Scope and Content Note


Martha Crary Halpern was a serious scholar and actively involved in promoting public awareness of Philadelphia's historic houses situated in the city's vast park. As a member of the Museum's curatorial staff, Halpern served as the Assistant Curator for the Fairmount Park Houses. As this collection makes evident, she was thorough and well-organized in her research and record keeping. Photocopies of primary and secondary sources comprise the bulk of material. Correspondence, photographs, ephemera and draft writings are also interspersed throughout the collection. Organizing her papers by topic, Halpern developed a virtual encyclopedic reference of 18th and 19th century Americana. Subjects, further analyzed in multiple sub-topics, include specific historic houses and their furnishings, related individuals, Philadelphia history, slavery, religion, science and multiple aspects of domestic life. Other papers pertain more to Halpern's curatorial role and activities, documenting topics such as loans, exhibitions, and training materials for guides. There are also several draft writings.