JF Ptak Science Books LLC Post 176
This data set is from the Johnson's Family Atlas for 1863 in the "Historical And Statistical View of the United States" section, printed on the back of the Tennessee and Kentucky map, and which was derived from the Eight Census of the United States (1860). It displays the changes in the states' populations relative to each other, placing them in a populace order (highest to lowest), for a seventy year period, from 1790 to 1860, following the changes in the 17 states of 1790 to the 34 states in 1860. So far as I can determine this is a very early graphical display revealing these sorts of comparisons of, well, anything. It is a little tenuous and twisted, but the ride it offers is determined and it is revealing--it just doesn't enter the form in which the data could be more usefully (and quickly) displayed. If you set your mind to it you can follow the languid changes in increases and decreases in a state's population relative to the other states in the Union--for example, it is easy to follow the fortunes of New York and Virginia, as the changes each experiences over these seventy years is relatively marginal. Drastic changes are another story, and following the lines of their evolutions not easy: the mercurial climbing chnanes in Ohio and Illinois are a bit hard to figure, though the longish but large changes (like that of South Carolina) prove a bit less tenacious to see.
There would be many more of these displays to come--particularly in the very large, double-page, fabulously colored lithograph that appeared in the atlas folio of the famous 11th census--but this was one of the very earliest attempts to display changes over time, and it worked out beautifully.