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Primary Sources

The Philadelphia Negro: A Social Study
As one of his crucial early works of social science, Du Bois' The Philadelphia Negro (TPN) provided an in-depth sociological analysis and interpretation of African American urban life. In addition, Isabel Eaton conducted the research leading to the "Special Report on Negro Domestic Service In the Seventh Ward, Philadelphia" that was published as part of the book.

This page is organized into sections containing links to online resources that pertain to:
* Internet-available copies of The Philadelphia Negro in various formats;
* Du Bois (while) in Philadelphia, including items on his time there as well as his related activities;
* summaries of, and reading guides for, the book;
* book reviews, comments, and notices by contemporaries;
* contemporary secondary sources from Du Bois's era that refer to the book or his related work, directly or indirectly;
* later secondary sources that refer to TPN directly or indirectly; and
* related works with a bearing on some topic or issue raised in The Philadelphia Negro.
—Robert W. Williams, Ph.D.  [Bio] 

LATEST LINK (For 1 December 2023)
Related Secondary Source
Posted below is an external link to a pre-print version of "A People's History of Leisure Studies: Old Knowledge, New Knowledge and The Philadelphia Negro as a Foundational Text." It was written by Rasul Mowatt, Myron Floyd, and Kevin Hylton for the International Journal of the Sociology of Leisure, v.1 (2018): pp.55-73.

The Philadelphia Negro: A Social Study. 1899. This is Du Bois' path-breaking book of social research on African Americans in an urban environment. It was originally published by the University of Pennsylvania Press.
Note: The 1899 edition was published with a "Preface" by Du Bois and an "Introduction" by Samuel McCune Lindsay -- both of which were not included in either the 1967 Schocken or the 1996 University of Pennsylvania imprints of the book. Du Bois' "Preface" provided a sketch of how the book fit into his overall research agenda. McCune's "Introduction" gave details of the goals and motivations that led to the research project that became The Philadelphia Negro.
Original 1899 edition as page images at the "Women Working, 1800-1930" collection located at Harvard University Library's Open Collections Program (OCP):  [Title page]  [Preface]  [Introduction]
Original 1899 edition in page-facsimile version at Google Books  [Start page]
Original 1899 edition readable online at Hathi Trust Digital Library  [catalog page]
Full text of the 1967 Schocken edition (with E. Digby Baltzell's Introduction) available in DjVu and PDF formats at the Internet Archive  [Download page]
Full text of the 1967 edition (with Baltzell's Introduction) presented as page images and uncorrected OCR text at Carnegie Mellon University and its Universal Library  [Start page]
The 1967 Schocken edition of The Philadelphia Negro (with Baltzell's Introduction) available as full text in several formats (ex., TIFF and GIF graphics files, HTML, and ASCII text) at the Digital Library of India.
NOTE: Over the course of early December 2013 I tried repeatedly to connect to the Digital Library of India, but was not able to access either the site or the TPN page.  [Start page]
[Click on the "High Bandwidth Reader" link, because the other link opens a different book.]
Full text in html at Dr. Larry Ridener's Dead Sociologists' Society (DSS page)
[No Du Bois "Preface" and no McCune "Introduction"]
[Note: The above URL for Dr. Ridener's DSS page has replaced the now defunct <>]
The online Encyclopedia Virginia presents a detail of the book spine from The Philadelphia Negro (1899). A broken chain is depicted on the image. The image is presented courtesy of the University of Virginia Library.
Various items on or related to Du Bois's The Philadelphia Negro can be found via the Credo online repository of the Du Bois Collection of primary and secondary materials, which are archived at the University of Massachusetts Amherst library. Searching for either the keyword "Philadelphia Negro" or the keyword "University of Pennsylvania" seems to yield good results: search via Credo. Although some results are not relevant, included in the results are documents pertaining to Du Bois's actual research and its connection to the University of Pennsylvania, as well as later correspondence related to The Philadelphia Negro.
    Please note that only the metadata description can be searched (not the items themselves). More information is available at my intra-site About page.
Credo (Special Collections and University Archives, W.E.B. Du Bois Library at the University of Massachusetts Amherst)
The New York Times announced Du Bois's forthcoming role and position at the University of Pennsylvania (as printed in an NYT newspaper issue dated 30 September 1896, p.1).The brief notice is reproduced below in its entirety and verbatim:
 First Colored "Fellow" Appointed.
    PHILADELPHIA, Sept. 29.—Dr. W. E. Dubois, colored, who was graduated from Harvard College several years ago, and who studied in the German universities, has been appointed to a Fellowship in Sociology at the University of Pennsylvania. He is the first one of his race to hold such a position in this university. He will be on assistant to Dr. Samuel Lindsay in sociology. Dr. Dubois will not be considered a member of the Faculty, and will not lecture at college. His work will be among the colored population of Philadelphia. He will make a house-to-house investigation of the colored settlements, giving to the university authorities the results of his observations.
 Robert Williams' Notes: The double quotation marks around ' Fellow ' in the title are presented here as printed in the original text. Also, DuBois's name did not have an uppercase 'B' in the original text.
At the New York Times archive [Citation page]
[Downloadable as a PDF file (~22 KB)]
Presentation at the American Missionary Association's 1897 meeting. While living in Philadelphia Du Bois attended the 51st Annual Meeting of the American Missionary Association, which was held in Minneapolis, MN, in mid-October 1897. The Association's periodical of record, The American Missionary (v.51, n.8; December 1897), detailed the meeting (p.257 et seq. [hereafter page references link to page images available at the Hathi Trust Digital Library]).
