Jewish Holiday Notices in Newspapers – Part II

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Introduction: Map of Jewish Holiday Notices in Newspapers

In my last post, I summarized why Jewish holidays would ever be announced in a newspaper in the United States, pre-1865, in a place like Wheeling, West Virginia or Olympia, Washington. Newspapers reported news and news came from the “outside.” This “outside” reached these seemingly far-flung places because these towns had a post road, or a railroad depot, or a canal that passed through. News would carry, allowing for new article topics, such as an upcoming Jewish holiday.  Newspapers from other cities would also be delivered and articles would be copied and reprinted (see Viral Texts for more on this if you are interested). Many of the articles, in fact, are reprints of one another.

Here is a cartodb map with a post road layer (you can remove if you so choose) with a heatmap layer demonstrating the density of the announcements over time:

Jewish Notices and Newspapers Methodology

This projects specifically looks at Jewish holiday notices for three different (and arguably the most important) Jewish Holidays. These are the days that Jews, even the most non-observant, tend to celebrate because they are that important.

  • Passover or Pesach – Usually in March or April. Celebrating and recounting the story of the Jewish exodus from Egypt.
  • The Jewish New Year or Rosh Hashana – Usually in September or October.
  • The Day of Atonement or Yom Kippur – Comes 10 days after the Jewish New Year. The most important day of the year in Jewish calendars.

Using Chronicling America, I did an advanced search and compiled the articles that were relevant to each holiday:

  • Passover or Pesach – I used the box “…with any of the words:” for my search terms (see below), and searched between the years 1836 (the earliest) and 1865 (the end of the Civil War).
    • Passover, Pesach, Matzah, Matzoh, Matza, Matzo
  • The Jewish New Year or Rosh Hashana -I used the box “… with the phrase:” for my search terms (see below), and searched between the years 1836 (the earliest) and 1865 (the end of the Civil War).
    • Rosh Hashana, Rosh Ha Shana, Rosh HaShauna, Rosh Ha Shauna, Jewish New Year, Hebrew New Year, (I also found results when I filed through the Yom Kippur results because many of the articles would mention both holidays)
  • The Day of Atonement or Yom Kippur – I used the box “… with the phrase:” for my search terms (see below), and searched between the years 1836 (the earliest) and 1865 (the end of the Civil War).
    • Yom Kipur, Yom Kippur, Yom Kipour, Yom Kippour, Yom Kipor, Yom Kippor, Yom Kipoor, Yom Kippoor, Day of Atonement

I then went through each result and added them, if they were relevant, using the Zotero extension for Chrome to my Zotero repository. Their relevance was based on whether they fell during the time of year the holiday occurred and whether their content was a notice or description of the holiday. The only bug with this process was the fact that I had to enter the titles of the articles, the publication’s name, and the place of publication manually because Zotero doesn’t read the metadata correctly for Chronicling America. Please note, the article titles that are in brackets [ ] mean that there was no title for the article. I created the title in brackets. I then exported each Zotero collection to csv (download them through my Github repository, link below).

I then added coordinates to the data based off of the place column using a basic geocoder. I also created a csv with all of the data combined. This csv had an additional column which identified the holiday that each article centered around.

I then uploaded each of the csv’s to Cartodb. I used their SQL API along with a leaflet library and called the table I had created from the “Combined Jewish Notices” csv. I used the call to create this comprehensive map where you can filter by the holiday which the article announced. Each point offers a link to the newspaper page where the announcement is located and (most of the time, depending on Chronicling America’s OCR) highlighted.

The Map!

Click here to see the map in a larger version!

A Favorite Article

The first article that I thought was particularly fascinating was from Passover of 1865. I didn’t realize that President Lincoln was assassinated during the holiday. The New York Herald published an article entitled “How the News was Received in the Jewish Synagogues.” The article describes the mourning rituals of three congregations in New York City. It is interesting to read the different descriptions, and also to think about what the author (who may not have been Jewish) noticed and detailed regarding the different synagogues.

Jewish Holiday Notices in Newspapers – Part I

 

Why Jewish Holiday Announcements in the American Press (pre-1865)?

(I am actively looking for employment opportunities. If you know of one that might be a good fit, please let me know.)

