The only new thing in the world is the history you don’t know.Harry S. Truman, quoted by David McCulloch


This book recounts a long history, a broad overview of how, where, and why the methods of data visualization, so common today, were conceived and developed. You can think of it as a guided tour of this history, focusing on social and scientific questions and a developing language of graphics that provided insights, for both discovery and communication.

This introductory chapter, provided here as a PDF file, gives the origin story of this book and provides and overview of the main themes and content of the book.

Chapter contents

  • A Long History
  • Overview
    • Re-Visions
    • Chronology versus Theme

Selected Figures

Time line of milestone events: Classified by place of development.

Figure 0.1: Time line of milestone events

Classified by place of development. Tick marks at the bottom show individual events. The smoothed curves plot their relative frequency, in Europe and North America.
Source: © The Authors.
Rcode: 00_1-mileyears4.R

Copyright © 2021 Michael Friendly. All rights reserved.

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