[ISHMap-List] data mapping in the US Civil War

Joel Kovarsky joel at theprimemeridian.com
Mon May 26 14:16:03 CEST 2014

This piece by Susan Schulten, "A Mysterious Map of Louisiana," appeared 
in the 25 May 2014 _NY Times_ and is accessible at: 
. From the article:

    "...the idea of mapping data in the United States can actually be
    traced to the Civil War. Earlier posts in Disunion have discussed
    the maps of slavery generated by the United States Coast Survey. At
    the same time, the Census Office (also part of the Treasury
    Department) was experimenting with maps of not just one but multiple
    types of data. These were designed to aid the Union war effort, but
    perhaps more importantly to plan for Reconstruction. ...

    ...The map contains almost no environmental information save for the
    river systems and a few railroads. Even roads are omitted, truly
    unusual for any 19th-century map.

    Instead, the emphasis is on parish boundaries, within which are
    listed free and slave populations alongside data about resources,
    from swine to ginned cotton. While this population data would have
    been available as early as 1862, the agricultural data was only
    published in 1864. With this information, officers and
    administrators moving through the state could locate the richest
    parishes, the largest sources of labor and the easiest means of
    river and rail transportation. ..."

Prof. Schulten has posted a number of articles within this series: 
http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/author/susan-schulten/ . Also 
recommended is the companion website to her last book, _Mapping the 
Nation: History and Cartography in Nineteenth Century America_: 
http://www.mappingthenation.com/ .

                  Joel Kovarsky

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