Digital Humanities Projects from SSAWW-DH

The SSAWW-DH is devoted to digital humanities projects. To subscribe, please go to http://lists.wsu.edu/mailman/listinfo/ssaww-dh 

Compiled by Cari Carpenter

SSAWW Digital Humanities Projects (in progress)

Michelle Wood                                                                        Martha McMillan (Diary 1867-1913)

Cedarville University


My students and I began the recovery of a nineteenth-century journal. Former Greene County, Ohio local resident Martha McMillan kept a journal between 1867 and 1913. She used one journal for each year, and she sewed her travel journals into the back of the corresponding “farm” journal after her return. The 1867 journal begins on the day of her marriage. The journal ends in 1913 five days prior to her death. This journal is a great example of nineteenth-century life-writing and as journals as a semi-public space. Though the writer is married and has children, the journal’s “I” creates a unique subjectivity outside “wife” and “mother.” McMillan was also a member of the WCTU. The scope of the journals reminds me of the fictional Ladies of the Club written by another former Greene county, Ohio resident Helen Hooven Santmyer.

We have worked with the Dean of Library Sciences, and he created a digital space for us in the university’s digital commons space. We have only just begun transcription and analysis work, but we are posting as we go along.

People can view the project here. http://digitalcommons.cedarville.edu/mcmillan_journal_collection/


Jean Lee Cole                                                                                    Periodicals from 1850s, 1890s, 1920s

Loyola University Maryland                                                            Omeka


By way of an update, the class Omeka project I mentioned in my summer email is underway. It’s definitely been a learning experience– I can’t say yet that it won’t absolutely be a failure 😉

But if anyone’s curious, I’m having my students collect images and page images from periodicals of the 1850s, 1890s, and 1920s using the GeniusScan app and then posting them, with descriptions and other metadata information, to Omeka. The site is public & viewable at http://EN203.omeka.net. I’m happy to share the assignment if anyone’s interested.


Donna Campbell                                                      Edith Wharton

Washington State University


A current project for me is the Edith Wharton Digital Archive or Digital Wharton, which is in the planning stages, with collaborators Fred Wegener of Cal State Long Beach and Carol Singley of Rutgers-Camden. We’ll be working with WSU and with Rutgers-Camden on issues of space and project planning.  In the initial stages, we plan to create a TEI-encoded edition to test the possibilities; I recently attended DHSI in Victoria, B.C. to take the basic course in TEI and practiced encoding some unpublished Wharton stories. I’m looking forward to discussion of this or other issues.


Kevin McMullen                                                                        Fanny Fern

Walt Whitman Archive                                                                        Fannyfern.org


I’m in the early stages of a project working to digitize the newspaper writing of Fanny Fern, a project which I’m currently calling Fanny Fern in The New York Ledger (fannyfern.org). It began as a group project in a graduate seminar that I was enrolled in here at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and I have since taken it up as my own pet-project, redesigning the site and migrating it to Drupal. Amanda Gailey, Susan Belasco, and Elizabeth Lorang here at UNL have served in various advisory roles as the project has developed. There’s only 30 columns or so live on the site at the moment, but I have just over a year’s worth transcribed and encoded in TEI.


Sarah Patterson                                                                                    Colored Conventions in a Box

University of Delaware                                                            http://coloredconventions.org/teaching


After so many good experiences and plenty of errors,  we wrote a curriculum, Colored Conventions in a Box, hoping to streamline the process for folks who also wanted to work with Omeka for academic projects. It captures our process from start to finish–including research guides, directions for building in Omeka, and our quality control process and values toward Black political history. It’s all here: http://coloredconventions.org/teaching.

Where you consider collections, we build exhibits. Here’s an example, an exhibit I curated: Black Wealth and the 1843 National Colored Convention.

Like you, we had our undergrad and grad students take up primary research assignments into the lives and literary production of Black activists, writers and organizers to bring attention to colored convention minutes taken from the larger historic Black political conventions movement that began in 1830 and survived at least until the 1890s. For ease, we host digitized and transcribed minutes on the site. This work yields biographical and analytical essays with complementary photos, news articles, graphs and maps. These essays fed into a larger digital project (exhibit) open to the public, intriguing to researchers and interested web browsers alike. Now, we bring on teaching partners to do the same.

Jaime Alves                                                                        Emma May Buckingham, A Self-Made Woman….


I am working to digitize and annotate an out-of-print novel, _A Self-Made Woman; or, Mary Idyl’s Trials and Triumphs_ (1873) by Emma May Buckingham. Eventually, my hope is to have it published in book form, but this is the first step. I’d love to connect with others who are going through this process or have gone through it. I’m sure I am trying to reinvent wheels that I don’t need to reinvent!

Catherine Saunders                                                                        American Women’s Bestsellers

George Mason University                                                            202s15.cesaunders.net


Omeka/Neatline projects my students created in a Spring ’15 course entitled “American Women’s Bestsellers: Digital Humanities Perspectives” (the one I presented at the panel, ably organized by Ashley Reed, which Jean mentioned):202s15.cesaunders.net .  The site also contains a section with course materials (syllabus, course calendar, worksheets guiding students through the process of creating Omeka items and the particular kind of Neatline exhibit I designed for use in the course).  Those are creative commons licensed, so feel free to borrow/adapt/remix (they’re currently up as html pages, which can probably be cut and pasted; I’ll get .doc versions up when I get a chance, or email me and I’ll be happy to share the files).  Like Jean’s, mine was definitely an experimental effort, with both successes and failures (I should probably put up the powerpoint from the panel summarizing those, too, but, briefly, Omeka/Neatline works as a container for shaping student thinking/brief writing about literary texts and contexts, but doesn’t magically solve the usual problems of 200-level gen ed lit courses; also, putting together such a course is quite time-consuming. I think there’s a strong argument for instead creating a larger project to which students in multiple/succeeding classes can contribute in some way, but that, too, has its downsides, and may be hard to do in a genuine way at the introductory/gen ed level, though I’m very much interested in hearing from anybody who’s done it successfully).

Noelle A. Baker and Sandra Harbert Petrulionis                  Mary Moody Emerson


In collaboration with the Women Writers Project (WWP), editors Noelle A. Baker and Sandra Harbert Petrulionis are at work on The Almanacks of Mary Moody Emerson: A Scholarly Digital Edition, a scholarly, annotated digital edition of the extensive commonplace books and spiritual diaries of Mary Moody Emerson (1774-1863). The Almanacks’ subjects range from theology, philosophy, literary criticism, and science, to war, imperialism, and slavery. The edition is being published in phases by WWP in its full-text selection of early modern women’s writing in English, Women Writers Online (http://www.wwp.northeastern.edu/wwo/). Ten Almanacks have been published to date. Six of these (dated 1804 through 1814, and 1821) are also available in a freely accessible prototype interface that provides an initial model of what the future Women Writers Online interface can do with our editorial work (http://www.wwp.northeastern.edu/research/projects/manuscripts/emerson/index.html).