Our Project: The Map of Victorian Literary Sociability

The Map of Victorian Literary Sociability is an open-access tool that seeks to map the spatial networks of Victorian writers, artists, editors and publishers. The map geo-references the residences of these cultural figures in order to examine how propinquity may have facilitated careers and collaboration in nineteenth-century Britain. We hope that this project will shed particular light on how nineteenth-century women were able to construct careers. In Victorian London, women were not always welcome in the spaces of the club or the publisher’s dinner, but they did have opportunities to network in each other’s homes and at literary soirees. This project tracks the movements and networks of a variety of Victorian cultural figures in urban centres and far beyond.

This interdisciplinary project combines the knowledge of those working in English and Geography in order to develop a methodology for geocoding Victorian addresses. Historical geocoding brings with it the complexities of sparse information at the building level, changes in street names and addresses, and completely altered or reconstructed areas. However, newly digitized resources, from census data to fire insurance maps, are enabling us to piece together a fuller picture of who lived where in Victorian Britain. Our open access guide to nineteenth-century geocoding is available here.

A caveat: most of the addresses you see on this map are geocoded to the exact building, but in some cases not enough information exists to pin down the exact house, and the pin appears on the centre of the street, neighbourhood, or town that the historical figure lived in. Similarly, while we have striven to be as accurate as possible in terms of the dates that a person occupied a residence, in some cases we do not have exact dates. We have recorded these uncertainties in our metadata, and invite those intending to use our database for research purposes to download our data. We welcome anyone with more specific knowledge on the residences of a historical figure to contact us and help us refine our data by contributing a person or address.

Special thanks to the Orlando Project, who have generously shared expertise and spatial data on Victorian women writers throughout the development of this project. This project was made possible through a Mellon subgrant administered by Libraries and Cultural Resources at the University of Calgary. We are especially grateful to John Brosz, Tom Hickerson, Christie Hurrell, and Ingrid Reiche for their financial and intellectual support of this project.

Our Team

Dan Jacobson

Associate Professor, Department of Geography

Peter Peller

Director of the Spatial and Numeric Data Services, Libraries and Cultural Resources

Sonia Jarmula

English MA

Hannah Anderson

English MA

David Lapins

Geography BSc

Kaelyn Macaulay

English BA


Sarah Bilston, Trinity College

Abigail Burnham Bloom, Hunter College, CUNY

Alison Booth, University of Virginia

Susan Brown, University of Guelph

Alison Chapman, University of Victoria

Sharon Cogdill, St. Cloud State University

Sarah Comyn, University College Dublin

Sondra Cooney, Kent State University

Amy Cote, University of Toronto

Richa Dwor, Douglas College

Denae Dyck, University of Victoria

Caley Ehnes, College of the Rockies

Jana Smith Elford, University of Alberta/University of Ottawa

Kailey Fukushima, University of Victoria

Ali Hatapçı, Université Paris 7

Alison Hedley, Mcgill University

Kathryn Holland, MacEwan University

Christopher Keep, Western University

Alyson J. Kiesel, Carthage College

Andrea Korda, University of Alberta

Mary Elizabeth Leighton, University of Victoria

Paisley Mann, Langara College

Susan Jaret McKinstry, Carleton College

Janice Niemann, University of Victoria

Robert O’Kell, University of Manitoba

Carolyn Oulton, Canterbury Christ Church University

Michele Robinson, University of North Carolina

Phyllis Weliver, Saint Louis University

Jason Wiens, University of Calgary

Miranda Wojciechowski, Indiana University