    The American Missionary also contained short notices of Du Bois's participation at the annual meeting. We read that the Wednesday evening session included as speakers "Rev. O. Faduma, of North Carolina, and W. E. B. DuBois, of Pennsylvania, both representing the Negro." [p.264]. Elsewhere we read that the speaker "W. E. B. DuBois, Ph. D. [is] of Philadelphia" [p.292].
    Someone anonymously and briefly summarized Du Bois' speech in a section entitled "Field Workers":
     "Dr. DuBois read a scholarly paper treating of the social condition of the Negro. He reviewed the great national upheaval in the interests of his people and outlined the problems consequent therefrom. The present he viewed as the critical period in the development of the Negro." [p.292]
The entire Vol. 51 of The American Missionary is available at Google Books
Quarter of a Millennium: The Library Company of Philadelphia, 1731-1981; Edited by Edwin Wolf 2nd & Marie Elena Korey, Eds. (Philadelphia: The Library Company of Philadelphia, 1981). To commemorate the 250th anniversary of the Library Company of Philadelphia an exhibition was organized; this book was issued as a catalogue of that exhibition. The book contains descriptions and graphics images of selected pieces within the collection, one spanning several centuries of diverse items.
    The following quotation briefly describes The Philadelphia Negro and how DuBois utilized the library's materials for his research. The full text of the piece—designated as item 201 (as located on pp.269-270)—is presented here verbatim and in its entirety:
  201      WILLIAM E. BURGHARDT DU BOIS    The Philadelphia Negro  A Social Study. Philadelphia: Published for the University, Ginn &: Co., Selling Agents, Boston, 1899

 An Afro-American intellectual, Harvard's first Negro Ph.D., and a teacher in Southern Black colleges, Du Bois brought a unique perspective to American scholarship. He had worked under George Santayana and William James at Harvard, and was strongly influenced by Charles Booth and Beatrice Webb, British activists who sought to understand and alleviate the condition of the urban poor. In 1896, while an assistant in sociology at the University of Penn­sylvania, Du Bois and his young wife moved into the Seventh Ward, which ran from Spruce to South streets and from Seventh Street to the Schuylkill River, the historic center of the local Black settlement.
     Assisted by workers from the nearby College Settlement House, he charted the neighborhood and surveyed the population, investigating occupations, health, population statistics, the family, education, crime, religion, social life and interracial relations. "l determined to put science into sociology," he wrote of The Philadelphia Negro; "I was going to study the facts, any and all facts . . . and by measurement and comparison, and research, work up to any generalizations which I could."
     Du Bois' study marshalled facts contradicting the prevailing racist assump­tions. He depicted the Philadelphia Negro community in all its diversity. He had no anti-historical bias, and so used 18th and early 19th-century material that had been largely ignored. And, according to his bibliography, he foundimportant resources in the Library Company, as have students of the Afro-American experience ever since. Our copy of the rare first edition was given us by the University of Pennsylvania shortly after it was published.
 Robert Williams's Note: Excluded here is a facsimile of the title page of The Philadelphia Negro that was displayed on p.270.
Start page of the piece at Google Books  [About-this-book page],M1
W.E.B. Du Bois Historical Marker. The site, which is partnered with the Pennsylvania Historical Association, provides a short note about Du Bois and his research on the project that was published as The Philadelphia Negro. The page also describes the historical marker, dedicated on 29 October 1995, that commemorates his residence and work in the city. The marker is located at 6th and Rodman Streets in Philadelphia. The marker text reads:
African American scholar, educator, and activist. A founder of the NAACP. From 1896-1897, he lived in the College Settlement House at 617 Carver (now Rodman) Street while collecting data for his classic study, published in 1899, The Philadelphia Negro.
"W.E.B. DuBois in Philadelphia." Rebecca Cooper guides us through the area of Philadelphia where Du Bois lived and conducted research for the book.
     Rebecca Cooper appears to have been a student of Dr. Charlene Mires, an Associate Professor of History at Villanova University [faculty page]. Also note that no date of creation or online posting is listed on the web page. Perhaps "W.E.B. DuBois in Philadelphia" was the product of the "Historical Tour Assignment", which was a requirement for Dr. Mires' class, "History of Philadelphia" [Dr. Mires' courses].
"Legacy of Courage: W.E.B. Du Bois and The Philadelphia Negro" (19m16s documentary film; n.d.). The documentary is one of the projects emerging from the "Mapping the Du Bois Philadelphia Negro" (, which is directed by Dr. Amy Hillier, a professor in the University of Pennsylvania School of Design [faculty page]. This documentary was filmed by Haftom Khasai and Malik Neal and included collaboration, such as editing, by various students from the University of Pennsylvania and Haverford College. The video has no date that I could find but data on the Vimeo page indicated that it was uploaded on "Mon[day,] April 11, 2011."
     The documentary examined Philadelphia and the Seventh Ward during the 1890s when Du Bois conducted the research that resulted in his The Philadelphia Negro. Among those interviewed were Dr. Elijah Anderson, Mr. Jimmy Calnan, Ms. Veronica Hodges, the Hon. Michael Nutter, and Dr. Tukufu Zuberi. They are professors, a public official, and Philadelphians associated with the Seventh Ward. Interviewees discussed Du Bois and the significance of his research on African Americans, as well as the relevance of a DuBoisian approach to studying race in contemporary America. Calnan and Hodges provided insights into the Seventh Ward as they pertained to those who once lived there and those who currently live there now.
