The National Library of Australia’s copy of Joan Blaeu’s Archipelagus Orientalis, sive Asiaticus, a 1663 map that has one of the earliest depictions of New Holland and Tasmania, is in “an exceedingly fragile state”—and it’s only one of four copies left. After a successful appeal two years ago to raise funds for conservation work, the map is now heading to the University of Melbourne, where conservation experts will determine the best way to preserve it. [History of Cartography Project]
A map of Middle-earth annotated by J. R. R. Tolkien himself that was discovered among the papers of illustrator Pauline Baynes last year and subsequently put up for auction has been purchased by Oxford’s Bodleian Library for its Tolkien archive. News coverage: BBC News, Guardian.
The Denver Post has a piece that is simultaneously a profile of Christopher Lane, proprietor of the Denver-based Philadelphia Print Shop West (which sells its share of antique maps) and a look at the Rocky Mountain Map Society’s upcoming Map Month. Its theme, “Illusions, Delusions & Confusions,” will be explored by a series of lectures at the Denver Public Library running from 2 May to 9 June and two concurrent exhibitions on myths in maps at Denver’s Central Library and at the Map Library of the University of Colorado Boulder: brochure, program (PDF). [via]
Edgar Allen Beem’s essay in the May/June issue of Humanities serves as a good introduction to the Osher Map Library, a major map collection housed at the University of Southern Maine in Portland. The Osher Map Library turns up a lot in my online cartographic perambulations; it’s good to know the history and origins of the place and the people working there (e.g. faculty scholar Matthew Edney, who also directs the History of Cartography project, and director Ian Fowler, who joined in 2014).
As I mentioned earlier this month, the David Rumsey Map Center at Stanford University opens today (KQED coverage). To celebrate, there’s a grand opening and open house tonight from 6 to 7 PM at the Center, which is located on the fourth floor of Green Library. Presentations and workshops take place on the 20th and 21st, for which registration is required. That’s followed by a day-long open house on the 22nd.
The Center’s first exhibition, A Universe of Maps: Opening the David Rumsey Map Center, runs from today until 28 August (here’s the online version).
Previously: David Rumsey Map Center at Stanford Opens April 19.
On the National Library of Scotland’s blog, a look at steps taken to conserve and repair two damaged 19th-century maps. “These case studies show some of the treatment options available for large maps, and demonstrate the challenging decisions that have to be made in order to care for the Library’s collections in their entirety. The principles at the heart of every conservation intervention are reversibility and retreatability, which ensure that we can always return to an object in the future if circumstances change.” [via]
In 2009 it was announced that map collector David Rumsey, whose eponymous website has been a must-visit for any map aficionado, would be donating his collection of 150,000 maps, plus digital copies, to Stanford University. Preparations to receive Rumsey’s collection began last summer. Now the David Rumsey Map Center is set to open—an event that will be marked with a reception on 19 April, the opening of an exhibition called A Universe of Maps: Opening the David Rumsey Map Center, and a series of presentations and workshops over the following two days. Speakers include Anne Knowles, Susan Schulten and Chet Van Duzer, among others, as well as Rumsey himself. [via]
Previously: Rumsey Donates Maps to Stanford.
Michigan State University’s Map Library received an anonymous package in the mail yesterday . . .
We received an anonymous package in the mail today. pic.twitter.com/UvNxZNRn3R
— MSU Map Library (@MSUMapLib) March 28, 2016
There’s a story here, and it’ll almost certainly never be told.
Bland’s career predated Forbes Smiley’s (he lacked Smiley’s ostensible pedigree) and was the focus of Miles Harvey’s 2000 book The Island of Lost Maps: A True Story of Cartographic Crime (Amazon, iBooks).
Smiley was, of course, the subject of Michael Blanding’s 2014 book The Map Thief (Amazon, iBooks; see my review). Blanding is on a bit of a campus speaking tour at the moment, discussing the Smiley case. He’s at the University of Florida tonight, the University of Miami tomorrow night, and more college campuses in April and May.
