Locating Jefferson’s “Notes on the States of Virginia”

Our fourth assignment was to identify a work published before 1800 that the English Short Title Catalogue shows to have been published in at least three different places and create a map showing those locations.

While searching the English Short Title Catalogue for Thomas Jefferson’s Notes on the State of Virginia¬†I found myself perhaps a bit distraught. Not so much at the overwhelming abundance of printed books, but rather the underwhelming amount. For this project, I was hoping to find many, many copies of said book and map them accordingly. I pictured many location markers illustrated on the map and hoped they would land all over the world. This is not so. Thomas Jefferson’s book was only listed six times on the ESTC, but amid technical problems, I was only able to successfully grab three of the listings.

Zotero is the tool we used which helped us scrape and gather data from the English Short Title Catalogue. From there, we inputted the data into a Google Sheets page and used that information to map our findings using Google Maps.

I found this task to be daunting, but I welcome any task that is challenging. Jefferson’s book was located in Baltimore, Maryland, Paris, France, and London, England. Perhaps someone from Virginia read the book, later traveling to Baltimore and left it there. Perhaps a curious Marylander wanted to read up on their neighboring state. Maybe Thomas Jefferson himself brought along a copy of his own book. For the other two places outside of the United States, I do not have any great guesses about why they were located there.

Without further ado, here is my map showing the distributions of Notes on the State of Virginia.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *