Steve Marti, 2017 APS Library Digital Humanities Fellow, created the Eastern Apps. Scott Ziegler, Head of Technology and Digital Scholarship, initiated and managed the project in conjunction with Bayard Miller, Digital Projects and Metadata Librarian. Special thanks to Robert M. Hauser for assistance with the visualizations.
The apps were built with Shiny from R Studio. The gallery was built using with HTML5Up.
Header image by Adam Jones, available on WikiMedia, under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license.
About the Data
The data used for the apps were created from admission books kept at the APS Library, and transcribed by volunteers at the APS Library, including Michelle Ziogas and Kristina Frey.
All data is freely available from the APS Github account: https://github.com/AmericanPhilosophicalSociety/Historic-Prison-Data.
The finding aid for the Eastern State Penitentiary material held by the APS is here: http://www.amphilsoc.org/collections/view?docId=ead/Mss.365.P381p-ead.xml. Digitized versions of the admission books can be viewed on the APS Digital Library.
The admission books represent a wealth of information of great interest to historians, sociologists, genealogists, and many others. The data generated from the books allows researchers to perform a wide variety of analysis, as evidenced in the apps presented in this gallery. The records represent real people who lived real lives, often under very difficult circumstances. In most cases, the only information we have about the inmates is created by prison officials and others in positions of authority. Approaching these lives with empathy and understanding creates a deeper understanding of history.
About Eastern State Penitentiary
Eastern State is currently operated as a historical site in Philadelphia. Information on the history of the prison is available on their website: https://www.easternstate.org/. See especially their section on the history of the prison: https://www.easternstate.org/research/history-eastern-state.