Accessible online video at
[Link added for 8-1-22]
Accessible online video at
[Alternate site for video at the online Encyclopedia of Greater Philadelphia] [Link updated for 8-1-22]
Du Bois was named Honorary Emeritus Professor of Sociology and Africana Studies on 17 February 2012 by the Board of Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania. Information is available from several online sources.
The Daily Pennsylvanian: "W.E.B. Du Bois receives honorary emeritus professorship" by Nicole Peinado (2-19-12)
Penn News: "Penn Conference Marks Honorary Professorship for W.E.B. Du Bois" (2-13-12)
Video with Dr. Tukufu Zuberi discussing "Dr. W.E.B. Du Bois Honorary Emeritus Professor"
"Honoring W.E.B. Du Bois 2012"—video containing excerpts of the presenta­tions delivered at a February 2012 conference, during which time Du Bois was named an Honorary Emeritus Professor of Sociology and Africana Studies by the University of Pennsylvania.
Penn Spotlights: "W. E. B. Du Boisí Profound Cultural Influence"
 For The Encyclopedia of Greater Philadelphia Steven McGrail wrote "Philadelphia Negro (The)" describing Du Bois's life and research in Philadelphia. He concludes:
 In stressing circumstance and contingency, Du Bois demonstrated structural inequities of which many whites were largely unaware, in the process leveling a powerful rejoinder to then prevalent arguments that used race theory, evolutionary science, and scriptural interpretation to justify discrimination. Du Bois hoped this work would be supplemented by similar studies of other cities, yet what began as a local study came, by default, to stand for all of urban Black America. Most of Du Boisís methods lay dormant, re-emerging only in the 1920s—in Chicago again, with the rise of the Chicago School of Sociology. A fair hearing for his forthright and formidable conclusions, meanwhile, waited longer still. Du Boisís study has enjoyed a renaissance in contemporary scholarsí investigations of poverty, race, and political economy, and The Philadelphia Negro continues to inform readers with its poignant representation of one of the great forgotten communities in modern American history, whose vitality, diversity, and challenges still linger in its pages.
The Encyclopedia of Greater Philadelphia is sponsored by The Mid-Atlantic Regional Center for the Humanities, Department of History, Rutgers University, Camden
On the Pennsylvania Methodist History Walking Tour is a stop which notes "W.E.B. Du Bois's Home during His Research Study". That stop is part of a larger tour commemorating the history of Methodism in Philadelphia, including the African Methodist Episcopal Church. The website and the accompanying booklet (which can be downloaded from the site) provides short textual notes and photographs for each of the stops. The booklet was written by Benjamin L. Hartley (no date and no publisher are listed). The note on Du Bois indicates that he respected Christian spirituality and the African Methodist Episcopal Church.
"The Philadelphia Negro" by H.V. Nelson. This is an entry in the Encyclopedia of Black Studies edited by Molefi Kete Asante and Ama Mazama (Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, 2004) and is available as part of a sample of entries starting with "P". Nelson provides a synopsis of the sociological significance of DuBois's The Philadelphia Negro, including the work's pioneering insights on social stratification among the African Americans of the Seventh Ward as well as the exhaustive interviewing methodology used by DuBois.
At the Sage Publications site [Scroll to pp.396-398 of the PDF file]
The Philadelphia Negro and the Smart Library on Children and Families. This series of web pages, produced by the National Institute for Social Science Information in conjunction with the Joblessness and Urban Poverty Research Program at the Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, examines various themes of The Philadelphia Negro, using data from the book.
Profile of The Philadelphia Negro by Robert W. Williams, your web site facilitator. Please note: to read more than the first 600 words of the article requires daily, monthly, or yearly membership at the Literary Encyclopedia.
Available online at The Literary Encyclopedia (posted 15 March 2006)
 The Economic Journal of December 1899, the periodical of the British Economic Association, published an anonymously written, brief notice of Du Bois's TPN in the "New Books" section (v.9 at p.684). The notice is presented verbatim below, reproducing its misspellings of Du Bois's name and "Negro" as well as the non-italicized book titles. Also, the text in the original was enclosed within square brackets.
DUBOIS (W. E. B.) and EATON (ISABEL). The Philadelphia Negro: a Social Study. With Introduction by Professor G. M. Lindsay. Boston: Ginn & Co. 8vo. $2 00.
[This interesting study is published for the University of Pennsylvania, under whose auspices the enquiry was made. It describes the whole range of the economic and social life of the American city negro [sic], as seen in Philadelphia,—employment, wages, social life, pauperism, and crime. Professor Dubois,[sic] himself partly of negro [sic] blood, is known as the author of a standard history of the Suppression of the African Slave Trade.]
P.684 of The Economic Journal at Hathi Trust Digital Library
 A brief review by William F. Blackman of The Philadelphia Negro, together with Booker T. Washington's The Future of the American Negro. It was published in the Yale Review (Vol. Ninth (May 1900): pp. 110-111), of which Blackman was a co-editor. The full text of the review is presented below verbatim and in its entirety:
The Philadelphia Negro. A Social Study. By W. E. Burghardt DuBois, Ph.D. Together with a special report on domestic service, by Isabel Eaton, A.M. Publications of the University of Pennsylvania; Series in Political Economy and Public Law. Philadelphia, published for the University, 1899---8vo, pp. xx, 520.
The Future of the American Negro. By Booker T. Washington. Boston, Small, Maynard & Co., 1899---16mo, pp. x, 244.
    The first of these works is not merely a credit to its author and to the race of which he is a member; it is a credit to American scholarship, and a distinct and valuable addition to the world's stock of knowledge concerning an important and obscure theme. It is the sort of book of which we have too few, and of which it is impossible that one should have too many. That the "negro problem" is among the gravest and most involved, and difficult, of American life, is increasingly obvious; it ought by this time to be equally obvious that we can derive no considerable help toward its solution from the sentimental or prejudiced writings which abound, both north and south, on the subject. Here is an inquiry, covering a specific field and a considerable period of time, and prosecuted with candor, thoroughness, and critical judgment, its results being interpreted with intelligence and sympathy. We have no space to report or discuss the contents of the work, but we have long held that it is in monographs like this that we shall be likely to find the most trustworthy help in solving our great racial problem. If a similar study could be made in a score of cities, in various parts of the country, and in particular rural districts of the south, a basis of accurate and detailed knowledge concerning the condition of the race would be laid, on which conclusion could safely be founded.
    Mr. Washington's work is not that of a scholar, but of a shrewd, sane and tactful leader of the people and administrator of affairs. He knows both races, and both sections of the country, and seeks to be a mediator between extreme opinions and programs. His book is a contribution, not to knowledge, but to that good temper and good sense which is perhaps of equal importance.
W. F. B.     
 Robert Williams's Note 1: "Negro" is not capitalized in the original text. Moreover, we might wonder about Du Bois's reaction to the tone of the review, which -- although laudatory of Du Bois' efforts -- did not fully escape a patronizing tenor.
R.W.'s Note 2: It can be observed that W.F. Blackman seemed to be in agreement with the research agenda that Du Bois had written about in his "Preface" to the 1899 edition of The Philadelphia Negro (TPN). With reference to TPN and his recent "Negroes of Farmville, Virginia" study [info], Du Bois wrote in TPN's Preface:
     It is my earnest desire to pursue this particular form of study far enough to constitute a fair basis of induction as to the present condition of the American Negro. If, for instance, Boston in the East, Chicago and perhaps Kansas City in the West, and Atlanta, New Orleans and Galveston in the South, were studied in a similar way, we should have a trustworthy picture of Negro city life. Add to this an inquiry into similarly selected country districts, and certainly our knowledge of the Negro would be greatly increased. The department of history and economics of Atlanta University, where I am now situated, is pursuing certain lines of inquiry in this general direction. I hope that funds may be put at our disposal for this larger and more complete scheme.
     Finally, let me add that I trust that this study with all its errors and shortcomings will at least serve to emphasize the fact that the Negro problems are problems of human beings; that they cannot be explained away by fantastic theories, ungrounded assumptions or metaphysical subtleties. They present a field which the student must enter seriously, and cultivate carefully and honestly. And until he has prepared the ground by intelligent and discriminating research, the labors of philanthropist and statesman must continue to be, to a large extent, barren and unfruitful.
R.W.'s Note 3: Washington's The Future of the American Negro can be downloaded in several formats at the Internet Archive [here].
Review's first page in the full issue of the periodical (at Google Books)
A brief comment on The Philadelphia Negro by Charles R. Anderson was published in The Dial: A Semi-Monthly Journal of Literary Criticism, Discussion, and Information, Vol. XXVIII, No. 335 (June 1, 1900). Henderson's laudatory one-paragraph comment was incorporated into his much larger review essay entitled "Social Discussion and Reform" (pp. 436-440), which covered a range of books by different authors. The passage below (from pp. 439-440) is the comment in its entirety:
     Very much of current discussion of the negro problem is wide of the mark because it is based on fragmentary observations and inadequate materials. There is great need of systematic and thorough local studies of the conditions of life under which colored people live in our great cities. A model for such studies is found in the brilliant essay of a colored student and teacher who has won distinction by his writings. Professor W. E. B. Du Bois has collected a vast amount of information in relation to the Philadelphia negro, his history, domestic relations, education, occupations, health, organized associations, crime, pauperism, social consideration and opportunities, and political outlook. Miss Isabel Eaton, fellow of the College Settlements' Association, has added a valuable report on the domestic service of the colored people. When similar local studies are made, as they ought to be made, in other cities, and in rural communities, the general plan of this investigation will be found very useful.
 Robert Williams's Note: "Negro" is not capitalized in the original text.
Comment's page in The Dial at Google Books  [About-This-Book Page],M1
Volume 28 of The Dial in full at the
An anonymous note in the Virginia School Journal (1896) announced that DuBois would be conducting research for the University of Pennsylvania (v.5,n.9 (November 1896): p.315). The note is presented here verbatim and in its entirety:
     Dr. W. E. Dubois, colored, [sic] is the first one of his race to be appointed to a fellowship in the University of Pennsylvania. He will be an assistant to Dr. Lindsay in his work in sociology, but will not be considered a member of the faculty, and will not lecture at the college. His work will consist of house to house investigations among the colored [sic] settlements, and the University authorities will receive the results of his investigations. Dr. Dubois was graduated from Harvard College several years ago, and he has studied in the German Universities.
