A Handsome Atlas: 19th Century Data Visualizations
September 12, 2012 2:47 PM   Subscribe

Rank of states and territories in population at each census: 1790 - 1890
Political History (Supremecy of Parties and Popular Vote)
Insanity (1870)
and more at
A Handsome Atlas: The Amazing and Incredible Statistical Atlases of the United States of America compiled in the final decades of the Nineteenth Century. [via projects]
posted by carsonb (11 comments total) 29 users marked this as a favorite

 
They used to count idiots.
posted by tommasz at 2:50 PM on September 12, 2012


Handsome Atlas is a great site, lots of interesting stuff! I love this type of old-school hand-crafted graphical info (I have a few hanging in my apt). Thanks for the link.
posted by BlackLeotardFront at 2:59 PM on September 12, 2012


Holy cow -- in terms of map/data visualization, this skips straight over handsome and right into pornographic lust I'm just barely exaggerating when I say I was drooling; if I hadn't closed my mouth, I may have.

It's all so great, and then I get to:


CHART
SHOWING THE AGGREGATE NUMBER OF
IDIOTS
AND THE PROPORTION OF MALES AND FEMALES,
WHITE OR COLORED, NATIVE OR FOREIGN


and it's simultaneously so amusing to me and so heart-breaking. And that's just the words.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 3:10 PM on September 12, 2012


Oh hey that's mine!

My favorite part is browsing the images for eye candy, but then getting drawn into the narrative. What's been going on in America, how things have changed since then, all of that. The way they're constantly calling out the Irish, for example, or how certain religious sects I've never even heard of once covered the country.
it's simultaneously so amusing to me and so heart-breaking.
I'm contemplating a "historical wtf" tag to call out all of the awkwardly inappropriate but historically accurate bits. Relations of race and nationality to mortality reads like picking between dwarves, elves and humans in the RPG of America.
The English and Welsh ... [have] comparative immunity from General diseases, both of the Febrile and the Constitutional Groups.
Pick an Englishman to get a +5 CON bonus!

If you're interested in the modern day, I'd like to give a shout out to the Census Atlas of the United States, which is what the Census Bureau put out from the 2000 Census. You can get it as a free PDF, and has beautiful beautiful charts and maps inside. Especially of note are comparisons of where first-generation immigrants lived a hundred years ago vs. claims of ancestry today.
posted by soma lkzx at 3:30 PM on September 12, 2012 [10 favorites]


Turning potentially-useful datasets into useless "info-graphics" isn't an invention of the 21st century?!
posted by anewnadir at 4:26 PM on September 12, 2012


Well, there goes the rest of the afternoon....
posted by mule98J at 5:07 PM on September 12, 2012


It's amazing how long Iowa was the 10th most populous state- as recently as 1900 it was 10th and California was 21st. You needed a lot of folks on the farm back then.
posted by Esteemed Offendi at 7:25 PM on September 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


Oh, shit, that's awesomely implemented. Very well-realized; and I say this as a large images/maps-on-the-web connoisseur (and snob).

Anyone know what they're using for their pan/zoom image viewer? I've not seen one as handsome or as functional. Great site and great images. Thanks for sharing.
posted by jjjjjjjijjjjjjj at 7:31 PM on September 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


Anyone know what they're using for their pan/zoom image viewer? I've not seen one as handsome or as functional. Great site and great images. Thanks for sharing.

Thank you! I spent a lot time trying to get general actually-for-images panners and zoomers to work, but they just all looked terrible. I actually turned to the mapping world to solve my problems!

Handsome Atlas is built on leaflet + some custom hacks. Behind the scenes it's basically Google Maps; I generated a bunch of little tiles to make up each zoom level, and then you get to play with it same as your standard online map.

I know I'm biased, but I think it's a killer way to interact with big ol' maps and documents, which is why I'm pleading all over the page for libraries and museums to contact me. There's a lot of wicked digitized content out there that could be well-served by being presented this way.
posted by soma lkzx at 8:12 PM on September 12, 2012 [8 favorites]


Yikes. Looking at the graph of death by age & sex, it's shocking just how bad infant mortality was back then. I mean, I know we've made many improvements, but it's nonetheless incredible to see it laid out like that (and w.t.f. Utah? >10x more likely to die between 0-10 than between 10-20!)

We've come a long ways.
posted by Arandia at 10:35 PM on September 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


It's weird to think that a hundred years from now, people will look back on us and think "Yikes, WTF."
posted by desjardins at 6:58 AM on September 13, 2012


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