Eastern Apps: Visualizing Historic Prison Data

I held a Digital Humanities Fellowship at the American Philosophical Society over the month of July 2017, working to build interactive visualisations from the first Admission Books of the Eastern State Penitentiary. The admission books had been transcribed over the previous years by APS volunteers Michelle Ziogas and Kristina Frey and curated into datasets by Scott Ziegler and Bayard Miller, of the APS Technology Department. See … Continue reading Eastern Apps: Visualizing Historic Prison Data

Finding the Hadrosaurus

In the spring of 2017 I worked with MA students Sam Christensen and Kate Lenart to create a collection of interactive maps detailing the excavation of the Hadrosaurus folkii skeleton, the first complete dinosaur skeleton every discovered. This project was coordinated in partnership with Scott Ziegler and Bayard Miller at the American Philosophical Society. See the full project here. Continue reading Finding the Hadrosaurus

Mountains and Memorials

Yesterday, Andrea Eidinger tweeted a post about Vimy Peak in Waterton Lakes National Park, in Southern Alberta. The post appeared on Retroactive, the government of Alberta’s blog for historic places, to mark the centenary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge. Being a First World War historian who grew up in Calgary and spent most weekends hiking up the peaks of Kananaskis Country, I knew of a handful … Continue reading Mountains and Memorials

Recruiting Footprints 2: Scattered Thoughts

In my previous post, I talked about some maps that I made using Leaflet, a JavaScript library, to map the enlistment footprints of four battalions in the Canadian Expeditionary Force. The goal of the maps was to compare the enlistment patterns of ethnically-defined battalions, such as the 223rd (Canadian Scandinavian) Battalion and the 233rd (Canadiens-Français du Nord-Ouest) Battalion, against the enlistment patterns of local battalions raised in … Continue reading Recruiting Footprints 2: Scattered Thoughts

Recruiting Footprints 1: A Certain Cultural Gravitas

Scottish communities in Canada rallied to the imperial war effort by forming Scottish battalions in the Canadian Expeditionary Force. As explained in a previous post, these battalions relied heavily on the hallmarks of Scottish culture. Members of these battalions would march in their kilts, often accompanied by the skirl of their regimental pipe band, while recruiting posters often relied on images of soldiers in kilts. Historians … Continue reading Recruiting Footprints 1: A Certain Cultural Gravitas

Letter Rip

At the beginning of the year, I resolved to experiment more with Gephi to explore the possibilities of network analysis in historical research. Prompted largely by the need to organize some classroom activities for my course on the First World War, I delved back into the Canadian Images and Letters Project (CLIP) to scale up my efforts. In my first attempt, I explored the letters of … Continue reading Letter Rip

Hands Across the Sea: Irish and Scottish Battalions in the AIF and CEF

Originally posted on the Four Nations History Network Blog on 8 February 2016. In December 1915, Reverend J.S. MacPherson of Morphett Vale, South Australia, wrote to the State War Council proposing to raise battalions for the Australian Imperial Force (AIF) “representing the National Societies, such as the Caledonian, Hibernian, Welsh and Cornish.”[1] A little over one year into the First World War, voluntary enlistments were tapering off … Continue reading Hands Across the Sea: Irish and Scottish Battalions in the AIF and CEF

Hashtag Commemoration

It’s been fun to observe the centenary of the First World War through twitter and other social media. These forms of communication allow people to experience and share commemorative events in new ways. Attendees at ceremonies can broadcast their thoughts, perspectives, and reactions and people unable to attend the ceremonies in person can use social media to participate from the other side of the world. Tapping … Continue reading Hashtag Commemoration

Mapping Patriotism (sort of)

I’m prepping some GIS workshops, so I needed some data that workshop participants could map as part of an exercise. I could just make up some random numbers but it would be much more effective to demonstrate the power of GIS if I used some actual data that could reveal how space and place should factor into historical analysis. The problem is that I haven’t … Continue reading Mapping Patriotism (sort of)

Loggers, not Fighters

As part of Black History Month, Canada Post issued a new stamp to commemorate No 2. Construction Battalion. The battalion was formed as an all-Black labour unit of the Canadian Expeditionary Force (CEF) in 1916 to address the persistent exclusion of African Canadian volunteers by Canadian recruiting officers. The No. 2 Construction Battalion is often celebrated as a stepping-stone toward racial equality in Canada because … Continue reading Loggers, not Fighters