Room 26 Cabinet of Curiosities

Visualizing History

Posted in Beinecke Library, Shirley Collection by beineckepoetry on September 2, 2011

Pages from Elizabeth Peabody’s Universal History: Arranged to Illustrate Bem’s Charts of Chronology. New York: Pub. for the author by Sheldon and Co, 1859.

A system for charting historical events on a grid (representing historical periods, arranged chronologically); squares, divided into 9 parts each, to represent distinct categories of historical events; and colors, to show different “Nations”.

A curious abstract visual system for reducing history to shapes and color on a standard, single field of two-dimensional representation.

The end product, while perhaps not becoming a real mnenomic device for learning history (or a compelling Visual Display of Quantitative Information), produced some intriguing designs.

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