Foundations of the Modern World HIS 1102 ONLINE

Pfizer & Erhart: Brooklyn as Center of Immigrant Entrepreneurship


Activity Description: Provide a brief description of the activity.

In this activity the students will find the locations from which Charles Pfizer and Charles Erhart developed their pharmaceutical empire. They will find on a map the site of their first production plant in Williamsburg, but also locate their place of birth in Germany (Ludwigsburg), and place to which they return for business and family purposes.


Learning Goals: What do you aim to achieve with this activity?

Place, Persons and Innovation

To Discover the Role of Pfizer and Erhart’s Immigrant Roots and Roots Revisited;

To Chart Immigrant Entrepreneurship

To Define Crucial Junctures (Civil War) and Entrepreneurship

To Note the Changes and Possibilities (e.g. Old Pfizer Factory in Williamsburg)


Timing: At what point in the lesson or semester do you use this activity? How much classroom time do you devote to it? How much out-of-class time is expected?

This activity will take place from the 10th till the 12th week of the course, covering the period of about 1848 to 1900


Logistics: What preparation is needed for this activity? What instructions do you give students? Is the activity low-stakes, high-stakes, or something else?

The preparation will entail consulting several Internet Sources, such as:

Pfizer Company History:

Mathew Brady:

Civil War – Voices from Brooklyn:

Ratzer Map:

Curbed NY:

Instructions will include suggested online materials from the Brooklyn Historical Society


The activity will be low-stakes, designed for students to further develop an interest in ‘all things Brooklyn’, which in this context would entail immigrant history, social history, entrepreneurship:  historical examples and current possibilities


Assessment: How do you assess this activity? What assessment measures do you use? Do you use a VALUE rubric? If not, how did you develop your rubric? Is your course part of the college-wide general education assessment initiative?

Grading criteria will be Pass/Fail.

The best activities will be included in Open Lab course link for HIS 1102 Online.


Reflection: How well did this activity work in your classroom? Would you repeat it? Why or why not? What challenges did you encounter, and how did you address them? What, if anything, would you change? What did students seem to enjoy about the activity?



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