From Mayor to Chair

This past week, I have spent several hours at the Dauphin County Historical Society researching Vance McCormick. At the start of this research project, I did not know much about McCormick. From our class reading of City Contented, City Discontented, I knew McCormick was the Mayor of Harrisburg from 1902-1905, and one of the influential members of the … Continue reading From Mayor to Chair

Harrisburg on the Map: An Update on the US Census Project

As students have noted recently (here, here, and here), everyone feels a sense of accomplishment and relief in bringing to completion the “City  Social” U.S. Census data project for the digital history class. What students have been able to accomplish in the last six weeks is truly remarkable both on an historical and logistical level. … Continue reading Harrisburg on the Map: An Update on the US Census Project

The Playground of History–The Archives

As our Digital History class has been finishing the last portion of our City Social Project, we have been simultaneously working on the City Beautiful Project. The City Beautiful Project involves research at two different archives in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania: the State Archives and the Dauphin County Historical Archives. Within each of our respective groups, we will research … Continue reading The Playground of History–The Archives

A Glimpse at a Past People

In our Digital History class, we devoted many hours to our City Social project. Certainly all students and faculty have spent many hours with the data. Whether its been plugging in thousands of segments of information, checking for mistakes on both the original census and the new data for our spreadsheets, peer reviewing fellow students' data, … Continue reading A Glimpse at a Past People

From City Social to City Beautiful

As many students have already posted, our Digital History class is currently working on two different projects related to the history of Harrisburg and its past residents, which are “City Social” and “City Beautiful”. Each of these projects is our way of getting to know more about this city and its history. The first project … Continue reading From City Social to City Beautiful

What Can We Extrapolate?

For those that have been keeping up with our posts, you probably have noticed that we have finished entering census data. It has been an extremely tiring and exhaustive process for each of us in the class to digitize at least twenty sheets of census records. As we came to an end, there was a … Continue reading What Can We Extrapolate?

Practical Applications of Census Data

We have spent many weeks working on digitizing census data, tediously comparing spreadsheets and meticulously analyzing the entries. But the question remains as to what can be done with this data? What is the point of digitizing this information? Digitizing this census data opens doors to obtaining many different types of information. As you know, … Continue reading Practical Applications of Census Data

We Can See the Finish Line of the City Social Project

Finishing the digitization of 20 sheets of the Harrisburg, Pennsylvania census records from 1900 felt like a huge accomplishment for all of us in Messiah’s Digital History class. Ancestry.com had given us a huge head start since they had already transcribed twelve of the twenty-five fields that we wanted for our project (see The Best of Times, … Continue reading We Can See the Finish Line of the City Social Project

Why I Love Digital Harrisburg

The Digital Harrisburg Project has done much to rejuvenate the culture of the History Department here at Messiah College.  As chair of the Department, I am excited about this initiative for several reasons: 1.  It allows our students to "do history."  So often college history majors sit passively as their professors lecture at them.  Since … Continue reading Why I Love Digital Harrisburg

The Allure of the Eighth Ward

Transcribing thousands of census records for Messiah College’s Digital History class can be tedious at times, and I often found myself in the habit of thinking of Harrisburg’s citizens in 1900 in terms of wards and districts rather than as families and individuals. It is all too easy to merely skim the information and forget … Continue reading The Allure of the Eighth Ward