About the Project


Mapping Expatriate Paris: The Shakespeare and Company Lending Library Project (MEP) is a digital humanities project, sponsored by the Center for Digital Humanities (CDH) at Princeton University, that examines the Lost Generation using the documents, books, and memorabilia in the Sylvia Beach Papers in the Department of Rare Books and Special Collections (RBSC) at Princeton’s Firestone Library.

Project History

MEP grew out of a graduate seminar taught by Professor Joshua Kotin in 2013. During a visit to RBSC, Jesse McCarthy, a student in the seminar, suggested that the Shakespeare and Company lending library cards would make an excellent dataset for a mapping project about the Lost Generation and interwar Paris.

In the spring of 2015, Princeton’s CDH awarded Kotin and McCarthy a one-year grant to digitize the lending library cards, and develop display and access tools. That summer, the Library’s Digital Photography Studio photographed the lending library cards, and a team of graduate students transcribed them.

When the grant began in the fall, Clifford Wulfman, Digital Initiatives Coordinator at Firestone, joined the MEP team and began to teach the team to use the Guidelines of the Text Encoding Initiative (TEI) to encode the cards to capture names, places, dates, financial transactions, and book titles. Kotin began to develop a prosopographical database (personography) of the lending library members. The team soon discovered a second rich source of data in the Shakespeare and Company logbooks. These documents, too, were soon encoded. Together with the lending library cards, they constitute MEP’s textbase, the major outcome of the first CDH grant.

In the spring of 2016, the CDH renewed its grant to MEP. In the coming year, the MEP team will extend the library card encoding to include regularization of book titles and the representation of borrowing events, and the CDH will develop a robust and interactive website that the public can use to explore the textbase.

About the Resources

The primary assets of the project are TEI-encoded transcriptions of a number of documents from the Sylvia Beach Papers.

When the encoding is complete, these documents will be freely available for scholarly use on GitHub.

Documents from the Sylvia Beach Papers were digitized by the Princeton University Library’s Digital Photography Studio. The lending library cards can be accessed through the finding aid.

MEP Team

Joshua Kotin
Clifford Wulfman
Jesse McCarthy

Project Manager

Elspeth Green

DH Advisor

Moacir P. de Sá Pereira

Current Researchers and Encoders

Oliver Browne
Jin Chow
Ian Davis
Madeleine Joelson
Cate Mahoney
Mary Naydan

Past Researchers and Encoders

Carl Adair
Harriet Calver

For information about MEP, please contact Joshua Kotin at jkotin@princeton.edu