Susan Schulten is a professor of history at the University of Denver. Her newest book is A History of America in 100 Maps (2018), published by the British Library Press and the University of Chicago Press. She is also the author of Mapping the Nation: History and Cartography in Nineteenth-Century America (2012), which won the Pacific Coast Branch of the American Historical Association's Norris and Carol Hundley Award, and The Geographical Imagination in America, 1880–1950 (2001). Her other recent work includes "The Civil War and the Origins of the Colorado Territory," Western Historical Quarterly (spring 2013), which was named the best article in the journal that year. With Elliott Gorn and Randy Roberts she recently edited Constructing the American Past: A Sourcebook of a People's History (2018). She teaches courses on Lincoln, the Civil War and Reconstruction, America at the turn of the century, the history of American ideas and culture, the Great Depression, the Cold War, war and the presidency, and the methods and philosophy of history. Recipient of a Guggenheim fellowship for her research on the history of cartography, she lectures widely on the Civil War, the history of maps, and American history in general. For four years she also contributed to the New York Times "Disunion" series, which commemorated the sesquicentennial of the American Civil War. For more information on her newest book, visit www.america100maps.com.
We live in a culture saturated with maps, which can be made instantly to represent virtually any type of data. Technology makes this possible, but our contemporary use of maps is rooted in a fundamental shift that took place well over a century ago. In the nineteenth century, Americans began to use maps in radically new ways, not just to represent the landscape but to investigate patterns and organize information. From maps of disease and climate to the census and slavery, this was a time when the very meaning of a map was redefined.