Ben Schmidt

Benjamin Schmidt

Assistant Professor of History
education Ph.D., 2013, History
Princeton University
Mailing address 219 ME
360 Huntington Avenue,
Boston, MA 02115

Benjamin Schmidt is an assistant professor of history at Northeastern University and core faculty at the NULab for Texts, Maps, and Networks. His research interests are in the digital humanities and the intellectual and cultural history of the United States in the 19th and 20th centuries. His dissertation, “Paying Attention,” described how new ways of measuring attention in early 20th century psychology found unexpected uses in teaching, advertising, and media. His digital humanities research focuses particularly on text mining and the potential of large historical datasets for humanistic research. Recent work in topic modeling, visualization of historic data, and thematic mapping. More details are available at

Prior to coming to Northeastern, he was the graduate fellow at the Cultural Observatory @ Harvard, in Harvard University’s School of Engineering and Applied Sciences; he earned a Ph.D. in history was at Princeton University, and an A.B. in Social Studies at Harvard University.

Selected Publications

“Words and Topic-Modeling”, Journal of Digital Humanities, Vol 2. No. 1, March 2013 (Forthcoming).

“Theory First”, Journal of Digital Humanities, Vol. 1 No. 1, April 2012.

Sapping Attention,” blog publishing original research and discussion in digital humanities, data visualization, and text mining. November 2010–present (

“Bookworm,” Interactive website, database, and API. (Collaborative work, Cultural Observatory @ Harvard.)

Benjamin M. Schmidt and Matthew Chingos, “Ranking Doctoral Programs by Placement: A New Method”, PS: Political Science & Politics 40 (July 2007): 523–529.

Selected Honors & Awards

Visiting Graduate Fellow, Cultural Observatory @ Harvard, School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, 2011–2013.

Full Research Fellowship, Princeton University, 2005–2011.

Shelby Cullom Davis Merit Scholarship, Princeton University, 2005–2010.

Mill-Taylor Prize for best undergraduate paper in Social Studies at Harvard College, 2001.

Bookworm Project, $50,000 continuation grant from the Digital Public Library of America. Project developer and grant-writer.