"The Color Line" by H.M. Jenkins (1900) and published in the Friends' Intelligencer, v.57, n.2 (January 13, 1900): pp.28-29. In this short article Jenkins criticized employment discrimination against African Americans. He reached this conclusion:
     The manner in which the Negroes are shut out from employment is a large part of the explanation why many of them do not get on better. The question may fairly be asked, How can they be expected to get on, if they are not allowed to work like other people? The whites, as we all know, have a large percentage of failures, when every avenue of occupation is opened to them.
Jenkins discussed The Philadelphia Negro, citing some of the demographic data contained therein. He also wrote:
     A very strong presentation, though perfectly calm and dispassionate, is made in regard to this subject of Negro employment in northern cities by a Report, which has taken the form and bulk of a large volume, entitled "The Philadelphia Negro: a Social Study." The author is W. E. B. DuBois, Ph. D., himself one of the colored race. He was sometime an Assistant in the University of Pennsylvania, and is now Professor of History and Economics in Atlanta University, Georgia. The plan of the book was suggested by a Philadelphia Friend, interested for the advancement of the Colored People, Susan Parrish Wharton, and has been most intelligently carried out by Dr. DuBois, who has had the cordial support of the authorities of the University of Pennsylvania, under whose patronage the book appears.
     This book, let me say in brief, is a most interesting study of the subject to which it relates. It presents a vast array of facts and statistics. Any one who cares to know something accurately about the situation of the colored people of the city of Philadelphia should make it a point to examine Dr. DuBois's volume.
Available at Google Books  [About-this-book page],M1
"The Negro in Business" by Booker T. Washington (1901). He cited material from Du Bois' The Philadelphia Negro on the Black businesses in the city. Washington's article documents various cases of African American success in different enterprises. It was originally published in Gunton's Magazine, Vol. XX (March 1901): 209-219 [download page for the entire Volume XX at the Internet Archive].
In the Booker T. Washington Papers, edited by Louis R. Harlan and Raymond W. Smock (University of Illinois Press) [Du Bois cited, pp. 80-81] [Article: Vol. 6, pp. 76-84]
Lucy Maynard Salmon in Progress in the Household (1906) examined domestic service and its study. She praised the research conducted by Isabel Eaton that became part of TPN:
    The statistician, like the librarian, is also quick to create as well as to respond to the demand for information of a serious nature, and this has been shown in the growing recognition of the importance of domestic service as a field for statistical research. Among the most thorough of these statistical investigations is that carried on by Miss Isabel Eaton,recently fellow of the College Settlements' Association,in regard to negro domestic service in the seventh ward of Philadelphia.1 Miss Eaton has made an exhaustive study of one phase of the subject in a limited area, considering not only the number of negroes thus employed, but the methods of living, savings, and expenditures, amusements and recreations, length and quality of the service, conjugal condition, illiteracy, and health. The work has been done in a thoroughly scientific manner, and the results form an admirable presentation of negro service in a single ward of one city.  [pp.13-14]
[Footnote 1, bottom of p.14:]
   1 Isabel Eaton, "A Special Report on Domestic Service," in The Philadelphia Negro, by W. E. B. Du Bois. Publications of the University of Pennsylvania. Philadelphia, 1899.
Robert Williams's Note 1 (Citation): Salmon, Lucy Maynard. Progress in the Household. Boston: Houghton, Mifflin and Company, 1906.
Note 2: "Negro" and "Negroes" are not capitalized in the original text.
Quotation's first page in the book accessible via Google Books
[Salmon's book is also available at the Internet Archive: search results]
"The Sociology of Race in the United States" by Elijah Anderson and Douglas S. Massey. This is Chapter 1 of the Problem of the Century: Racial Stratification in the United States (Elijah Anderson [faculty page] and Douglas S. Massey [faculty page], editors; NY: Russell Sage Foundation, 2001). The authors argue for the importance of The Philadelphia Negro in the field of U.S. sociology:
 The trouble with the standard account of American sociologyís birth is that it happened not at the University of Chicago in the 1920s, but at the University of Pennsylvania in the 1890s; rather than being led by a group of classically influenced white men, it was directed by W. E. B. Du Bois, a German-trained African American with a Ph.D. from Harvard. His 1899 study, The Philadelphia Negro, anticipated in every way the program of theory and research that later became known as the Chicago School. Although not generally recognized as such, it represented the first true example of American social scientific research, preceding the work of Park and Burgess by at least two decades. Were it not for the short-sighted racism of Pennís faculty and administration, which refused to acknowledge the presence -- let alone the accomplishments of a black man or to offer him a faculty appointment, the maturation of the discipline might have been advanced by two decades and be known to posterity as the Pennsylvania School of Sociology. Instead, Du Bois went on to a distinguished career as a public intellectual, activist, and journalist, and the University of Chicago, not the University of Pennsylvania, came to dominate the field.
Available in HTML format (converted by
"Homage to DuBois: Revisiting the Problem of the Color Line." This anonymously reported news article summarizes a conference in 1999 on DuBois at the University of Pennsylvania. Although covering various aspects of DuBois' life and works, several comments relate to DuBois' study of The Philadelphia Negro and later analyses of the city by Elijah Anderson. Reported comments are by Drs. Elijah Anderson, Mary Frances Berry, James E. Bowman, and Fatimah L.C. Jackson.
