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About the Our Marathon Archive

The Boston Marathon is woven into the fabric of our community: it brings together runners from around the world, spectators, family members, and neighbors, forging a river of people stretching from Hopkinton to downtown Boston. The April 15, 2013 bombing at the marathon finish line aimed to destroy that fabric. We invite you to help mend and strengthen the fabric of our community by contributing your stories and media from the week of April 15 in Boston.

“Our Marathon” is a crowd-sourced archive of pictures, videos, stories, and even social media related to the Boston Marathon; the bombing on April 15, 2013; the subsequent search, capture, and trial of the individuals who planted the bombs; and the city’s healing process. “Our Marathon” will allow the public to explore not only what happened during the event, but also how the event was experienced by Bostonians, visitors to the city, and those many members of the “Boston diaspora” who were far away but deeply engaged in the unfolding events. The archive will serve as a long-term memorial, preserving these records for students and researchers, providing future historians with invaluable, local windows into an important national event.

Much of the media attention in the wake of the bombing has focused on the two men accused of planting the bombs, as well as, importantly, on the victims and survivors of the violence. We see this archive as a way to allow a wider range of important stories about these events to be told and shared. The bombing changed lives in ways small and large and in ways that were immediate and more enduring. This is a place for those images, emotions, and experiences to be shared and for us to understand the event in its broad, community-wide dimensions.

Suggested Citation

McGrath, Jim, Alicia Peaker, Ryan Cordell, Elizabeth Maddock Dillon, et al. Our Marathon: The Boston Bombing Digital Archive. 2013-2015. www.northeastern.edu/marathon. Web. [access date].


Archive Staff

Elizabeth Maddock Dillon, Primary Investigator. Professor of English at Northeastern University, she holds a Ph.D. in English from the University of California, Berkeley. Her fields include Early American literature, Atlantic colonialism, the early novel, feminist theory, political theory, aesthetics, transatlantic print culture, Caribbean literature, and early American drama. Recent publications include New World Drama: Theatre of the Atlantic, 1660-1850, forthcoming from Duke University Press. She is currently studying print and performance in the 18th-century Atlantic World and is interested in thinking about the theatre as a cultural commons. She also works on a project about geography, sex, race, and reproduction, especially in the early Caribbean.

Ryan Cordell, Primary Investigator. Assistant Professor at Northeastern University, he holds a Ph.D. from the University of Virginia. His fields include nineteenth-century American literature, American religious history, religion and literature, apocalypticism, periodical culture, and Digital Humanities. Professor Cordell’s work focuses on intersections between religion and fiction in nineteenth-century American mass media. He also collaborates with NULab faculty David Smith and Elizabeth Dillon on Uncovering Reprinting Networks in Nineteenth-Century American Periodicals, which seeks to develop theoretical models describing what qualities, both textual and thematic, helped news stories, fiction, and poetry “go viral” in nineteenth-century America. He also contributes to the group blog ProfHacker at the Chronicle of Higher Education. Professor Cordell’s website can be found at ryan.cordells.us and he posts on Twitter @ryancordell.

Alicia Peaker, Project Co-Director. (Completed Work on Project in June 2014) Currently the Digital Scholarship Specialist at Bryn Mawr College, Alicia was a Ph.D. candidate in the English department at Northeastern University when she worked on this project. Her dissertation explored the crucial contributions several women made to early-twentieth century discussions about “nature” and the environment. In addition to her work on the Our Marathon project, she has served as the Project Manager for the Women Writers Project and the Development Editor at GradHacker. She has also organized or co-organized six graduate conferences and a number of writing groups. You can find her on Twitter @aliciapeaker.

Jim McGrath, Project Co-Director. He is a Ph.D. candidate in English at Northeastern University. His dissertation (in progress) explores intersections between contemporary American poetry and new media. His research interests include digital archives, aesthetic theory, new media studies, cultural materialism, and contemporary American poetry. He is on Twitter @JimMc_Grath.


David DeCamp, Technical Lead (Completed Work On Project in May 2014) He is a Ph.D. student in World History at Northeastern University. He is interested in urbanization, transportation, and the digital humanities and his research focuses primarily on perceptions and portrayals of the London Underground from around 1850 through World War II. He is on Twitter @DeCampD.


Joanne DeCaro Afornalli, Community Outreach Lead. She is an undergrad at Northeastern University pursuing her Bachelors in English. She has a background in photography and education. Her photography has been published in The Huffington Post, BizBash, Entertainment Weekly, among others. As well, Joanne has been a staff writer and photographer for multiple Los Angeles based publications.


