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History of immigration: Map of US immigrant populations in 1903

immigration-infographic-bad-scanThe Slate Vault today highlighted a “data-packed” map of American immigration in 1903 from the annual report of the Commissioner-General of Immigration. The Vault always posts interesting and beautiful maps, images etc. They also linked to anew-to-me site called Handsome Atlas that has some beautiful scans and visualizations of historic US atlases. GO and check them out.

But what they didn’t mention was that this Annual Report — technically titled the “Annual report of the Commissioner-General of Immigration to the Secretary of the Treasury for the fiscal year ended …” — is available in libraries around the country as it was distributed by the Federal Depository Library Program (FDLP) AND that the map “Race and occupation of immigrants by destination” is just one of the many maps, statistical tables, infographics, and photographs embedded in these annual reports. Stanford University Library, where I work, has the annual report going back to 1892!

And, yes, you can find this publication in Google Books, HathiTrust, and the Internet Archive, BUT you WON’T find any of the many foldout maps/infographics because they simply weren’t weren’t scanned.



A reader could use the map to see which proportion of the immigrant population of a state came from each of six “races or peoples”: “Teutonic,” “Keltic,” “Slavic,” “Iberic,” “Mongolic,” or Other. These designations echoed popular eugenic racial ideologies of the time, which used quasi-scientific theories to lump people into basic groups of origin understood to share common characteristics. The bars showing percentages of immigrants in each state color-code the newcomers according to “race or people,” so that these can be seen at a glance, then use text to explain which countries these “Mongolians” or “Slavics” came from.

The map was put together as part of an annual report made for the Commission-General of Immigration, and printed by the Government Printing Office in 1903.

via History of immigration: Map of United States immigrant populations in 1903..

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