Anne Kelly Knowles

Co-founder, Holocaust Geographies Collaborative

Research Interests
Historical geography
Historical GIS, Geovisualization, and Digital Humanities
The Holocaust
Nineteenth-century United States
Intersections of economy, technology, and culture and their expression in the landscape

As an historical geographer, I am endlessly interested in the relationship between historical events, ways of life, how places evolve, geographical circumstances, and spatial connections. I have studied what moved Welsh people to emigrate to the United States, why American entrepreneurs struggled to match the productivity of the British iron industry, and a few of the many geographies of the Holocaust. For me, every study begins with questions of why certain things happened in some places and not others; how local conditions influenced people’s decisions; and how human actions shaped the built and natural landscape. I also have an abiding interest in finding methodological solutions to intellectual problems and in fostering productive, creative collaboration among scholars and students. Building bridges across disciplines has been a hallmark of my career.

After studying English and American literature as an undergraduate, I worked for years as a book editor in New York and Chicago. In the mid-1980s I happened to discover historical geography while editing a new U.S. history textbook with an ambitious map program. It changed my life. I received my PhD in Geography from University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1993 and took up my first teaching position that year in the Institute of Earth Studies at the University of Wales, Aberystwyth. There I taught primarily in Welsh, a beautiful language that I had learned to research 19th-century Welsh immigration for my dissertation. A postdoctoral fellowship at Wellesley College lured me back to the USA. A few years in the American wilderness followed, during which I began to focus on the potential of using GIS (geographic information systems) in historical research and teaching. In 2002 when I was hired into a tenure-track position in the Geography Department at Middlebury College, where I taught for thirteen years. I joined the Department of History at the University of Maine in August 2015.








2014    Lead editor, with Tim Cole and Alberto Giordano, Geographies of the Holocaust

(Indiana University Press).

2013    Mastering Iron: The Struggle to Modernize an American Industry, 1800-1868

(University of Chicago Press).

2008    Editor, Placing History: How Maps, Spatial Data, and GIS Are Changing Historical     Scholarship, digital supplement edited by Amy Hillier (ESRI Press).

2002    Editor, Past Time, Past Place: GIS for History (ESRI Press).

1997    Calvinists Incorporated: Welsh Immigrants on Ohio’s Industrial Frontier (University

of Chicago Press).

Refereed journal issues

2005    Guest editor, Emerging Trends in Historical GIS, Historical Geography 33.

2000    Guest editor, Historical GIS: The Spatial Turn in Social Science History, Social

            Science History 24:3.

Recent articles and book chapters

2021    Tim Cole and Anne Kelly Knowles, “Thinking Spatially about the Holocaust,” in

Places, Spaces, and Voids in the Holocaust, edited by Natalia Aleksiun and Hana

Kubátová (Göttingen: Wallstein Verlag): 291-96.

2021    “Geography and the Holocaust,” in The SAGE Handbook of Historical Geography, vol.

2, edited by Mona Domosh, Michael Heffernan, and Charles Withers (London:

SAGE): 497-520.

2020    Levi Westerveld and Anne Kelly Knowles, “Loosening the Grid: Topology as the

Basis for a More Inclusive GIS,” International Journal of Geographic Information Science, 1-20. Available online at

2020    Levi Westerveld and Anne Kelly Knowles, I Was There: Places of Experience in the

Holocaust, in Atlas of Design, edited by Brooke E. Marston, et al. (North American

Cartographic Information Society, printed by Shapco Printing, Golden Valley,

Minn.): 62-65. Juried selection, one of 31 maps chosen from 450 submissions.

2020    Anne Kelly Knowles, Paul B. Jaskot, Tim Cole, and Alberto Giordano, “Mind the

Gap: Reading Across the Holocaust Testimonial Archive,” in Lessons & Legacies 14,

The Holocaust in the Twenty-First Century: Relevance and Challenges in the Digital Age,

edited by Tim Cole and Simone Gigliotti (Evanston, IL: Northwestern University

Press): 216-41.

2020    Anne Kelly Knowles and Justus Hillebrand, with Paul B. Jaskot and Anika Walke,

“Integrative, Interdisciplinary Database Design for the Spatial Humanities,”

International Journal of Humanities and Arts Computing 14: 1-2: 64-80.

2019    Weihe W. Guan, Matthew W. Wilson, and Anne Kelly Knowles, “Evaluating the

Geographic in GIS,” Geographical Review 109(3): 297-307. DOI:

2018    “HGIS and the American Iron Industry,” in The Routledge Handbook of Spatial

History, edited by Donald DeBats and Ian Gregory (New York: Routledge): 136-


2016    “Historical GIS and Social Science History,” Social Science History 40(4): 741-750.


