Mapping Everyday Life: Digital Harlem, 1915-1930

“Mapping Everyday Life: Digital Harlem, 1915-1930,” Digital History Seminar, Institute of Historical Research, University of London, January 8, 2013

Digital Harlem is the online form of a project to explore everyday life in America’s leading black neighbourhood in the 1920s. It grew from a desire for a more detailed understanding of Harlem as a place and from a concern to find ways to examine a large and diverse set of archival and published sources. The site employs a database that integrates a diverse range of material on the basis of geographical location, and connects that material with a real estate map of the neighborhood overlaid on Google Maps.

The site is dynamic, allowing the results of users’ searches for events, places and individuals to be displayed on the map, searches to be limited in various ways, including by date, and different searches to be layered on the same map to allow comparisons and show change over time.

The site promotes a spatial analysis that highlights the variety of different places that made up the neighborhood, and locating the events and individuals found in 1920s Harlem in the context of those places, capturing something of the complexity of everyday life.

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