In the The Pennsylvania Gazette, May-June 1999 Gazetteer
"Reclaiming a Du Boisian Perspective on Racial Attitudes" by Lawrence D. Bobo (faculty page) was published in The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science (March 2000, v.568, n.1; pp.186-202). Bobo returned to Du Bois's TPN in order to derive lessons for 21st Century sociological analyses of race. He wrote:
     In The Philadelphia Negro, Du Bois set out to provide a comprehensive analysis of Philadelphia's Seventh Ward, then the largest concentration of blacks in the city. He developed six interview and enumeration protocols. He rejected the reigning ideas in social science which would have faulted basic black capabilities for the impoverished condition of most blacks. Instead, he crafted a historically grounded portrait of blacks whose circumstances, by and large, had clear social or environmental roots. Although this is necessarily a compacted treatment, his analytical framework stressed the interplay of six factors: (1) a history of enslavement, servitude, and oppression; (2) demographic trends and compositional factors (for example, disproportion of women to men); (3) economic positioning and competition with free whites both native born and European immigrants; (4) racial prejudice and discrimination; (5) the resources, internal structure, dynamics, and leadership of the black community itself; and (6) moral agency and black self-determination. Of all these, the burden of slavery and the weak position of blacks in the economic structure were surely the primary factors in Du Bois's model. Du Bois was thus careful to not make prejudice the central or most important variable in his analysis. Yet the force of prejudice was ubiquitous and of unavoidable consequence in his analysis of the dynamics of race relations in Philadelphia.  [pp.188-189]
 Bobo concluded his essay as follows:
     A century ago, Du Bois published The Philadelphia Negro, a work now recognized as a sociological classic. He developed a highly detailed portrait of black social life in Philadelphia. Part of the legacy of his analysis has lost the theoretical holism which linked structural issues of the economy and labor market dynamics to more social psychological and microsocial issues of prejudice and interpersonal discrimination. Sociology would do well to revisit the model Du Bois established.  [p.198]
" (web site). Dr. Amy Hillier of the University of Pennsylvania [faculty page] is the director of the project "Mapping the Du Bois Philadelphia Negro". Its website states the purpose: "This research, education, and outreach project is dedicated to using new technology and archival data to recreate the survey W.E.B. Du Bois conducted of Philadelphia's Seventh Ward for his 1899 classic book, The Philadelphia Negro." In addition to other details about the project, there is an online mapping feature to view the recreations of DuBois's research using Geographic Information System (GIS) technology.
     Amy Hillier described the project as well as Du Bois's techniques and context in her "W.E.B. Du Bois and the Social Survey Movement: Recreating Seminal Survey Work from Primary Sources", which was published as Ch. 6 in PhillydotMap: The Shape of Philadelphia [TOC] (University of Pennsylvania: Cartographic Modeling Lab [CML], October 2009.)
Hillier's "W.E.B. Du Bois and the Social Survey Movement" (PDF: ~974 MB)
Dr. Marcus Hunter [faculty page] wrote "Black Philly after The Philadelphia Negro" and published it in Contexts, 13:1 (Winter 2014). Hunter summarized his research on African Americans in Philadelphia, especially in the area that was formerly the Seventh Ward — the ward Du Bois had studied. In the decades after the pioneering Philadelphia Negro, that ward and its residents witnessed urban transformations and tribulations. The area eventually became predominantly White (replete with historical markers highlighting its Black past). Dr. Hunter indicated how the African American residents had struggled against poverty, racial discrimination, and politicians intent on gentrification. The residents were not "passive witnesses of change", but in Hunter's terminology were "Black citymakers", a concept that complements Du Bois's own emphasis on Africana agency.
Available at the Contexts website (a publication of the American Sociological Association)
Dr. Marcus Hunter [faculty page] published "W.E.B. Du Bois and Black Heterogeneity: How The Philadelphia Negro Shaped American Sociology" in The American Sociologist, 46:2 (June 2015): pp.219-233. The document that he presents on his page is not paginated. Writes Dr. Hunter:
. . .Du Bois drew on the idea of heterogeneity, specifically within the urban context, to illustrate Black communities as complex and organized arrangements of a diverse though marginalized population. As Du Bois sought to show the Black community was diverse despite being otherwise thought of as homogeneous. Using the examples of Philadelphia Negroes, Du Bois demonstrated that the Black community is comprised of varying arrangements of diverse though equally racialized constituents and practices.
In so doing, Du Bois's analysis points to an idea of Black heterogeneity—the varied distinctions, perspectives, and peoples that constitute the Black community; thus Du Boisian heterogeneity theorizes the concept as imbued with a consequential mix of racial tensions and intraracial distinctions. Such factors give rise to complex civil racialized societies that are compelled to live alongside one another within and across urban America.
 In the concluding section, "Black Heterogeneity Matters", Hunter writes:
This article demonstrates that the various frameworks for class, politics, and religion emergent in Du Bois's The Philadelphia Negro rely heavily on the notion of heterogeneity to provide new sociological knowledge. Du Bois's use of heterogeneity demonstrates the importance and influence of the economic and political regimes of cities, religious diversity, and variations in social class while also affirming and asserting the importance of race, history, and Black agency. Furthermore, Du Bois demonstrates that issues of access rely on the sociologist's understanding and use of heterogeneity to analyze and refer to research subjects such as the "Philadelphia Negro."
