The set of over 50 maps available here is my attempt to give you a graphic way to explore three stories:
  • The way the U.S. changed during the period we're studying, i.e. between 1832 & 1855.

  • Where the authors we read were throughout this period, what they were doing, and how their lives intersected with each other.

  • And the relationship between these two stories -- i.e. how the authors' lives look when plotted against the larger national background.

  • Clicking on any of the dates at left will take you to the maps for that year. You'll start with a map of the U.S., from two wonderful online archives of historic maps: the
    LIBRARY OF CONGRESS MAP COLLECTION and the DAVID RUMSEY MAP COLLECTION.

    On each U.S. map are oval icons representing individual authors. These show you where the authors were, and by clicking on them you'll pop up windows allowing you to see what the writers were doing in that year. In addition, since so much of the "American Renaissance" took place in New England, on most U.S. maps there's a purple rectangle around that region. Clicking on it will pop up a larger scale map, with its own clickable author icons. Try it on this sample, from the 1838 map:

    CLOSE UP OF NEW ENGLAND HERMAN MELVILLE EDGAR ALLAN POE FREDERICK DOUGLASS WALT WHITMAN
    In addition, some of the New England maps have a
    C on them. That stands for Concord, which you might call the epicenter of the period we're studying. Clicking on the C will pop up an even larger scale map of the Massachusetts village that, for example, both Emerson and Thoreau called home, and where Hawthorne lived too.

    As one other resource, the 1843 map, by S. A. Mitchell, contains population tables based on the 1840 census. They're outlined in
    purple too, which means you can click on them to pop up an enlargement and see where the rest of the country was living at that time.

    KEY
      DICKINSON   DOUGLASS   EMERSON
      HAWTHORNE   LONGFELLOW   MELVILLE   POE
      STOWE   THOREAU   WHITMAN CONCORD
    CLOSE UP