This project traces its origins back more than 20 years to a study of the Pennsylvanian anthracite coal industry during the 1880s. Since 1992 the project has expanded substantially, both in terms of its empirical focus and the possibilities for data manipulation and analysis provided by firstly, Geographical Information Systems (GIS) and secondly, technology for the dissemination of computer mapping and large databases across the Internet. At present there are four main areas of project development largely focused on the second half of the 19th century. These include:
Development of the railroad network of the North Eastern USA
The Anthracite Coal Industry
The Pennsylvanian Bituminous Coal Industry
The Growth of the Iron and Steel Industry
A particular feature of the website as it develops will be the provision of information derived from primary archival materials, including company records and historical maps, in addition to published State Government and Railroad Annual Reports. Experience of working in Libraries and County Historical Societies over many years has led the authors to believe that information obtained originally for specific academic research purposes may be of interest to a wider audience. This site has therefore been designed to facilitate access to data resources, both for students and academic researchers, and for a broader group of Internet users outside the education sector, who have interests in the historical geography of the United States in the 19th century. The upper 'levels' of the website are designed for ready access by all users. To access more detailed data as it is made available, users will need to register with the site, to enable usage records to be kept. 'Decorative' graphics have been deliberately minimized to allow rapid movement around the site. Connection time can then be concentrated in the areas of particular interest, although care has been taken wherever possible to minimize the download file sizes for some of the more sophisticated mapping and graphics available at lower levels. The site is organised hierarchically from the site index, with a standard structure for each of the four sub-project areas. Project feedback is welcomed both in the form of general comments and specific email enquiries relating to the sub-project areas. The site does not contain any genealogical information and therefore we regret we will not be able to respond to any enquiries of this type.