Networked New York: Annotated Program, Part 7

One late and last addition to our Networked New York panelists – Edward Whitley, author of American Bards: Walt Whitman and Other Unlikely Candidates for National Poet (2010) and Co-director of The Vault at Pfaff’s, a digital archive of art and writing produced by New York City bohemians in the mid nineteenth century. Visitors to The Vault can examine poetry, drama, fiction, social commentary, and art generated by patrons of Charles Pfaff’s beer cellar (which Karen Karbiener will discuss at Networked New York as a “living archive” of Walt Whitman’s experience in the city). Founded in 2006, The Vault includes biographies of people connected to the saloon, an extensive annotated bibliography of works by and about Pfaff’s bohemians from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, and digital reproductions of all 157 issues of The New York Saturday Press, the literary journal to which many of these writers and artists contributed.

Whitley is also co-developing The Crowded Page, an NEH-funded computing project which enables users to map the social networks of literary and artistic communities. A great digital tool for thinking about some of the questions we’re asking at Networked New York, The Crowded Page challenges the idea of a work as the product of a single creator, seeking to make visible “the ways in which a complex network of friends, editors, neighbors, lovers, and fellow artists and writers informs the creative process.” At this stage, users can play around with data representing the mid nineteenth-century Pfaff’s community as well as the artist community centered in Greenwich Village between 1910 and 1920.

Whitley will be presenting “Digital Social Networks and New York’s First Bohemians” as part of Panel 2 (11:15-12:30, Community, Production, and Place) on March 9. For an updated list of panelists and complete schedule, visit the conference website.

Image from The Vault archive: “Urban and Suburban Sketches: The Bowery and Bohemia,” Scribner’s Magazine, January 1894.