Monday, April 01, 2019

Washington D.C. in 1823

The Center for Digital Research in the Humanities is attempting to map who lived in 1820's Washington D.C.. Their interactive map Early Washington, D.C. uses data from the 1822 city directory to map the names, occupations and homes of people living in the city in the early part of the 19th century. Using the map you can explore who was living where in 1820's D.C. and what jobs they did.

The 1822 city directory includes details on the home and business addresses of about 2,000 people living and working in Washington D.C.. The 1820 census recorded 13,000 people living in the city, so the map shows a little over 10% of the population in 1820's D.C.. 'Early Washington D.C.' shows the locations of the city's residents on top of a vintage map of D.C.. This map is S. A. Elliot's 1822 Plan of the City of Washington from the Library of Congress Maps Collection.

'Early Washington D.C.' was created as part of the 'O Say Can You See: Early Washington D.C., Law and Family' project. This project is documenting the challenges to slavery in early Washington D.C.. As part of this project it is collecting and digitizing documents from the early 19th century, including the city directories.

If you enjoy learning about how people lived and work in the 19th century then you might also be interested in the New York Public Library's NYC Space/Time Directory. The library are calling this project 'a digital time-travel service for New York City'. The project is using historical maps, photographs, newspapers, business directories, literary references, census data, and much more in order to help create 'a searchable atlas of New York City's past'.

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