Welcome to MAPACA

Music and the Performing Arts in Colonial America

MAPACA is database of more than 53,000 newspaper articles, advertisements, and illustrations that refer to or include music, poetry, or the performing arts in British North America between 1704 and 1783. Besides the text, each entry has location information about both the publisher and the event reported on, so for example, you can ask how many times Boston newspapers reported on bells being rung in New York in the wake of the Stamp Act's repeal in 1766, or how many times Philadelphia reported on plays performed in other colonies or London, mapping the change in frequency between 1704 and 1783. These sorts of queries can be used, for example, to ask questions about the extent of the network of print and the timing of its emergence into what Benedict Anderson calls the imagined community in the decades before and during the American Revolution. To master the search interface's capabilities, we encourage you to read the help file.  Additional support is available from the Forum, where you can report bugs and suggest features as well.

This is the 1.0 release. Advanced queries are possible, but the data is returned as a Google-like list of results. The results can be downloaded as a CSV file which can then be analyzed using spreadsheet, statistical, and data mining software. Searches can be saved and uploaded for later use as well.  Contingent on continued support, we plan on incorporating cross-tabulated tables and graphing and visualization features for the 2.0 release.

Note on Scope: The use of "America" is aspirational at this point.  The original data set was compiled as part of a federal US grant, thus the current data is solely a subset of British North American newspapers limited anachronistically to the thirteen colonies that would become the United States. We hope in the future to expand the data set to include the Americas proper, with Canada, the Caribbean, and Central and South America represented, but did not want to delay release. The colonial moniker holds, since all the presses at this time were in colonies.  Plus we like the sound of "MAPACA."

The database was originally compiled by Mary Jane Corry, Kate Van Winkle Keller, and Robert M. Keller and released as a CD, The Performing Arts in Colonial American Newspapers, 1690-1783 (New York: University Music Editions, 1997). The full list of people who worked on the CD version can be found in the user guide for their web site. This interface and the port to a web-based MySQL database is a project of the Digital Arts and Humanities Initiative at the University of Hawaiʿi at Mānoa. Richard Cullen Rath ported the database to MySQL and designed a user interface with David Goldberg, who programmed the new interface. This new work was made possible with the generous support of the College of Arts and Humanities at UHM.