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Looking for Data in All the Right Places: Recreating the Enslaved Community at Mount Vernon

Author(s): Molly H Kerr ; Esther White

Year: 2016

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At his death in 1799, George Washington recorded 318 enslaved people at Mount Vernon.  This number does not reflect the numbers of individuals who worked the property during the entire tenure of the Washington family from 1735 – 1858, and it does not begin to address individuals enslaved on the numerous properties owned by Washington or the vast acreage he administered on behalf of the Custis family.  To better understand the lives of all those enslaved individuals, Mount Vernon’s digital humanities program designed a unique database to capture the events of their daily lives.  This database is successfully compiling, deduping, and organizing references from ledgers, diaries, work reports, etc., to provide a means to quantitatively analyze these textual references.  This paper explores the overall Slavery Database and focuses on issues of data entry, data manipulation, and the complexity of working with text as data.

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Looking for Data in All the Right Places: Recreating the Enslaved Community at Mount Vernon. Molly H Kerr, Esther White. Presented at Society for Historical Archaeology, Washington, D.C. 2016 ( tDAR id: 434421)


Spatial Coverage

min long: -129.199; min lat: 24.495 ; max long: -66.973; max lat: 49.359 ;

Record Identifiers

PaperId(s): 826

Arizona State University The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation National Science Foundation National Endowment for the Humanities Society for American Archaeology Archaeological Institute of America