#MapMonsterMonday makes the Boston Globe, in a piece looking at how the Boston Public Library’s Leventhal Map Center curates their weekly posts of map monsters on Twitter and Instagram. (An example below.) Though, to be fair, there are several map library Twitter accounts participating in #MapMonsterMonday. [via]
For #MapMonsterMonday, we’re featuring some of the creatures found in our Samuel de Champlain #map that was recently returned after having been so cruelly stolen from us over a decade ago. Though drawn way out of scale, these critters aren’t truly monsters, so we hope you’ll forgive our flagrant flaunting of this treasure of a map; we’re just really, really excited. Champlain’s map of New France included all manner of local flora and fauna, including the sea creatures shown in this detail: a seal, a sculpin, and some sort of monstrous sea-hotdog (quite possibly a sea cucumber- any thoughts, @muhnac @natural_history_museum @nhmla @calacademy?). More great news: the map was quickly digitized by @bplboston’s wonderful digital team and is now available on our website and free to download. Link in profile! #MonsterMonday #SamuelDeChamplain #NewFrance #Canada #NewEngland #GreatLakes #17thcentury #geography #history #naturalhistory #cartography #engraving #intaglio #BPLMaps #BPLBoston #BostonPublicLibrary #library #librariesofinstagram #rarebooks Samuel de Champlain. "Carte Geographique de la Nouvelle France.” Detached from: Les voyages du sieur de Champlain Xaintongeois, capitaine ordinaire pour le roy en la marine. Paris : Iean Berjon, 1613. http://goo.gl/e93wtD
Something worth mentioning on International Women’s Day: the Boston Public Library’s exhibition, Women in Cartography: Five Centuries of Accomplishments, opened last October and runs until 26 March at the Central Library’s Leventhal Map Center. The exhibition can also be viewed online.
A few books about women in cartography:
- Soundings: The Story of the Remarkable Woman Who Mapped the Ocean Floor by Hali Felt (Henry Holt, 2012), a biography of oceanographer Marie Tharp (Amazon, iBooks)
- Mrs. P’s Journey: The Remarkable Story of the Woman Who Created the A-Z Map by Sarah Hartley (2001), a biography of A-Z Map Company founder Phyllis Pearsall (Amazon UK)
- Map Worlds: A History of Women in Cartography by Will C. van den Hoonaard (Wilfrid Laurier University Press, 2013), a scholarly history of women mapmakers since the 16th century (Amazon)
A catalogue of the correspondence of Abraham Ortelius (1527–1598), the Flemish cartographer responsible for the first modern atlas, the Theatrum Orbis Terrarum, is now available. Ortelius’ letters are scattered about the world in various collections; the catalogue is just that, a catalogue, not a digital archive—where digital copies do exist there are links to them, but otherwise in-person library research is still required. (The principal researcher, Joost Depuydt, recently published an article on Ortelius’ correspondence in Imago Mundi.) [via]
The Descriptive Cataloging of Rare Materials (Cartographic), available as a PDF file (direct link), “provides instructions for cataloging rare cartographic materials, that is, cartographic materials of any age or type of production receiving special treatment within a repository.” This is a substantial, technical document (364 pages), mainly of interest to librarians with rare and old maps under their care.
With an increased focus on the security of rare cartographic materials, DCRM(C) addresses the need for a stand-alone set of rules that covers the treatment of atlases, maps, and globes, both printed and manuscript, including the analysis of cartographic works in books or other resources, and can be used by any institution that houses these materials. The creation of a standard eliminates the need for each institution to develop extensive local practices for the treatment of rare cartographic works, and makes it possible for institutions with smaller collections to benefit from both the sophisticated tradition of rare materials cataloging and the awareness of the cartographic community of the particular qualities of our materials.
The Michigan State University Map Library now has on display three copper plates used to make the 1912 USGS topographic map of the Lansing, Michigan area. “From the 1880s to the 1950s, the U.S. Geological Survey used engraved copper plates in the process of printing topographic and geographic quadrangle maps. Copper alloy engraving plates were inscribed with a mirror image of the points, contour lines, symbols, and text that constitute a topographic map. Each plate was inscribed with details for a single color of ink.” [via]
The National Library of Scotland has an online map viewer that overlays georeferenced old maps atop a modern web map interface (Bing, I believe). Among my crowd, it’s the various 19th-century Ordnance Survey maps of London that generate the most excitement, though there are plenty of other locales (mostly but not exclusively in the U.K.) and time periods.