WXXI AM News

Connections: Digitally Mapping Social Networks of Historical Figures

Nov 3, 2015

Benjamin Franklin, it turns out, would have loved Twitter. How do we know? An investigative team has been piecing together Franklin's worldwide social network, poring through 20,000 letters sent and received in his lifetime. The results offer new insight into Franklin, who was, at one time, the most famous person in the world. We talk to the lead researcher on that project, who is coming to the University of Rochester on November 4 as a featured speaker at the new University of Rochester Humanities Center.

We also discuss a University of Rochester River Campus Libraries project, where faculty, students, and staff are using geographic information systems (GIS) technology to map the social networks of William Henry Seward and his family. Our guests:

  • Caroline Winterer, director, Stanford University Humanities Center
  • Camden Burd, Ph.D. candidate in American History, University of Rochester
  • Serenity Sutherland, Ph.D. candidate in American History, and project manager of the Seward Family Digital Archive, University of Rochester
  • Blair Tinker, GIS librarian, University of Rochester River Campus Libraries