Departmental Papers (City and Regional Planning)

Document Type

Journal Article

Date of this Version



Copyright Sage Publications. Postprint version. Published in Journal of Planning History, Volume 2, Issue 1, 2003, pages 3-24.


The lending record of the Home Owners’ Loan Corporation (HOLC) has received little attention compared with HOLC’s residential security maps. Specifically, the extent to which HOLC practiced racial and ethnic discrimination in the process of making and servicing more than a million loans to homeowners during the Depression has not been carefully examined. Using primary sources including HOLC publications, newspaper articles, 1930 census data, and mortgage records from Philadelphia, this research shows that HOLC did make loans to African Americans, Jews, and immigrants. Evidence suggests, however, that HOLC supported racial segregation in the process of reselling properties acquired through foreclosure.



Date Posted: 05 October 2006

This document has been peer reviewed.