By Chris Graham
Greenback America Guest Curator
Mike and I had the pleasure of attending a seminar, “Civil War and Digital History,” at the John L. Nau III Center for Civil War History at the University of Virginia. We sat in the room with some of our best Civil War historians and saw presentations on a variety of digital projects. Some are mapping and visualizations based on data sets, some are digital essays and archival projects, and some are student projects. (The later made me nostalgic for the classroom.)
Stephen Berry from the University of Georgia presented CSI: Dixie, a statistical analysis and interpretation of 1583 coroner’s reports from six South Carolina counties for the years 1800-1900, examining what the “dead them” and tell “the dying us.”
Scott Nesbit, also of the University of Georgia, reviewed Mapping Occupation.
Robert K. Nelson talked about several projects at the University of Richmond’s Digital Scholarship Lab, including Mining the Dispatch, and Visualizing Emancipation. (See the DSL’s newest project, Redlining Richmond.)
William Blair explored the successes and failures of digitizing and archiving various collections of Civil War letters in Pennsylvania for The People’s Contest: A Civil War Era Digital Archiving Project.
Paul Quigley and Kurt Luther from the Virginia Center for Civil War Studies at Virginia Tech talked about their Mapping the Fourth of July in the Civil War Era.
Jeffrey McClurken talked about doing digital projects in the classroom, including Fredericksburg, Stafford, and Spotsylvania Historical Markers.
Lorien Foote, James Ambuske, Liz Varon, and Will Kurtz also presented on works-in-progress and digital sites soon to be unveiled.
Greenback America is exploring ways we can contribute to digital scholarship, and have ideas about ways to map the “greenback zone” through National Bank charters and bank capitalization records. Seeing the spread of the zone—where it goes, and where it doesn’t go—will make a far greater impression than just reading about it.