Word Frequencies in Moral Instructor's Notes of Inmates

This app generates word frequencies from the Moral Instructor's notes for each inmates admitted to the Eastern State Penitentiary.

Use the variable selectors on the right to generate a two corpora of text to analyze. This app will show a word cloud for each corpus, revealing the most common words used to describe prisoners matching the selected traits. Then, use the “Explore Corpus in Context” section to track a keyword through the two corpora, first by seeing the keyword in context and also by seeing occurrences of the word graphed over time by using the “Word Frequency Over Time” tab.

American Philosophical Society's Center for Digital Scholarship

Choose variables create 'Corpus A'

Choose variables create 'Corpus B'

These word clouds present the 50 most common words that occur in each corpus. The more often a word occurs, the larger it appears in the word cloud.

Wordcloud for Corpus A


Wordcloud for Corpus B


This graph plots word freqencies from each corpus in relation to the other. Words appearing near the red diagonal line appear with equal frequency in each corpus, while words appearing further away appear relatively more frequently one corpus than the the other.


Explore the Corpus with Keywords

Researchers can examine trends for a particular keyword by entering it in the text box below. The app will return examples of that keyword in its original context and graph the use of the word over time.

Here is the keyword as it appears in the descriptions recorded by the Moral Instructor.

Corpus A


Corpus B


This is how the relative frequency of the keyword word changed over time, in each corpus.

Keyword over Time in Corpus A


Keyword over Time in Corpus B