Web Site of the Week: Railroads and the Making of Modern America
In the 19th century, the widespread expansion of railroads across the American landscape transformed the lives of millions of people from Maine to California. This digital collection from the University of Nebraska seeks “to document and represent the rapid and far-reaching social effects of railroads and to explore the transformation of the United States to modern ideas, institutions, and practices in the nineteenth century.” The site is a tremendous trove of maps, letters, ephemera that help to tell this story in fine detail. On the homepage, visitors can look over sections that include Topics, Views, Data, and Teaching Materials. In the Topics area, visitors can look over thematic collections like Slavery and Southern Railroads and Railroad Work and Workers. The Data area is a real gem, as it features historical railroad systems’ GIS files from the 1860s and 1870s, and data visualizations such as some rather elaborate representations of data from historical volumes on railroads. Finally, the Teaching Materials area includes interviews with teachers, an educators’ blog, and ideas for teaching with the site. [KMG]
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