she is having an amazing time uncovering the city's past.
“While sometimes I feel a bit invasive opening up documents and exploring these peoples' lives, it is really amazing to be able to piece together someone's life using their letter and documents. Actually getting to hold the physical documents, rather than reproductions, add a whole new level to this understanding”, says Hooper.
Hooper, daughter of alum Timothy Hooper '80 and Vanessa Hooper, is hoping to parlay her summer research into a senior thesis, the capstone of the Haverford academic experience.
-- Stephen W Handlon '13