Newspapers are somewhat of a fascination for me. Two summers ago, I worked on Ryan Cordell’s Viral Text project. I learned about and visualized how articles from newspapers spread and were reprinted in the United States during the 19th century. For this project, Jewish Notices and Newspapers,  I took some of what I learned working at Viral Text’s two summer’s ago and applied my knowledge to another fascination of mine: religion and Jewish religious praxis in American life during the pre-Civil War era.

When I researched for my senior thesis  at Haverford College this past year, I found a treasure trove of different newspaper articles from Louisiana and Mississippi (pre-Civil War) announcing a variety of different Jewish holidays. Who knew?! Often times, the South and other parts of the U.S. are thought of as remote havens of Judaism (whatever that means) and especially during the pre-Civil War period these areas are not considered centers of Jewish religious praxis. While the evidence below does not offer conclusive evidence that these areas were centers of Jewish religious praxis, they definitely had Jewish life, and prominent enough Jewish life at that to be featured among the most prominent news of the day.

So, why were articles about Jewish life featured in newspapers, despite the fact that Jews made up a tiny portion of the American populace? I venture to guess for three main reasons:

  • Jews owned businesses. In my thesis I wrote:

“While it is impossible that Jews dominated every town’s businesses or every industry, statistics of American Jewish businesses from the mid-19th century do illustrate the prevalence of Jews in commerce. Rowena Olegario, in her article ‘”That Mysterious People”: Jewish Merchants, Transparency, and Community in Mid-Nineteenth Century America,’ supplies a table of statistics which illustrates the high proportion of Jewish-owned clothing businesses during the mid-19th century. In Springfield, Illinois, for example, between 1841-1869, ‘Jews owned more than half of clothing establishments.’ In 1860 Cincinnati, ‘Jews owned 65 out of 70 clothing businesses.’ And in Indianapolis during the 1860’s, ‘Jews owned 70 percent of all clothing stores'”(Olegario, 166)(Eckstein, 9).

When Jews, as a large percentage of business owners in certain industries, would close up shop on seemingly random days (for Rosh Hashana, Yom Kippur, or Pesach), non-Jews would take notice because it would affect their buying patterns and probably the city’s economy for the day(s) that their businesses were closed. Take this wonderful article I found in the New Orleans Times entitled “Red River Correspondence.” In my thesis I analyzed this article and wrote:

“’This is the first day of the Jewish New Year,’ the correspondence writes, ‘and as a consequence all the stores with very few exceptions are closed, and country people wander about the town from place to place, vainly endeavoring to find some place to do a little trading; for you must know that all the principal dry goods stores in Alexandria are kept by Jews’ (Red River Correspondence). The ‘Red River Correspondence’ clearly demonstrates the concentration of Jews in the dry goods business in Alexandria, due to the detail that ‘all the principal dry goods stores in Alexandria are kept by Jews.’ In addition, because it is ‘the first day of the Jewish New Year’ and ‘all the stores with very few exceptions are closed,’ according to the correspondent, it then follows that the non-Jewish ‘country people wander about the town from place to place, vainly endeavoring to find some place to do a little trading.’ Thus “country people” depend on the Jewish business community in their town” (Eckstein, 8-9).

If you look at many of the articles I found for this project, you see a similar thought process. Because Jews are primary traders or affect business in such an extreme manner, everyone wants to know, “Where are the Jews?”. Hence, they write these notices regarding Jewish holidays in order to raise awareness and answer questions.

  • Judeo-Christian Religion. I am not an expert on this, but I don’t particularly like this term because I think that it is a misnomer used to make Judaism and Christianity appear philosophically similar when they often times are not. However, if you look back at the newspapers, there is a certain sense that Judaism is Christianity’s parent religion and that Judaism has an exoticism and ancient character that give it authority. Sometimes, it seems that the authors write their stories because they are fascinated. It is a little bit like a freak show at a circus, with Judaism taking center stage (I don’t mean disrespect. That is the best way I can describe what I am attempting to convey).

 

Senior Thesis

Shabbat Cotton by Bill Aron
Shabbat Cotton by Bill Aron
Shabbat Cotton by Bill Aron

Yesterday I handed in my senior thesis, a project I have been working on for over a year. Suffice it so say, turning it in feels like one of the biggest accomplishments of my life thus far. I would like to once again thank my thesis advisor, Dr. Molly B. Farneth for all her help and support during this process.

