Mapping Women’s Revolutionary Control of their Environment & Property in Marseille:
A Digital Humanities Project

My original impetus for this article focused on women and property rights in eighteenth-century Marseille by investigating revolutionary tax and census records to add to what we know from notary records and dowry agreements, and from court records, such as pre-revolutionary judicial petitions for separations de corps et de biens or separations de biens, and from divorce and family court records during the French Revolution. Tax records seemed very promising because of the rich socioeconomic and geographic data revealed in terms of women’s property income, their marital status, and the location of their property that would allow for interactive digital mapping. Mapping is a tool that I began exploring for better understanding the breadth and depth of women’s political engagement and how women from various social milieus used their familial, social, and economic networks to influence the development of revolutionary consciousness, culture, and practices in Marseille. The current project will be integrated into a larger, interactive digital humanities mapping project on women in revolutionary Marseille that unpacks their political, social, and cultural experiences in terms of change and continuity from 1789-1795. My goal is to expand the previous study of women and their influence on geopolitical space to include the revolutionary impact on women’s control of space in terms of property rights and household compositions.

Maps Comparing Women's Income and Property in each Section

Percentage of Female Heads of Household - Artisan or Skilled Labor

Percentage of Female Heads of Household - Bourgeois or Merchant

Percentage of Female Bourgeois of All Bourgeois in Census Records

Percentage of Single Female Heads of Household Listed as Bourgeois

Percentage of Female Property Owners Relative to All Property Owners

Percentage of Females Earning Income from Property in the Contributions mobilières

Percentage of Women Subletting/Renting Rooms to Others

Percentage of Female Property Owners Listed as Widows

Percentage of Female Bourgeois that are Widowed Heads of Household

Percentage of Widows Living as Singletons


Image Credit

Base map: Plan routier de la ville et faubourg de Marseille.
Cartographer: Campen, 1791.
Engraver: Denis Laurent, 1792.
Source: Bibliothèque nationale de France, département Cartes et plans, GE C-9643.
Available online at Bibliothèque nationale de France.
GIS and Digital Mapping by Michelle Richards.

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