My first blog post on wkurtz.com.
In the next few days, I will add old blog posts I originally wrote for DocumentsCompass.org demonstration how one can easily use digital tools like Voyant and Google NGram viewer to study the Founding Fathers. Founders Online is a wealth of primary sources and contains many, many texts, perfect for more advanced digital humanities techniques like web scraping and topic modeling.
In the process of refining some tables for publication as appendices in my upcoming book, Excommunicated from the Union, I created detailed spreadsheets and Google maps that I hope will give my readers a snapshot of the size, diversity, and geographical scope of the American Catholic community in the 1860s. These are works in progress and I encourage any feedback from other experts in Catholic history or enthusiasts of the period.
At the upcoming AHA conference in New York City, I’ll be giving a paper on the invisibility of Catholic lay women in Civil War scholarship. I will post the paper here and report back about how it went. Knock on wood, a few people will like my ideas and we’ll have taken the first step toward rectifying the neglect of this important topic.
The last upcoming project that I’ll mention here briefly is my work on an unpublished manuscript by David Power Conyngham, a journalist and Civil War veteran, on Catholic priests and nuns during the American Civil War. You can see the draft manuscript for yourself at the ND Archives. Father David Endres, editor of the U.S. Catholic Historian, and I are transcribing, proofreading, and annotating this very long text as we speak. We think it is very important because of its unique information on this subject and also in the way that it attempted to shape a positive memory of the church’s activities during the war.