Though I have allowed the thesis to be available to scholars worldwide, I want to make it available to anyone else who might be interested. Feedback is welcome!

Creative Commons License
On the River, On the Road: Lower Mississippi Peddlers and their Judaism, 1820-1865 by Laura Newman Eckstein is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
Based on a work at http://lauraneckstein.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/EcksteinFinal.pdf.

 

 

The Confederate Streets of South Carolina

After watching Jon Stewart’s on-point and poignant words regarding the tragic shooting at the AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina, (watch it here before you continue reading!) I was curious about his statement that “the roads [in South Carolina] are named for Confederate generals.” I wanted to see the prevalence of  Confederate Generals’ names as opposed to African American leaders’ names on street signs in South Carolina . For the African American leaders’ names I referred to those inducted into the South Carolina Hall of Fame. For the Confederate Generals, I picked four famous generals with connections to South Carolina. I used Google Maps to find all the streets with variations of these names (e.g. Robert E. Lee Ave. and Robert E. Lee Blvd.) in South Carolina.

Confederate Generals:

African Americans inducted into the South Carolina Hall of Fame:

  • Mary McLeod Bethune
  • Maj. Gen. Charles F. Bolden, Jr.
  • Maude Callen
  • Septima Poinsette Clark
  • Marian Wright Edelman
  • Ernest A. Finney, Jr.
  • John Birks “Dizzy” Gillespie
  • Benjamin E. Mays, Ph.D.
  • Ronald Erwin McNair, Ph.D.
  • Matthew Perry
  • Philip Simmons
  • Robert Smalls

I found that for the 12 African Americans listed, they only had 10 streets named after them in South Carolina, while these 4 Confederate Generals had 44 in total. How’s that for disparate ratios!

Not only was Jon Stewart right when he said “the roads [in South Carolina] are named for Confederate generals,” but he can also add on that there is a clear disregard for honoring the African American leaders of South Carolina.

Please note that this was done hastily and I apologize in advance for any errors. If you have any thoughts, comments, questions, or suggestions, feel free to contact me and I will respond as promptly as possible.

Post Roads 1839

postroads

Before I begin: PLEASE NOTE: I am also looking for paid summer internships that have  a map making component. I can send my resume and anything else if you are interested. Tweet, email, you know the drill…

Hi Everyone,

It has been a while. Not only did I complete my first semester of junior year, but I have been mastering the art of making interactive maps, basic javascript, html, d3, and leaflet. Plus life… but I was determined to finish these post roads for Elijah Meeks and Jason Heppler.

A little more info. These are based off the map from 1839 by David H. Burr from
The American atlas, exhibiting the post offices, post roads, rail roads, canals, and the physical & political divisions of the United States of North America” found on the Library of Congress’ website.  As I may have already discussed in a previous post, David H. Burr was the official topographer for the U.S. House of Representatives. Because of this, I presume that the atlas was probably the standard and the authority for the transportation networks of the United States at that time. Unlike my previous post road map, where I easily georectified one map on top of the map of the modern U.S.,this was much more complicated. Being an atlas, this map was in multiple pages. I was forced to first crop each page on photoshop so there would be no extraneous parts. Then, starting with New England, I not only georectified the 1839 map to the modern United States, but also to its neighboring 1839 state maps. Because many of the post roads were connected between states, I needed to ensure that they matched up to one another, not just the modern day map.

This  is the top of West Virginia connecting to Ohio and Pennsylvania. All three states were on different pages of the atlas, yet they all had roads that connected to one another.

Though this shapefile  isn’t as accurate as with the other post road map, it is interesting to compare the map from 1851 to 1839 and see the development of the transportation networks in the United States. Again, on this map, you see the spider web-like patterns, where a large city is the center of the web, with many different roads expelling from it.

See how above, the red-blue dot in the center has with roads expelling from it, similar to the shape of as spider web? Here, the dot represents Nashville, Tennessee.
See how above, the red-blue dot in the center has with roads expelling from it, similar to the shape of as spider web? Here, the dot represents Nashville, Tennessee.

