Books and projects | Articles and chapters | Software | Miscellaneous

For a complete list of my scholarship, please see my CV.

The Chance of Salvation: A History of Conversion in America

Harvard University Press, 2017

The Chance of Salvation: A History of Conversion in America

The United States has a long history of religious pluralism, yet Americans have often thought that people’s faith determines their eternal salvation. The result is that Americans switch religions more often than any other nation. The Chance of Salvation traces the history of the distinctively American idea that religion is a matter of individual choice.

As nineteenth-century Americans confronted a growing array of religious options, pressures to convert altered the basis of American religion. Evangelical Protestants emphasized conversion as a personal choice, while Protestant missionaries brought Christianity to Native American nations such as the Cherokee. African Americans created a distinctive form of conversion based on ideas of divine justice and redemption. Mormons proselytized for a new tradition that stressed individual free will. American Jews resisted evangelism while winning converts to Judaism. Converts to Catholicism opted out of the system of religious choice by turning to Church authority. By the early twentieth century, religion in the United States was a system of competing options that created an obligation for more and more Americans to choose their own faith. Religion had changed from an inherited to a consciously chosen identity.

Winner of the 2018 prize for Best First Book in the History of Religions from the American Academy of Religion: “Mullen takes a common trope about American religions—that they are about conversion and choice—and deploys it in astonishingly illuminating ways across the breadth of religious traditions. … Mullen clearly and convincingly demonstrates how pressures to convert changed the foundations of American religions. … This book is innovative, accessible, highly teachable, wise and mature.”



Harvard University Press | | Google Books

America’s Public Bible: Biblical Quotations in U.S. Newspapers

Stanford University Press, in progress

America’s Public Bible: Biblical Quotations in U.S. Newspapers

America’s Public Bible that explores how American newspapers from nineteenth and early twentieth centuries used the Bible. Using the techniques of machine learning, it identifies biblical quotations and allusions in millions of newspaper papers from the Library of Congress’s Chronicling America collection and other newspaper archives. The initial version of the site, which won the 2016 NEH Chronicling America Data Challenge, is available online. A much expanded version of the site is in progress, and it will be published as a digital monograph by Stanford University Press.

America’s Public Bible website | GitHub repositories

Mapping Early American Elections

Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media, in progress

Mapping Early American Elections

Mapping Early American Elections is a collaborative project with a team at RRCHNM. The project, which is currently in progress, offers a window into the formative era of American politics through interactive maps and visualizations of Congressional and state legislative elections from 1787 to 1825. The project makes available the electoral returns and spatial data underlying those maps, along with topical essays on the political history of the period and tutorials to encourage users to use the datasets to create their own maps.

Mapping Early American Elections website | GitHub repositories

Articles and book chapters

“The Making of America’s Public Bible: Computational Text Analysis for Religious History,” in Introduction to Digital Humanities: Research Methods for the Study of Religion, edited by Christopher D. Cantwell and Kristian Petersen (DeGruyter, forthcoming). Humanities Commons preprint

“A Braided Narrative for Digital History,” in Debates in the Digital Humanities 2019, ed. Matthew K. Gold and Lauren F. Klein (University of Minnesota Press, forthcoming 2019). Humanities Commons preprint

Ben Marwick, Carl Boettiger, and Lincoln A. Mullen, “Packaging Data Analytical Work Reproducibly Using R (and Friends),” The American Statistician 72, no. 1 (2018): 80–88, PeerJ preprint, published version

Lincoln A. Mullen et al., “Fast, Consistent Tokenization of Natural Language Text,” Journal of Open Source Software 3, no. 23 (2018): 655,

Lincoln A. Mullen and Jordan F. Bratt, “USAboundaries: Historical and Contemporary Boundaries of the United States of America,” Journal of Open Source Software 3, no. 23 (2018): 314,

Kellen Funk and Lincoln A. Mullen, “The Spine of American Law: Digital Text Analysis and U.S. Legal Practice,” American Historical Review 123, no. 1 (2018): 132–164, published version (not paywalled), SSRN preprint, SocArXiv preprint, analysis repository

Lincoln A. Mullen, Margaret Bendroth, Thomas Kidd, Keith Harper, and Robert W. Prichard, “The Uses of Denominational History,” Fides et Historia 49, no. 2 (2017): 57–66. SocArXiv preprint

Arguing with Digital History working group, “Digital History and Argument,” white paper, Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media (November 13, 2017): (primary author with Stephen Robertson)

“Bibles and Tracts in Print Culture in America,” Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Religion (Oxford University Press, 2017), published version

Kellen Funk and Lincoln A. Mullen, “A Servile Copy: Text Reuse and Medium Data in American Civil Procedure,” in Forum: Die geisteswissenschaftliche Perspektive: Welche Forschungsergebnisse lassen Digital Humanities erwarten? [Forum: With the Eyes of a Humanities Scholar: What Results Can We Expect from Digital Humanities?], 24 Rechtsgeschichte [Legal History] (2016): 341–43,

Kellen Funk and Lincoln A. Mullen, “The Migration of the Field Code,” working paper, February 2016. working paper

Cameron Blevins and Lincoln A. Mullen, “Jane, John . . . Leslie? A Historical Method for Algorithmic Gender Prediction,” Digital Humanities Quarterly 9, no. 3 (2015). published version

“Lynching, Visualization, and Visibility,” Journal of Southern Religion 17 (2015):

“The Contours of Conversion to Catholicism in the Nineteenth Century,” U.S. Catholic Historian 32, no. 2 (2014): 1–27, published version, Project Muse

“Using Metadata and Maps to Teach the History of Religion,” Transformations: The Journal of Inclusive Scholarship and Pedagogy 25, no. 1 (2014): 112–118. post-print

“The Varieties of Religious Conversion: The Origins of Religious Choice in the United States,” PhD thesis, Brandeis University (2014). ProQuest

“Digital Humanities Is a Spectrum; or, We’re All Digital Humanists Now,” in Melissa Terras, Edward Vanhoutte, and Julianne Nyhan, eds., Defining Digital Humanities: A Reader (Ashgate, 2013), 237–38. preprint

“A Narrative of the Troubles in the Second Church in Windsor, 1735–1741,” by Roger Wolcott, Journal of Jonathan Edwards Studies 2, no. 2 (2012): 83–142. published version

tokenizers: Fast, consistent tokenization of natural language text

JOSS paper | Package website | GitHub repository | CRAN

textreuse: Detect text reuse and document similarity

Package website | GitHub repository | CRAN

USAboundaries: Historical and contemporary boundaries of the United States of America

JOSS paper | Package website | GitHub repository | CRAN

historydata: Datasets for historians

Package website | GitHub repository | CRAN

internetarchive: An R client for the Internet Archive API

Package website | GitHub repository | CRAN

gender: Predict gender from names using historical data

DHQ paper | Package website | GitHub repository | CRAN

Other software


Computational Historical Thinking: With Applications in R (textbook in progress).

Paul E. Putz and Lincoln A. Mullen, Bibliography of Urban American Religious History (2015).

Spatial Humanities Workshop (2015).

Divergence in U.S. Sex Ratios by County, 1820–2010 (2014).

Historical Boundaries of the United States, 1783–1912 (2014).

The Spread of U.S. Slavery, 1790–1860 (2014).

Paulist Missions, 1851–1906 (2014).

Lincoln A. Mullen and Erin Bartram, American Converts Database (2013–2014).