| 1893 Map
page-template-default,page,page-id-51058,edgt-core-1.2,ajax_fade,page_not_loaded,,vigor-ver-2.3, vertical_menu_with_scroll,smooth_scroll,wpb-js-composer js-comp-ver-5.6,vc_responsive

1893 Map

For the map, we chose an 1893 illustration of New York City – comprised only of Manhattan at the time – that included parts of Brooklyn, Queens and the Bronx from the NYPL’s collection of rectified maps, or maps laid over a coordinate system, and uploaded it to Mapbox to be able to use it as the custom base map. The addresses were put through the Census Bureau’s Geocoder tool to retrieve the latitude and longitude coordinates. Using the Leaflet JavaScript library, the map was populated with markers representing each newspaper and color-coded by language. Clicking a marker brings up a popup containing an image related to the newspaper and some basic information as well as a link to the full profile. A CSV file of the information for the popup was converted to a GeoJSON file, via, from which the coordinates and the information for the abbreviated profile for the map and popup were pulled. The user can also show or hide markers by checking the respective languages.


In instances where the newspaper title in the popup contained characters with diacritic marks not found in the title font, namely some of the Yiddish papers, the English name or an alternative one listed in Chronicling America was used.


Because the map we’re using comes from a scan of book pages, the edges of those pages are visible. To hide them, we established boundaries via the latitude and longitude coordinates for the digital map – waterfront New Jersey towns on the west, Governor’s Island to the south, the eastern portions of Brooklyn and Queens, and Yonkers to the north – that prevent the user from dragging the map beyond its own edges and seeing the page marks.


This also meant limiting the zoom options to three levels not only so that users would not see the page edges at the lowest level but also so that, given the map is an image, it would not become too blurry when zoomed in at the highest set level. At that level, the map does become fuzzy but then it is easier to distinguish between the markers in the downtown Manhattan area.


While most of the locations associated with each newspaper were concentrated in that region, some German and Swedish papers were located on Staten Island, in Brooklyn, in Queens and in the Bronx giving the markers on the map some spread beyond Manhattan.


In fact, some newspapers had addresses beyond the boundaries of the map. To at least indicate their existence, we set their location on the relative edges of our digital map and noted in the popup box that they are “off the map” and not at the actual designated location.


Working with addresses from the late 19th century also meant clarifying geographical changes: for example, parts of Westchester County at the time are now part of the Bronx and what was named Chatham Street then is now Park Row in lower Manhattan. In a few cases, we did not find an address but Chronicling America gave a neighborhood name so we still added those papers to the map based on a central location in the neighborhood, or at least one that appeared within the boundaries of the map, such as “Queens County Freie Presse” in College Point, and two Staten Island-based periodicals, “Staten Island Post und Süd New York Anzeiger” in Stapleton, and “Der Deutsche Staten Islander” in Edgewater.