In order to upload this files to ArcGIS online and to fully see the shapefile, I had to dissolve the lines into one large polyline. You have the option to either download the dissolved or undissolved shapefile and also to view the dissolved or undissolved feature layer.

Dissolved Shapefile – http://bit.ly/1J9Lz0a

Undissolved Shapefile – http://bit.ly/1J9MrSg

Creative Commons License
1839 David H. Burr Post Roads by Laura Newman Eckstein is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.
Based on a work at http://lauraneckstein.com/1839postroads/.

Updated Casino Map

Almost every Friday since September, Laurie Allen, a Digital Librarian at Haverford College has worked with me to improve my interactive mapping skills. I have been inspired to learn JavaScript, leaflet, some html, some css, some mapbox, some cartodb, and am now working on perfecting my d3 skills. For my first project, we took my casino map and after much tweaking came up with this gem. This map, coding, and hard work are dedicated to Laurie;  her help, faith in my abilities, and eagerness to explore inspire me to keep on making maps.

 

American Indian and Alaskan Native Casinos by Laura Newman Eckstein. Dedicated to Laurie Allen, Librarian, Haverford College, November 16, 2014

Got Pesticides?

This is a project that I completed for my final in my first GIS course. I talked to Dr. Steve Brown at the University of Georgia extension service and found that it may have been better to use data on cropland rather than total agricultural land. (Agricultural land in the USDA census can be divided into cropland and pastureland). However, the USDA does not have specific data on pesticides broken into these categories, only for the general agricultural land category. To learn more about the census click here! Enjoy!

 

Creative Commons License
Got Pesticides? by Laura Newman Eckstein is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
Based on a work at www.lauraneckstein.com.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at www.lauraneckstein.com.

Casino Map

This is a map I created of Alaskan Native and American Indian Casinos in the United States. I retrieved the data from the National Indian Gaming Commission. Here’s the list. Click here for the full map

Creative Commons License
Casino Map by Laura Newman Eckstein is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
Based on a work at www.lauraneckstein.com.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at www.lauraneckstein.com.

Post Road Data

The Post Road data was created during my time as a Tri-college digital humanities intern with the Viral Texts Project at Northeastern University. I used two maps  from the Library of Congress, both created by the official topographer to the Post Office Department, Henry A. Burr. Burr was the first topographer for the Post Office Department. Before, the government would employ commercial and private firms to create maps for the Post Office Department, but with Burr’s position it was his responsibility to make all maps relating to postal business. (http://www.archives.gov/research/post-offices/locations-1837-1950.html)  Both maps are entitled “Disturnell’s new map of the United States and Canada showing all the canals, rail roads, telegraph lines and principal stage routes.” The first is  from 1850 (http://www.loc.gov/item/2012593337/). The second, from 1851 (http://www.loc.gov/item/gm70005366/).  First, I georecitified (http://www.loc.gov/item/2012593337/), using a reference map of the United States from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), I matched up the different cities on the Burr map to the geocoded cities found through the basic geocoder in ArcMap, which was placed over the NOAA map. After there were at least two different control points per state,  I used the spline projection and georectified the image. The control points I used were cities found on both maps. For example, Charleston, South Carolina would be matched on the Burr map to its present location. Then, using this newly georectified map, a new shape layer, a polyline, was created and was named “post roads.” Using the key on the georectified map, the stagecoach roads were found and the new attributes were added to the shapefile “Post Roads.” Over every stage coach road, a line was drawn to the closest specification possible. Once completed, there were some questions as to whether some roads were post roads because there were colors on top of the lines on the map not referenced in the key. I was told, when I called the Library of Congress,  Henry A. Burr did not finish painting the map, hence, the indiscriminate colors over some lines on the map. I then matched up this georectified map to another map by Henry A. Burr without color from one year later (http://www.loc.gov/item/gm70005366/). I used the same procedure as above to georectify this map and double checked my newly created post roads later. Once checked, the data was modified accordingly and made ready for public use on ArcGIS online.

 

To download the data in shapefile format:

To view on a larger map: http://bit.ly/1oTa2AH (click on the map thumbnail)

Creative Commons License
Post Roads by Laura Newman Eckstein is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at lauraneckstein.com.