In 1943, six American publishers founded the Council on Books in Wartime, an organization dedicated to “fight[ing] the war on ideas.” Their goal was to provide democratic reading material to American Servicemen and Women abroad: The Armed Services Editions. Over the course of the war, 123 million copies of 1,322 books were distributed to soldiers in the European and Pacific theaters, to improve morale and promote democracy.
This project uses computational methods to examine the corpus of Armed Services Editions. In its beta phase, this is a book history project, examining the corpus to learn more about this volatile and exciting period in American literary history.
The Gender analysis considers the distribution of gendered pronoun usage throughout the corpus, and features a basic foray into LDA topic modeling. The Genre analysis considers the types of books that were sent to servicemen, and how the generic representation of books may have shifted over time. Finally, Geography examines the geographic imagination of the corpus– both domestic and internationally– with NER.
Do visit the “About the Project” page to learn more– and do keep in mind that this is a work in progress. I welcome comments, suggestions, tutorials, and all manner of good conversation.