For the past few months, first at HILT and then at Davidson, I’ve been working to clean and process the Bellevue Almshouse Dataset. The data is not quite ready to go live – I’m still writing data dictionaries and README files – but I recently got to sit in on a demo of Tableau, and thought I’d use it as an excuse to visualize some of the attributes of the data that I find most compelling – the relationship between the professed (or attributed) “disease” of almshouse inmates and the site within New York’s public health system to which they were sent. I have an idea about the influx of Irish immigrants in the nineteenth century forcing the development of a more robust public health infrastructure, but in order to get at the significance of institutional changes in the post-1848 period, I need to have a much better sense of what happened in the first half of the 1840s.
So I built a thing! A thing that visualizes the relationship between time, site and disease: