Movable maps

In trying to explain the set of feelings I have about my impending move west, I find myself frequently using the phrase “I am deeply, deeply, natally from New Jersey.”  In saying that, I am telling a little bit of a fib (I was born in New York City, but quickly thereafter transported to Montclair, NJ) but the spirit of the claim is true.  On my mother’s side of my family, people emigrated to America…

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Fire! July 19th, 1845 – The Financial District

On July 19th, 1845, New York City caught fire.  It started in a whale oil warehouse in lower Manhattan and spread quickly, eventually engulfing warehouses full of explosives.  The fire burned for over eight hours, and when it was finally put out, 30 people had died. The fire was commemorated in popular prints in the 1880s, two of which currently held by the New York Public Library:   I came across the fire while trying…

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These are a few of my favorite maps

I’m putting together an aspirational syllabus for a digital humanities/mapping course, and have been thinking about my favorite maps, and why they work so well.  Here is a very-not-complete list of my current greatest hits: Slave Revolt in Jamaica, 1760-1761: a cartographic narrative. This is, by far, my favorite digital mapping project.  I’ve seen Vincent Brown speak on it, and I was quite impressed by his articulation of why we need a map like this…

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Google map engine and Charleson donors

Although the Google map engine API is meant for businesses, there’s a lite version for non-business map geeks.  I like this tool because it’s easy to embed a lot of data into the map.  Here’s a quick version of the Charleston famine donors map that I’d previously made just using Google maps and dropping “pins” in places where donors were located: All of these donations were printed in Charleston newspapers, and when I first started…

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On starting new projects

I’m deep in the next-year’s-research planning phase of the summer, which is mostly comprised of figuring out what other donor communities I want to look at for the book manuscript.  I chose sites for the dissertation largely based on news production – locales in which a lot of news was being produced, reproduced and consumed – but for the book I’ve been thinking about how to better center the experiences of non-elite donors, which means…

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100 Years of Isis

For those history of science types out there, I just finished working on a project with David Hubbard, Anouk Lang, Kathleen Reed and Lyndsay Troyer for the (now completed) IVMOOC on the History of Science Society’s journal, Isis.  We ended up with a visualization that tracked changes in authors’ locations from 1913-1937 to 1988-2012, and also mapped the dominant themes in Isis article titles from 1913 to the present.  There’s probably still a lot to…

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Famine news in Indian Territory

The map I use as a header is one of my favorite nineteenth-century images, because it shows transportation networks, both across the Atlantic and within North America.  While it’s instructive to see the various stops that information made as it crossed the ocean, moved up and down the coast, and into the American interior, the best thing about the map, for me, is that I can do things like this:

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