Available at Dr. Hunter's page
"The Times and Life of W.E.B. Du Bois at Penn" by Greg Johnson [profile]. Johnson discusses in detail Du Bois's research study, The Philadelphia Negro. The original essay was posted on 2-18-2016 in Penn Today; the updated version was posted on 2-22-2019. Johnson covers the institutional and historical context of the project, Du Bois's sojourn in the Seventh Ward and his techniques of research, as well as some of his findings. The author also interviews various scholars today who have been inspired by Du Bois and his pioneering work in sociology: Camille Zubrinsky Charles, Eric Halperin, Amy Hillier, Chad Dion Lassiter, and Tukufu Zuberi, among others.
In Penn Today (published by the Office of University Communications)
[Defunct URL:​features/​times-and-life-web-du-bois-penn]
"A Strong Man to Run a Race: W.E.B. DuBois and the Politics of Black Masculinity at the Turn of the Century" by Ayumu Kaneko. Published in
The Japanese Journal of American Studies, Vol. 14 (2003): 105-122. Kaneko examines The Philadelphia Negro and other DuBoisian works (e.g. The Souls of Black Folk and Darkwater), as well as the Niagara Movement. Kaneko wishes to
 address the question of what racial and class relations DuBois's apparently pro-feminist discourse constructed. To answer ... the question requires us to regard masculinity as not fixed but fluid and constructed in relation to representations of woman, and to analyze how DuBois positioned his own elite black male agency through pro-feminist discursive practices.
At The Japanese Journal of American Studies [JJAS website]
[Note: This is a large PDF file of about 8 megabytes]
[The essay converted to HTML by Google]
A pre-print version of "A People's History of Leisure Studies: Old Knowl­edge, New Knowl­edge and The Phila­delphia Negro as a Founda­tional Text", written by Rasul A. Mowatt, Myron F. Floyd, and Kevin Hylton, is available via the website.
     The authors sketch a far-reaching overview of the scholarly study of leisure using primarily studies written in English or translated into English. They discuss the significance of Thorsten Veblen, Robert Parks, Jane Addams, and Charles S. Johnson, among others, on the field of leisure studies. The authors indicate that The Philadelphia Negro seems to be the first study of leisure activities of African Americans and also offers guidance on how to conduct research. Du Bois emphasized mixed methods, including
• door-to-door surveys seeking data as well as details about lived experiences;
• historical perspective via documents; and
• statistics derived from census data.
Du Bois, the authors indicate, also discussions the limitation of his methods. The authors argue that TPN should be a foundational text in leisure studies.
Preprint version [PDF] in browser-based reader application
Published article: International Journal of the Sociology of Leisure, v.1 (2018): pp.55-73, which is paywalled at
Uriel Serrano [web site], in his online essay, "The Philadelphia Negro: W.E.B. Du Bois and Community-based Research" (2018) examines the book in terms of the practices of that type of research. He considers Du Bois's The Philadelphia Negro to be "pioneering", a work that remains relevant to our study of contemporary social issues such as race and policing.
     As Serrano argues, Du Bois's project can inform community-based research (CBR). Although not using all of the practices CBR​—​Du Bois did not incorporate members of the community as part of the project​—​Serrano holds that the book provides insights into the various methodological dimensions of community-based research, as well as offers lessons on the institutional conditions that constrain such research. Du Bois employed a variety of methodological practices in The Philadelphia Negro, including participant observation, surveys, interviews, census data analysis, and historical studies. Serrano strongly suggests that book should be included in courses on the history of sociology, and in courses on methodology.
Section Culture: Newsletter of the ASA Culture Section, Vol. 30, Issue 1 (Winter 2018)
"W.E.B. Du Bois' Urban Sociology: Reflections on African American Quality of Life in Philadelphia" by Robert A. Wortham (Sociation Today, 6:1, Spring 2008). Wortham summarized The Philadelphia Negro and its abiding significance. In addition, he put some of the book's data through statistical analysis, reaching a conclusion that reinforced Du Bois's view that social class was significantly related to the mortality of African Americans in the Seventh Ward of Philadelphia. In his conclusion Wortham wrote:
  [W]hat are some of the lasting sociological contributions associated with this pioneering empirical study of urban life? In his classic 1938 study, "Urbanism as a Way of Life," Wirth identified size, density and heterogeneity as three fundamental identifying characteristics of urban society. While Du Bois did not directly address density issues in The Philadelphia Negro, he did investigate the size and the heterogeneous nature of Philadelphia's African American community. Distinct social classes within the Seventh Ward were specified, and Du Bois particularly addressed the circumstances of the "submerged tenth," a group comprised of the urban poor and criminal classes. This group appears to foreshadow Wilson's (1996; 1987) discussions of an urban "underclass" (Bobo, 2007).
 Du Bois also identified and evaluated additional structural factors impacting African American quality of life in urban settings, like organizational support networks, family structure, living conditions, and racial discrimination. However, rather than taking a "system-blame" or "culture-blame" approach to the study of social problems, Du Bois focused on the interaction between structural inequality and "social uplift." These social forces were perceived as being complimentary rather than mutually exclusive. [. . . .] Methodological triangulation is utilized to provide a comprehensive analysis of life in Philadelphia's Seventh Ward just before the turn of the nineteenth century. Census data, a survey of the Seventh Ward and ethnographic description were combined in this inductive study of a particular social group in a specific social environment.
 Within this seminal study, the reader encounters early formulations of the theory of ethnic succession, the role of economic enclaves in minority communities, a functional analysis of the Black Church and an awareness of the inverse association between mortality and social class. The Philadelphia Negro also provided a case study for demonstrating how quantitative and qualitative data analysis can be employed as complimentary research approaches.
 Robert Williams' Note 1: An Internet search for Louis Wirth's "Urbanism as a Way of Life" (American Journal of Sociology, 44:1 (July 1938): 1-24) may yield (un)expected dividends: e.g., via Google.
Note 2: Citations to Wilson and Bobo, as referenced in the text, are:
* Bobo, Lawrence. 2007. "Introduction." In The Philadelphia Negro, by W.E.B. Du Bois, xxv-xxx. New York: Oxford University Press.
* Wilson, William Julius. 1987. The Truly Disadvantaged: The Inner City, the Underclass, and Public Policy. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
* Wilson, William Julius. 1996. When Work Disappears. New York: Knopf.
"W.E.B. DuBois's Sociology: The Philadelphia Negro and Social Science" by Tukufu Zuberi [web site]. This is a freely accessible outline/summary of a full-length article (which is available via paid subscription). The full-length article was published in the The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, vol. 595, (September 2004).
Summary available online as a PDF file
A Statistical Inquiry into the Condition of the People of Colour, of the City and Districts of Philadelphia by Anonymous (Philadelphia: Printed by Kite & Walton,1849). While significant in its own right, DuBois's TPN was not the first effort at surveying African Americans in Philadelphia. He cited A Statistical Inquiry (ASI), which "under the direction of some members of the Society of Friends" conducted research in late 1847 into various demographic factors, like occupations, age groups, real estate holdings, and the number of free and enslaved Blacks. Indeed, DuBois referenced the data found in ASI as a way to understand the social development of African Americans in the city.
 Note 1: Within the text and in the footnotes DuBois cited ASI by the year 1848 (ex., pp. 200, 287, 304). In TPN's bibliography he specified the correct year of publication as 1849 (p. 421). Also notice that the book title spelled "Colour" so and not, as DuBois did, "Color".
Note 2: The following list presents the places in TPN where DuBois cited ASI; the list is extensive but not necessarily complete.
 TPN: p. 56 (sec. 13)  ::  ASI: p. 5
TPN: p. 80 (sec. 18)  ::  ASI: p. 10
TPN: pp. 142, 143 (sec. 24)  ::  ASI: pp. 17, 18
TPN: p. 180 (sec. 29)  ::  ASI: p. 12
TPN: p. 200 (sec. 32)  ::  ASI: pp. 29, 30
TPN: pp. 287-8 (sec. 44)  ::  ASI: p. 16
TPN: pp. 302-3 (sec. 45)  ::  ASI: pp. 32-33
TPN: pp. 303-4 (sec. 45)  ::  ASI: pp. 34-41
In the Daniel Murray Pamphlet Collection at the Library of Congress  [Bibliographic Information page]
At Google Books  [About-this-book page]
Isabel Eaton's "Receipts and Expenditures of Certain Wage-Earners in the Garment Trades" (Journal of the American Statistical Association, Vol. IV, New Series, No. 30 (June 1895): pp. 135-180).
     Prior to her research on African American domestic workers for The Philadelphia Negro Isabel Eaton had studied urban workers. In this particular article Eaton documents the conditions under which workers in Chicago and New York labored in various types of clothing factories, examining daily and piece-work wages and the long hours of labor as well as unsafe working conditions -- many in places she called "sweat shops". She interviewed union leaders, toured factories, and used government reports. Eaton examined the average expenditures on rent, clothing, and food. She noted the large numbers of garment workers who were in debt (pp. 168, 176) and the recent increases in the average living costs calculated as a percentage of average wages (p. 142). Eaton concluded that the workers in the New York and Chicago garment trades were "suffering chiefly two evils: first, high rents paid for unsanitary houses; second, low wages for too long a day's work." (p. 178). It can also be observed that she did not focus on the race of the workers she studied for this article.
Eaton's article is accessible at Google Books  [1st page]
[Note: a few data tables may be unclear]
[Other scanned versions: Alternate A; Alternate B]
"The Negroes of Philadelphia" by Richard R. Wright, Jr. Wright provided a short summary of African American life and conditions in Philadelphia, using categories similar to Du Bois' The Philadelphia Negro. Wright gathered data from the U.S. Census of 1900 and from personal observations and interviews. He published it in two articles in 1907.
At the Ohio Historical Society site, "The African-American Experience in Ohio, 1850-1920" [home page]. The URLs point to start pages where the articles are available as separate page images.
* Wright, Richard R. 1907a. "The Negroes of Philadelphia," Part I. African Methodist Episcopal Church Review, 24:1 (July): 20-35.
* Wright, Richard R. 1907b. "The Negroes of Philadelphia," Part II. African Methodist Episcopal Church Review, 24:2 (October): 136-147.
The Negro in Pennsylvania: A Study in Economic History by Richard R. Wright, Jr. (Philadelphia: A.M.E. Book Concern Printers, 1912). Referring in several places to The Philadelphia Negro, Wright's geographic scope spanned the state of Pennsylvania. He concentrated chiefly on the economic aspects of African Americans, such as occupations, property ownership, crime, and poverty. He utilized data primarily from the 1900 U.S. Census. Wright noted the overall economic and educational progress achieved by African Americans in the state.
At the Internet Archive's American Library Collection [PDF & DjVu formats]  [Download page]

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