Mapping Black Cambridge

Harvard Map Collection · Feb 1, 2024 · 1 min read

The Harvard Map Collection recently partnered with the Leventhal Map and Education Center at the Boston Public Library to support a digital mapping project by scholars Joan Brunetta and Eve Loftus. Joan and Eve’s project, titled Mapping Black Cambridge , contributes to an evolving landscape of available data used to discern historic dimensions of Black life in Boston and Cambridge.

Old archives

Leveraging historic maps and records from local libraries and archives, along with GIS training services , Joan and Eve have created a dataset from their meticulous research about Black life in Cambridge in the 19th century. Researchers can now browse Joan and Eve’s findings in an interactive web map . The source GIS data will soon be available for download via the Leventhal Map & Education Center’s Data Portal , as well as cross-listed in the Harvard Library’s federated portal for GIS data discovery .

More old archives

In addition to discovering historic GIS datasets via these portals, researchers can also make use of the library’s trainings and guided brainstorming sessions on how to maintain and preserve their own historic datasets for long-term discovery and reuse.

Upcoming events

To get inspired for ways to use datasets like these in your research and educational pursuits, consider signing up for our Asking Spatial Questions Workshop on April 8th, 2024. In this session, you will learn how to use researcher-created historic GIS datasets to practice spatial thinking, and build these concepts into a mock lesson plan. Space is limited; to join the waitlist, please email .