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Mapping Historical New York: A Digital Atlas
October 27, 2021

Congratulations to our faculty member Rebecca Kobrin (Russell and Bettina Knapp Associate Professor of American Jewish History; Co-Director, Institute for Israel and Jewish Studies) and co-investigators on the launch of “Mapping Historical New York: A Digital Atlas.”

The interactive map visualizes the transformations of Manhattan and Brooklyn during the late-nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries. Drawing on 1850, 1880, and 1910 census data, it shows how migration, residential, and occupational patterns shaped the city.

The Digital Atlas breaks new ground by locating each person counted in the Census at their home address, sometimes before the street grid was even established. Thus far, the maps include 6.5 million unique census records for 1850, 1880, and 1910, matched to home locations in Manhattan and Brooklyn. This is an ongoing project that will expand to include all five boroughs up to the 1940 census over the next three years.


Explore the project


This project is the result of a multi-year interdisciplinary collaboration between Columbia University’s Department of History and the Center for Spatial Research at the Graduate School of Architecture Planning and Preservation, and funded by the Robert David Lion Gardiner Foundation.


Co-Principal Investigators:

Gergely Baics, Associate Professor of History and Urban Studies, Helman Faculty Chair of Urban Studies, Barnard College
Rebecca Kobrin, Russell and Bettina Knapp Associate Professor of American Jewish History, Columbia University
Laura Kurgan, Professor, Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation; Director, Center for Spatial Research, Columbia University
Leah Meisterlin, Assistant Professor, Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation, Columbia University
Mae Ngai, Lung Family Professor of Asian American Studies and Professor of History, Columbia University, Team leader

Project Leaders:

Wright Kennedy, Postdoctoral Research Scholar in the Department of History
Dan Miller, Research Associate at the Center for Spatial Research, GSAPP