Featured Project:

Land Acquisition and Dispossession

Mapping the Homestead Act, 1863-1912

by the
Digital Scholarship Lab & Julius Wilm


The Digital Scholarship Lab develops innovative digital humanities projects that contribute to research and teaching at and beyond the University of Richmond. It seeks to reach a wide audience by developing projects that integrate thoughtful interpretation in the humanities and social sciences with innovations in new media.


The Digital Scholarship Lab: Blending Contemporary and Static Mapping to Visualize American History.
Maps created and designed by Justin Madron and Nathaniel Ayers for “Southern Journey: The Migrations of the American South, 1790-2010”, received the Best Cartography award, the ICA and IMIA Recognition of Excellence in Cartography award, and third place in the Spatial Analysis using ArcGIS StoryMaps category from the 2021 Esri User Conference Map Gallery.
Family Tree Magazine
The DSL's Atlas of the Historical Geography of the United States has been selected as one of the Family Tree Magazine's 101 Best Websites for Genealogy.
The DSL has just released a new version of Photogrammar where users can view 170,000 photographs taken by the FSA and OWI agencies of the U.S. Federal Government between 1935 and 1943.
Southern Journey
Edward L. Ayers releases Southern Journey: The Migrations of the American South, 1790-2020 with maps designed by the DSL's Justin Madron and Nathaniel Ayers.

Latest Maps

Land Acquisition and Dipossession: Mapping the Homestead Act, 1863-1912

The Homestead Act of 1862 offered Americans the opportunity to claim parcels of "public land," occupy and improve it for five years, and then receive title to it. This map visualizes over time and space the more than 2.3 million claims and 900,000 "patents" granting ownership made and issued in the half century after passage of the act.

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Photogrammar provides a web-based visualization platform for exploring the 170,000 photographs taken by the FSA and OWI agencies of the U.S. Federal Government between 1935 and 1943.

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Not Even Past: Social Vulnerability and the Legacy of Redlining

Not Even Past maps redlining maps from the 1930s with maps of health dispartities today, showing enduring contours of marked inequality in American cities over the past century.

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Digital Humanities Projects at UR


Bunk is a shared home for the web’s most interesting writing and thinking about the American past. Join us to explore the multi-dimensional connections between past and present.

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Photogrammar is a web-based platform for organizing, searching, and visualizing the 170,000 photographs from 1935 to 1945 created by the United States Farm Security Administration and Office of War Information (FSA-OWI).

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Virginia Secession Convention

The project explores a topic of broad scholarly and public interest as the sesquicentennial of the Civil War approaches: How did the decision to secede--and start the bloodiest conflict in US history--come about?

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Race and Racism

The Race and Racism at the University of Richmond Project is an interdisciplinary initiative that documents, interrogates, and catalyzes community discussions on the history of race and racism at the university.

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The Digital Scholarship Lab is:

Robert K. Nelson
Robert K. Nelson is the DSL’s director. He is an historian of nineteenth-century America. He holds a PhD in American studies from the College of William and Mary, and his work has appeared in the Journal of Social History and American Literature.
Riley D. Champine
Associate Director
Riley D. Champine is the Associate Director for the DSL. He spent seven years making maps for National Geographic Magazine and served as its Manager of Digital Cartography. Riley graduated from the University of Oregon, where he studied geographic information science and urban planning. His maps have covered a wide variety of topics including animal migration, soccer, climate injustice, and international boundary disputes.
Chad Devers
Full Stack Library Solutions Engineer
Chad Devers is the Full Stack Library Solutions Engineer for the DSL and Digital Engagement. He’s enjoyed contributing to a wide variety of University projects, as both designer and developer, since 2011. Chad is a graduate of Virginia Commonwealth University School of the Arts.
Nathaniel Ayers
Visualization and Web Designer
Nathaniel Ayers is the Digital Scholarship Lab’s visualization and web designer, serving as the head of the Lab’s design work and providing technical assistance to faculty and students. A graduate of Virginia Commonwealth University, School of the Arts, Nathaniel has done programming and visualization work for the University of Virginia.
Lauren Tilton
Research Fellow
Lauren Tilton is Assistant Professor of Digital Humanities and Research Fellow at University of Richmond’s Digital Scholarship Lab. Her current book project focuses on participatory media in the 1960s and 1970s. She is the Co-PI of the project Participatory Media, which interactively engages with and presents participatory community media from the 1960s and 1970s. She is also a director of Photogrammar, a web-based platform for organizing, searching and visualizing the 170,000 photographs from 1935 to 1945 created by the United States Farm Security Administration and Office of War Information (FSA-OWI). She is the co-author of Humanities Data in R (Springer, 2015).
Edward L Ayers
Senior Research Fellow
Edward L. Ayers is Senior Research Fellow at the DSL. He is president emeritus and a professor of history at the University of Richmond. A scholar of the American South, he is the author of numerous books, including In the Presence of Mine Enemies: The Civil War in the Heart of America, 1859-1863, The Promise of the New South: Life After Reconstruction, and The Thin Light of Freedom, and is co-editor of the Valley of the Shadow digital archive. He is the co-primary investigator on “Visualizing Emancipation.”

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