In 1897 and 1898 the Philadelphia Inquirer published a series of bicycle routes. Each route had a map and a narrative describing the trip. Most also had a route coupon, providing information on road conditions and hotels or restaurants along the way. Most of the routes fanned out from Philadelphia to the surrounding area, about a third went into New Jersey. One series of connected routes went to New York City, another to Pittsburgh.
The maps were hand drawn. The narratives are detailed with information on road conditions, businesses, historical, and cultural sites along the way, and running commentary on what the rider saw as he traveled along the route. As he frequently gives the date of his ride the route provides a snapshot of that particular day.
The digitzation process begins with the newspaper on microfilm. Working from a printed copy of the microfilmed route, one person typed the routes into a word document and another proofread. The routes are saved as a pdf document and pdf scans are made of the newspaper page, the map, and the route coupon. These documents are then loaded into the Rutgers University Libraries RUCore system.
"Map Promising 1897 Travelers the "Good Roads" In and Around Philadelphia," by Rebecca Onion in Slate (11/26/2013) provides the description and image of an 1897 map of bikable roads in and around Philadelphia. The map itself is made available by Harvard University Library.
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