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Purpose: This poster display presents some of the archival material uncovered over the course of two research trips to specific places that Matthew Arnold, Victorian poet & essayist, visited on his first North American lecture tour. The display highlights some formerly undocumented locations at which Arnold lectured and archival photographs of some of the spaces that no longer exist. Not only will a visitor be able to see these images, but also will be able to engage with the emerging interactive map which is this project’s ultimate goal. These research trips have been made possible by two Shott Scholar Summer Awards.

History: This interactive, digital humanities project visually renders Arnold’s first lecture tour through North America from 1889-1884. Using the collected Letters of Matthew Arnold, several biographies, and an early dissertation, a fairly accurate but incomplete list of all Arnold’s lecture stops was created. The dates of each lecture and the title of the lecture (or other works) that Arnold read were added. Finally, GIS student Woody dePew created a static map. Through additional research, more accurate locations and dates were found, and I began inputting the locations into GoogleMaps. Viewers can now zoom in to street-level views of each location by visiting the interactive map. Over time, an interactive narrative has emerged and several heretofore unknown sites have been uncovered.

Status: A map visitor can click on each location (represented by a virtual pin on the map if a public venue, and a star if a college/university venue) and a window will pop up giving the viewer the lecture venue, the date(s) on which Arnold lectured, the lecture (or other work) title, and a brief narrative of the circumstances surrounding the visit (often gleaned from contemporary local newspapers). The visitor may then scroll through images of the location – past and current – as well as view images of any archival material that could be found.

Future: The project continues to grow and is currently linked to several major Victorian studies websites. Over the coming years, I hope to continue visiting these locations, photographing them as they currently appear and finding any archival materials that may be uncovered. There are still some unknown sites, and further research may make these locations more concrete.


This is a metadata-only record.



  • Subject
    • English

  • Date submitted

    18 July 2022

  • Keywords
  • Additional information
    • Author Biography:

      Dr. Gilstrap received his Ph.D. in English Literature from Georgia State University. His research has been published in peer-reviewed journals and on Victorian specialist websites. Additionally, he presents regularly on Victorian literature at local, regional, national, and international conferences. He is currently Associate Professor of English.