A curious engraving

I’ve always been a visual thinker, which makes me an outlier as far as most historians are concerned, at least if you consider the average text-centric history publication or lecture. I’m not very artistic, but I do like to compress a lot of info into visualizations to make quick-read summaries. And computer software has really made it easy to make neat-looking graphics with relative ease. So from time to time I’ll post examples of my attempts to visually summarize historical info. Feel free to comment on my attempts, or even contribute your own.

The first is a chart illustrating military ranks (based off England) circa 1700. I’m planning on using this for reference for myself and students in my European warfare course.

So, what’s the most effective historical visualization you’ve seen? Why did it work for you?

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3 responses to “A curious engraving”

  1. Wienand Drenth says :

    Not sure if it were the most effective, but some time ago I made a graph showing the number of regiments in the British Army (total, and for the three establishments) between 1660 and 1715. It visualized nicely the growth of the army during wartime, and decline afterwards. Everybody knows this of course, but presented in a single figure just adds a bit.

    • jostwald says :

      Thanks for the comment. Edward Tufte highlights Leonard Ayres’ use of a neat chart to indicate American divisions serving in France during WW1 by month. Ayres’ “The War with Germany” 1919 in Google Books, on p. 102.

  2. John Grenier says :

    Nice chart. It’d be very useful in class. I’ve seen where the who merchel de camp thing has confused some historians, too. They think it relates to Field Marshal, when really it is a better match with a Brigadier.

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