Attention Primary Source Lovers: Introducing Doc Chat

By Julie Golia, Associate Director, Manuscripts, Archives, and Rare Books and Charles J. Liebman Curator of Manuscri
August 13, 2020

Great news for teachers, scholars, researchers, librarians, students, and all-around primary source lovers: NYPL has launched a new program series that we think you will love. 

Map of the Borough of Brooklyn

Map of the Borough of Brooklyn Showing Racial Colonies (1920); NYPL Digital Collections, Object ID: 5003315.

On July, 29, 2020, NYPL's Center for Research in the Humanities held its first episode of Doc Chat. Each episode of Doc Chat pairs a NYPL curator or specialist and a scholar to discuss evocative digitized items from the Library's collections and brainstorm innovative ways of teaching with them.  

Episode One premiered to a packed Zoom webinar room of enthusiastic attendees. Julie Golia, NYPL’s Curator for History, Social Sciences, and Government Information, chatted with  Colgate University Professor Dan Bouk about a curious map and its unusual connection to the Red Scare of 1919-1920.

Doc Chat Episode 1: Mapping the 1920s Red Scare from The New York Public Library on Vimeo.

A transcript of this event is available here.

Below are some handy links to materials and sources suggested in the episode. 

Episode One: Primary Sources

The featured collection item for Episode One was this map, accessible on NYPL's Digital Collections:

Dan compared the Ohman map with several other demographic maps from the period. They included: 

Host Ian Fowler observed that the language of "racial colonies" was popularized by sociologist Robert E. Park in his seminal book The City.

Episode One: Secondary Source Suggestions from Dan and Julie 

Angela M. Blake, How New York Became American  (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2006)

Nell Irvin Painter, The History of White People(Norton, 2010)

Susan Schulten, A History of America in 100 Maps(University of Chicago Press, 2018)

Lisa Miller, "Mapping the First Red Scare," Brooklyn Historical Society Blog 

More Doc Chat to Come

Join us for the second episode of Doc Chat on August 18 at 12:30 PM. NYPL's Cara Dellatte, Ian Fowler, and Susan Kriete will examine collection items for clues about why “Militant Maud Malone,” an NYPL librarian and pioneering suffragist, has been largely overlooked by history. You can register here.

Come September, Doc Chat will become a weekly series; episodes will be held on Zoom on Thursdays at 3:30 PM. To get alerts for each program, sign up for NYPL's Research newsletter, which will include links to register. A video of each episode will be posted here on the NYPL blog shortly after the program, so be sure to check back regularly to keep on top of the Doc Chat conversation!