HSP Launches New Digital History Exhibit Exploring Political Cartoons

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HSP Launches New Digital History Exhibit Exploring Political Cartoons

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

PHILADELPHIA, PA – The Historical Society of Pennsylvania (HSP) is pleased to announce today’s launch of Politics in Graphic Detail: Exploring History through Political Cartoons, an exciting and innovative digital history exhibit featuring more than 125 richly annotated political cartoons. Spanning American history from the colonial period through the Progressive Era, these cartoons represent a diversity of topic, issues, and events befitting our raucous democratic process.

Click here to start exploring Politics in Graphic Detail

Please join HSP on Wednesday, September 16, at 6:00 p.m. as project staff demonstrate the new exhibit’s features and functions. A document display of political cartoons from the collections – including an original Thomas Nast artwork, “The Silence of Matt Quay,” – and a reception will follow the demonstration.

About Politics in Graphic Detail

Politics in Graphic Detail, HSP’s newest digital history exhibit, allows users to search for cartoons on specific topics, analyze individual cartoons in depth, and follow links between cartoons and related contextual material. Many of the cartoons portray well-known public figures like presidents and politicians, while others depict fictional or generic characters, such as Uncle Sam or figures embodying ethnic stereotypes. Reflecting the evolution of the political cartoon genre, the featured cartoons encompass a variety of visual styles and  political perspectives.

Politics in Graphic Detail also includes educational resources for teachers and students. This allows educators to effortless introduce political cartoons in their history and civics classrooms. In addition, the exhibit features essays from political cartoon historian Richard Samuel West and comic strip historian and blogger Allan HoltzThe cartoons’ descriptive content is also shared among the wider digital humanities community via GitHub

Each of the 125 cartoons were encoded in XML following Text Encoding Initiative (TEI) P5 guidelines. This enabled project staff to create "zones" on each image that, when clicked on by a user, display pop-up text containing editorial content and more information about the people, organizations, and events depicted. This encoding also includes Linked Open Data (LOD) relationships, enhancing the discovery of HSP's images and creating more opportunities for sharing data between HSP and other institutions. The cartoons’ descriptive content is also shared among the wider digital humanities community via GitHub. 

About Historic Images, New Technologies (HINT)

The launch of Politics in Graphic Detail marks the completion of Historic Images, New Technologies (HINT), a two-year project to enhance the description and discovery of HSP’s graphic materials and promote the linking and sharing of content among institutions and scholars.

HINT project staff have significantly enhanced the digital image viewer used in HSP’s Digital Library, allowing for more user-friendly searching. This new tool will have a lasting effect on HSP's ability to manage and describe its digitized images, making it easier for researchers across the country and the around the world to access these materials.  

In addition to developing the new image viewer and curating Politics in Graphic Detail, HINT project staff digitized 500 political cartoons from the collections, many of which have been “hidden” in the collections for decades.  These cartoons are now available in HSP’s Digital Library.

HINT was made possible through support from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission’s (NHPRC) Innovation in Archives and Documentary Editing program.

Please click here to learn more about the HINT project.

About the Historical Society of Pennsylvania

The Historical Society of Pennsylvania is a provider of education and information for the people of Philadelphia and beyond. With over 21 million documents – including manuscripts, graphics, and ephemera – HSP serves more than 4,000 researchers who come through its doors annually and millions more around the globe who use its resources online at hsp.org. HSP offers extensive online resources including digital collections, curricular materials, and hosts educator workshops, public programs and lectures throughout the year.