One of many historical treasures of the American Philosophical Society Library & Museum is a huge book recording the details of over 5,000 indenture contracts registered between 1771 and 1773. These entries contain a lot of information about working people and immigrants who came to Philadelphia in the midst of the American Revolution.

The Project

To make the information in the book easier to use, APS staff digitized, transcribed, and sorted the entries creating a large dataset. Now this data can be visualized in many ways. Each map, graph, and diagram can tell us more about the individuals in the book.

Unpacking the Data

The sections in this gallery explore the concept of indentured servitude and how it was used to populate Colonial America. We examine different themes - distance, gender, and time – through interactive visualizations paired with stories of individuals found within the record. You can download the data for yourself in the "About this Data" section, where we also address larger concepts of historic open data and the importance of data transparency.