Oral History Team

Jayne K. Guberman, Director of the Our Marathon oral history project. She holds a Ph.D. in Folklore & Folklife from the University of Pennsylvania. She was the Director of Oral History and Online Collecting at the Jewish Women’s Archive from 1998-2009, where she oversaw groundbreaking oral history collections, including “Katrina’s Jewish Voices,” an oral history and digital archive documenting the Jewish community’s response to Hurricane Katrina. As an oral historian and consultant, Guberman works with cultural, educational, and communal organizations nationwide to create oral history programs for capturing and preserving stories and to provide training for students, professional staff, and community volunteers. She also continues to draw out and preserve the life stories of a wide range of individuals for families, organizations, and communities.


Joanna Shea O’Brien, Assistant Director of the Our Marathon oral history project. She received an M.F.A. from Columbia University in nonfiction writing and a B.A. from Marymount University in English Literature. She was an interviewer for the September 11, 2001 Oral History Narrative and Memory Project, and has presented her work on that project at the Columbia Center for Oral History Summer Institute. O’Brien has worked in communications and research for United States Senator Edward M. Kennedy, Ambassador Caroline Kennedy, the International Rescue Committee and the Peace Corps. Her writing has been published in America and Letter Arts Review, at the 17th International Oral History Association Conference and at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center online. O’Brien is on the steering committee for the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation’s New Frontier Network. She is on twitter @jsheaobrien.


Kristi Girdharry, Oral History Project Manager. She is a Ph.D. student in English Rhetoric and Composition at Northeastern University. Her research interests include multimodal texts, multilingual writers, and language politics. She's also interested in university-community partnerships and public writing. You can follow her on Twitter @kristigirdharry.


Ryan McDonough, Audio Technician. He is currently completing a masters degree at Simmons University in the wonderful field of Library and Information Science. Along with being a notable Capricorn, Ryan has a diverse background having worked in various fields including video and radio broadcasting. Ryan hasn't had a Facebook since 2007, but fortunately you can find him at the Multimedia Lab at Simmons University where his official title is "Multimedia Specialist." His family still has no idea what he actually does.

Boston City Archives Collection Project Team (April-July 2014)

Kevin Smith (Project Manager) is a PhD student in the English Department at Northeastern University. His academic interests include digital humanities, new media, writing studies, and digital archives. He also works in the NULab on the Viral Texts project as a research assistant.


Faye Charpentier is a Masters student at Northeastern University in the History Department. Her studies are concentrated in Public History. She is interested in the dynamics and politics of museum collections and display.


Maura Fertich is an undergraduate student at Northeastern University pursuing a degree in English. Her interests include reading, travel, and learning how to cook for herself. In the past, she has interned for a non-profit that provides free SAT preparation to high school students in Boston.


Laura Hartmann-Villalta is an English PhD candidate writing about women writers and the Spanish Civil War. Her particular interest is on visual studies and human rights in 1930s Britain and the United States. She is delighted to be gaining experience working on the Boston City Archive Collection of this project.


Leah Lapszynski is a first year Masters student in the Department of English at Northeastern. Her academic interests include the Victorian Gothic novel, visual and film studies, genre and adaptation, and museum studies. She also works on the Women Writers Project as a cultural researcher and text encoder.


Kerry McDonough is an MA candidate in Northeastern Universityʻs History department, where her concentration is Public History. Her research interests include the social role of museums/historic sites, and their historic relationships to constructions of identity. She is involved in several public history projects, all of which can be understood to have the same goal: making information accessible and interesting.


Liz Polcha is a first year Ph.D. in literature at Northeastern, specializing in postcolonial studies, feminist and queer theory, and visual culture. She is interested in Anglo-Caribbean and African Diaspora literature, particularly in relation to questions of the historical archive. Currently, Liz is working on revising a project on healing narratives in the work of Erna Brodber and Gloria Naylor for publication. Liz received her M.A. from Florida State University, and her B.A. from the University of Tulsa.


Areti Sakellaris is an MA student in English at Northeastern University. Her interests are in 19th and 20th century literature, rhetoric and composition, translation, culture studies, and media theory. Areti is working on an archive project and she is thrilled to be part of the BCA team.


Max White is a Ph.D. student in the English Department at Northeastern. His dissertation investigates the role of class in early American literature, largely through the recovery of archival texts. He has been a research fellow at the Filson Historical Society (Louisville, KY), and is currently working on an online edition of Nathaniel Hawthorne's short story, "The Celestial Railroad." He is also a lifelong runner.


Archive Staff Alumni

Elizabeth Hopwood is a Ph.D. candidate in English at Northeastern University. Her current research examines foodways and eating in nineteenth century U.S. and Caribbean novels and slave narratives. Most recently she has worked as a Research Fellow in NULab for Texts, Maps, and Networking, developing a digital archive of early Caribbean texts. She is on Twitter @LizzieHopwood.


Becky Ferris holds a masters degree from Simmons College in the field of Library and Information Science. She has focused her work and studies on technology in academic environments. Her interests include digital librarianship, web development, graphic design, learning management systems and edu-gaming. Becky has worked on this project as a plugin developer, particularly our contribution plugin.


Andrew Begley is a grad student at Simmons College, pursuing an MA in History and an MS in Library and Information Science with a concentration in Archive Management. Andrew's history thesis explores the impact of the JFK administration's relationship with civil rights leadership on Kennedy's civil rights agenda. He is also interested in exploring the role of digital archives in exposing students and the general public to important historical resources in their communities. He is on Twitter: @aj_begley


Nic Petre is an undergraduate student currently pursuing a degree in Music Industry from Northeastern University. His interests include music, film, writing, and working with faith-based groups on campus. He has previously worked with a Brooklyn based music marketing company and wrote many published press releases for them. You can find Nic sometimes on Twitter @petretheflyer


Brittany Joline is an undergraduate student at Northeastern University pursuing a degree in Communications and Business. Some of her interests include student government, humanitarian relief organizations such as UNICEF, and travel. She has previously worked for a tourism website during her time studying in Greece, and is experienced with journalism and social media.


Claudia Willett, Simmons College Intern (Summer 2014) Claudia is a graduate student at Simmons College Graduate School of Library and Information Science working to complete the dual-degree program in history (MA) and archives management (MLS). She is primarily working on educational resources for the site and public engagement. She is also running Our Marathon's blog for the summer of 2014.


Nate Rehm-Daly, Tri-Co DH Summer Intern (Summer 2014) Nate is an undergraduate student at Haverford College pursuing degrees in fine arts and classical studies. He is interested in digital humanities, new technology, design, and exhibition. He works for the digital scholarship team at Haverford, which helps students and faculty visualize and create digital projects.


Siobhan Shea (Summer 2014 Volunteer) is a high school student from Maryland volunteering this summer to work with the Our Marathon Digital Archive. She is interested in community service work, communications, photography and sociology. She is on twitter at @siocshea.


Additional Contributors

The list above includes those who have been directly employed by the project though many more employees of Northeastern University have contributed their time and expertise to this project. We are grateful for the vision and commitment of Giordanna Mecagni and Michelle Romero to preserve the objects and metadata of Our Marathon in perpetuity; to Patrick Yott, Karl Yee, and Ernesto Valencia for their technical expertise; Tom Urell for help with design and communications; Sarah Sweeney and Daniel Jergovic for the creation of metadata guidelines.

We have been overwhelmed by the outpouring of support and the number of volunteers who have helped the project in innumerable ways. This is by no means a complete list, but we’d like to acknowledge the work of: Jessica Bolandrina (Northeastern), Catherine Boutin (Simmons), John Campopiano (Simmons), Elizabeth Carron (Simmons), Michelle Chiles (MIT), Marta Crilly (Boston City Archives), Julia Demir (Simmons), Elise Dunham (Simmons), Yvonne Fraser (Simmons), Julia Hayton (Simmons), Zhan Hu (Simmons), Joan Ilacqua (Center for the History of Medicine at Harvard), Caitlin Jones (Simmons), Lin Lin (Simmons), Anne Lundregan (Simmons), Araceli Mendez (Simmons), Crystal Miller (Simmons), Annalisa Moretti (Simmons), Warren Nelson (Simmons), Briana Nestor (Emerson), Kate Oh (Simmons), Vicky Papa (Northeastern), Rainey Tisdale (Independent Museum Curator), Meghan Tremblay (Northeastern), Anne Star, Bruce Vencill (Simmons), Claudia Willett (Simmons), Anna Williams (Northeastern), and Mallory Witzig (Simmons)


Project Partners