GeneaGems aren’t, by definition, one of a dozen similar websites. They are unique and today’s GeneaGem, Mapping the Nation, is unique. Susan Schulten authored a book titled Mapping the Nation: History and Cartography in Nineteenth Century America in 2013.
Susan Schulten’s book covers the history of map making in the United States and how maps serve as tools both for geographic education and for dealing with political, social and economic issues.
Her companion to the book, the Mapping the Nation website is a free, hands-on opportunity to view a multitude of maps that cover the 19th growth of America.
The website provides viewing choices: Browse Images, By Chapter, By Creator, and Chronologically.
1. The Graphic Foundations of American History
2. Capturing the Past Through Maps
3. Disease, Expansion and the Rise of Environmental Mapping
4. Slavery and the Origin of Statistical Cartography|
5. The Cartographic Consolidation of America
Chronologically is sub-divided into the time periods of 1811-1840, 1841-1860, 1861-1870, 1871-1880 and 1881-1932
There are so many different types and purposes for the maps that it is impossible to list them all. One map of a portion of Virginia was traced in 1828 to practice penmanship. Another shows climate patterns, while others provide visual statistics, a view of cotton and slave populations and the Irish population in 1872. These are just of handful of all the types of maps to be found here.
Maps are a terrific visual teacher. If you have an interest in United States history in the 19th century or want to learn more about your 19th century ancestors’ lives, set aside a hour, a day, a week or however much time to want to explore Mapping the Nation. It’s a fun, education website that definitely deserves a place on my GeneaGem list.