What is Time?

After using TimeMapper to document major world events of the 1860s, I have seen how chronology of events contributes to linear and non-linear time. It is a user-friendly tool that allows one to fill out the form of the even he or she wants to create. It is then documented in a google doc and is placed into the timeline. We used this tool to see what events were happening in the 1860s that could relate to James Merrill Linn in the winter of 1862.

Florence Nightingale Finds the First School of Nursing

Florence Nightingale Finds the First School of Nursing

One very interesting fact that Grafton brings up is that Chart of Biography, published in 1765, was revolutionary in that itintroduced chart that is recognizable to most of us today. This chart was a a series of horizontal lines indicating when and how long famous figures lived. Priestly’s chart was one of the first non-linear time maps. Our TimeMapper experiment was a new rendition of this simple concept. It shows how two unrelated events, such as: Florence Nightingale’s first nursing school and James Merrill Linn enlisting in the war, really do have a relationship. Clearly, if this was only the first nursing school, the medical health system was lacking. This definitely must have had an effect on Linn and his fellow troops.

First Machine-Powered Submarine Photograph

First Machine-Powered Submarine Photograph


Grafton brings up the point that technological advancements, such as photography, had an impact on documenting history. In our TimeMapper assignment, every one of the events of the 1860’s had a photo and geographical coordinates. These ammedities make it easier to relate the historical events to Linn’s situation.


On figure 14 in the reading, Grafton references “The Long Now Foundation, comparative time scales of the concept of long.” Linn, in the winter of 1862, is documenting the “now.” When we used TimeMapper, we were documenting the “nowadays.” Linn’s writing focuses on yesterday, today, tomorrow, while our research this past week focuses on more on an entire decade. Why would Linn reference the publication of Les Miserables? He is writing with a different concept of time. He is living in the “now.”


  1. Rachel Harmatz says:

    I really liked how you incorporated “Florence Nightingale Finds First School of Nurses” and connected it to Linn’s personal diary entries. I used the Fall of Fort Sumter and his enlistment to indicate the chronological order and time of events. That was a great idea to find a connection between Linn’s experience as a suffering soldier and how difficult it would have been without the aid of numerous medical services. Those definitely relate and that event probably had a huge impact on Linn!

  2. Dale Hartman says:

    I fully agree with the statement you made in the last paragraph of your post. Major world events happening now rarely occupy our mind for more then a few minutes before they are pushed out by more pressing matters. Everyone lives in the now, its how we prioritize and accomplish the things we do.