2016    “Interview with Anne Knowles, Tim Cole, Alberto Giordano, and Paul Jaskot,” in

Probing the Ethics of Holocaust Culture, edited by  Claudio Fogu, Wulf Kansteiner,

and Todd Presner (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press): 240-256.

2015    “Inductive Visualization: A Humanistic Alternative to GIS,” with Levi Westerveld

and Laura Strom, GeoHumanities 1(2): 233-65. DOI 10.1080/2373566X.2015.1108831.

2015    “A Research-Based Model for Digital Mapping and Art History: Notes from the

Field,” with Paul B. Jaskot, Andrew Wasserman, Stephen Whiteman, and Benjamin

Zweig, ArtL@s Bulletin 4:1, Article 5. Available online at

2015    “Historians and Maps,” The History of Cartography, vol. 6, Cartography in the Twentieth Century, edited by Mark Monmonier (University of Chicago Press): 597 – 601.

2015    “Historical Geography and Cartography,” The History of Cartography, vol. 6,

Cartography in the Twentieth Century, edited by Mark Monmonier (University of

Chicago Press): 603 – 7.

2014    “Why We Must Make Maps: Historical Geography as a Visual Craft,” Historical

            Geography 42 (2014): 3 – 26. Distinguished Historical Geographer lecture.

Digital publications

2018    “I Was There: Places of Experience in the Holocaust,” with Levi Westerveld, map (no scale), published with commentary on VisionsCarto,, Dec. 13. French and German translations by Nepthys Zwer.

2014    TED-ED Talk, “A Digital Reimagining of Gettysburg,”

2013    “A Cutting-Edge Second Look at the Battle of Gettysburg,” with Daniel Patrick Miller, International Mapping, and ESRI StoryMaps, history-archaeology/A-Cutting-Edge-Second-Look-at-the-Battle-of-Gettysburg.html.



Research grants and fellowships

2021    Regular Faculty Research Award, University of Maine, for archival and field

research toward An Atlas of the Holocaust ($10,000).

2021    Collaborative Research Seed Grant, Center for the Humanities, Washington

University in St. Louis (Anika Walke, Project Coordinator; Anne Kelly Knowles and

Dan Miller, Collaborators), for “Capturing Place-Based Experiences in Holocaust

Survivor Testimony” ($14,195).

2020    Faculty Research Award, McGillicuddy Humanities Center, University of Maine, to

support Dan Miller’s continued development of digital tools to enable tagging and

analysis of the spatial content in Holocaust survivor interview transcripts ($2,000).

2019    Faculty Research Award, McGillicuddy Humanities Center, University of Maine, to

work with Levi Westerveld on a topological approach to mapping place and

movement during the Holocaust ($2,000).

2018-2022  PI, co-PIs Paul B. Jaskot and Anika Walke, National Endowment for the

Humanities Digital Humanities Advancement Grant, Award HAA-261290, for The

Holocaust Ghettos Project: Reintegrating Victims and Perpetrators through Places and Events ($296,455).

2016-2018  PI, National Endowment for the Humanities Digital Humanities Start-Up Grant,

Level II, Award HE-248377-16, for Visualizing Spatial Experience in Holocaust

            Testimony ($73,168).

2015    Fellow, John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation (taken 2017).

2014    Samuel H. Kress Foundation, Summer Institute on Digital Mapping and Art

History, co-directed with Paul B. Jaskot.

2012    Newberry Library Short Term Fellowship in the History of Cartography.

2011    National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Stipend.

2008 – 2011  National Science Foundation Collaborative Research Grant No. 0820487,

Holocaust Historical GIS (Alberto Giordano, PI) and Research at an Undergraduate

Institution Grant No. 0820501 (Anne Kelly Knowles, PI).

2005    National Endowment for the Humanities Research Fellowship.

2003    National Endowment for the Humanities Collaborative Research Grant to the

Newberry Library, History and Geography: Assessing the Role of Geographical

Information in Historical Scholarship.

1999    American Council of Learned Societies Research Fellowship.

1997 – 1999  Mellon Postdoctoral Fellowship in Geography, Wellesley College.

1997, 1998   British Academy personal research grants.



Honors and awards

2019    Avenza Competition for Cartographic Design, 1st prize, American Association of Geographers, for I Was There: Places of Experience in the Holocaust, by Levi Westerveld

and Anne Kelly Knowles.

2014    John Brinckerhoff Jackson Book Award, Association of American Geographers.

2014    Distinguished Historical Geographer, Historical Geography Specialty Group, Association of American Geographers.

2012    American Ingenuity Award for Historical Scholarship, Smithsonian magazine.



For a full CV, please contact me at