Digital Harrisburg Fall 2017 Two-Month Review

Hello, Rachel from the Digital Harrisburg team here again!

A screenshot of the Arc GIS map for the 1910 Enumeration Districts for Harrisburg


Two months into Fall Semester, and our project is making progress in numerous different directions.

On my side, I began with some data refinement from the 1900 census. Then, I moved onto my main project so far this semester; inputting the enumeration districts for five decades: 1900, 1910, 1920, 1930, and 1940. According to, an enumeration district is “the area assigned to an enumerator in the federal census. Enumeration districts do not cross the boundaries of a county, township, incorporated place, ward, or other political subdivision.”

Using data from the census records, I researched the included streets to determine the boundaries of the various enumeration districts.

Adding the enumeration districts will allow us to pattern demographic data over a period of four decades.

I will continue my work on the 1900 data set refining data and preparing it for dissemination by summer 2018.


Two other members of our team, who just started with us this semester, are working on other projects.

An example of Brian and Arion’s current work gathering data from the 1940 census.

Brian Peters, a senior History and Spanish major:

“I am filling out data from the 8th ward in Harrisburg from 1940 census data. I am compiling it in such a way that it can be transferred over to our GIS system.” He and Sarah, a long-term member of our team, also worked on a postcard that invites collaboration from the local public. Hopefully, recipients of the postcard will share the story of their Harrisburg homes, for then we would have a personal component to our digital project.

Arion Dominique, a junior History Education major:

He is working on the same project as Brian, but from the opposite direction. With over a dozen wards to cover, each took half of them to work on. He is also part of the Spaces of Fear (also called Spaces of Refuge) research group, which tracks racial conditions of various years in the 20th century. This includes discriminatory deeds of houses, the Green Book demarcating safe places for African-Americans to visit, and more.

Along with this, we are beginning to develop a new website of our own! Kelly Hopkins, a senior Computer Science major, is taking on this project for one of her major classes. This is an exciting development for our team, for we are Digital Harrisburg, and a well-organized and functioning website is key.


We have had a great semester so far, and as we continue to develop and implement ideas, the project will only become more exciting.


2 thoughts on “Digital Harrisburg Fall 2017 Two-Month Review

  1. Rachel,

    As a community member of MC and actively following students work on this project will you be compiling a summary analysis of demographics that cover the years of 1900 through 1940 by ward and giving any analysis of changes in demographics or such? Also, how much change took place by precinct and far reaching that census data does not show would be to know voter registration party affiliation, I know beyond the scope of your project would be something the City / County may have record summaries.

    A challenging project to look at Harrisburg makeup and changes over those decades. As one who was born in 1943 I would like to know what the facts show vs. the perceptions of family members who lived in that era where those stories myth or fact.

    Look forward to you and teams analysis.

    Sincerely, Earl Henry

    On Tue, Nov 14, 2017 at 10:56 AM, Digital Harrisburg wrote:

    > rw1279 posted: “Hello, Rachel from the Digital Harrisburg team here again! > Two months into Fall Semester, and our project is making progress in > numerous different directions. On my side, I began with some data > refinement from the 1900 census. Then, I ” >

  2. Hello Mr. Henry!

    Thank you so much for your comment.

    In January term, my class in Digital History will be doing neighborhood analysis and histories between 1900 and 1940. Do you have a particular neighborhood that you are interested in finding information about?

    I’ll be sure to mention your question to the rest of the team and see who is interested in running the analysis by ward.

    Thank you for your active following of our project!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.