Project partners
Benjamin Cohen, Associate Professor of Engineering Studies
John Clark, Data Visualization & GIS Librarian
Anna Malantonio, Digital Library Developer
James Griffin, Co-Director of Digital Scholarship Services, through June 2017
Eric Luhrs, Director of Digital Scholarship Services, through October 2016

Image of a farmer encountering a hydra

Historic cartoon of a farmer encountering a hydra representing various forms of manufactured foods

Project description
As a digital companion piece to Dr. Cohen’s forthcoming book on the topic, the Pure Food Project uses advanced GIS mapping technologies to examine the spread of food adulteration and contamination in the U.S. between 1860 and 1920.  Project partners generated historical geospatial datasets to map the growth of the production of specific adulterants, particularly cottonseed oil (an adulterant in olive oil and lard), and the mass production of oleomargarine. The maps reveal patterns of production, an increase in occurrences of adulteration over time, and public outcry through legislation.

View the Project