January 18, 2022

University of Richmond Receives $750,000 Mellon Foundation Grant to Develop Digital Atlas of U.S. History

From the The Collegian (Student Paper at U. of Richmond):

The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation has awarded the University of Richmond’s Digital Scholarship Lab (DSL) a three-year, $750,000 grant to develop a digital atlas of American history.

The DSL, which opened in 2007, is a digital humanities center that works to digitize historical research, thereby making it more accessible to historians, students and the public.

Since then, the members of this small organization have tackled a series of historical projects. The “Visualizing Emancipation” initiative offers a geographic perspective of slavery’s end during the Civil War, while “Voting America” maps presidential elections since 1840 and congressional elections since 1992. Members have also engineered “Redlining Richmond,” which illustrates residential security grades that the government assigned to neighborhoods in Richmond during the Great Depression.

Now, with this grant from the Mellon Foundation, the DSL team is taking on a new project: the digitization of Charles O. Paullin’s 1932 “Atlas of the Historical Geography of the United States.”


The atlas features five maps that illustrate rates of travel by depicting the time it took to move from New York to other parts of the country during the years 1800, 1830, 1857 and 1930. When viewed together, these maps show how the development of roads, canals, railroads and air travel compressed the country.

Though the maps in the atlas are not able to be adapted, the digital representation will combine all five maps into one, offering a more comprehensive explanation of how infrastructural developments revolutionized travel throughout America.

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Direct to Other DSL Projects
A must visit site to find several useful U.S. history resources.

About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.