Interactive Map Lets You Track American Newspaper Topics Over Time

US News Map
US News Map / US News Map

The Georgia Tech Research Institute and the University of Georgia’s eHistory Initiative have created an interactive map that lets users track the evolution of keywords in American newspapers from 1836 to 1922. Perfect for researchers and history enthusiasts, the US News Map draws from the Library of Congress’s historical newspaper database Chronicling America, and it shows when and where keywords were mentioned.

The fascinating interactive map is perfect for tracing the evolution of brands, companies, inventions, historical figures, and more. For example, searching for “Coca-Cola” shows how the brand began to proliferate toward the end of the 19th century, while typing in “daguerreotype” shows how the early photographic technology peaked in popularity in the 1850s.

Slate points out that the map can also be used to research the rise (and fall) of less concrete topics and ideas, such as "miscegenation," "populist," or "hatred."

Each pin on the map links directly to a digitized version of a newspaper article, making it easy to not only track the spread of a concept, but to learn what people wrote about it. The map provides a fascinating illustration of how ideas traveled and took hold over time. From the rise of 19th century literary celebrities like Mark Twain and Charles Dickens to the introduction of new inventions like the phonograph and the cinematograph, the map shows how the American public was introduced to a range of topics in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Check it out here.

[h/t Slate]