Women and Cartography in the Progressive Era

Christina E. Dando’s Women and Cartography in the Progressive Era (Routledge) came out earlier this month. From the publisher: “As women became more mobile (physically, socially, politically), they used and created geographic knowledge and maps. […] Long overlooked, this women’s work represents maps and mapping that today we would term community or participatory mapping, critical cartography and public geography. These historic examples of women-generated mapping represent the adoption of cartography and geography as part of women’s work. […] This study explores the implications of women’s use of this technology in creating and presenting information and knowledge and wielding it to their own ends.” [WMS]

Amazon | iBooks

Related: Map Books of 2017.

Gender Differences in Spatial Ability Are a Social Construct

A recent psychology paper challenges the notion that men are better than women at directions. When the same test was presented as a measure of spatial ability that women typically did worse at, women did worse than men. But when the same test was presented as a measure of empathy, women did just as well as men. Social conditioning, in other words, may be at play here. Good magazine. [MAPS-L]

Suffrage Maps

"The Awakening," Puck Magazine, 20 February 1915. P. J. Mode Collection of Persuasive Cartography, Cornell University Library.
Henry Mayer, “The Awakening.” Puck Magazine, 20 February 1915. P. J. Mode Collection of Persuasive Cartography, Cornell University Library.

With Hillary Clinton quite possibly on the verge of being elected the first woman president of the U.S., it’s not surprising that some attention has been given to the women’s suffrage movement of the late 19th and early 20th century. The suffrage movement used maps to make the case for voting rights for women, particularly as western states began to extend the franchise to women in advance of the 19th Amendment. Yesterday Atlas Obscura posted a selection of suffrage maps from the P. J. Mode Collection of Persuasive Cartography at Cornell University Library (search results). And the British Library’s Twitter account posted this suffragist flyer this morning:

Marie Tharp: Continental Drift as ‘Girl Talk’

tharp-heezenAnother profile of ocean cartographer Marie Tharp, this time from Smithsonian.com’s Erin Blakemore. As Blakemore recounts, Tharp crunched and mapped the sonar sounding data collected by her collaborator, Bruce Heezen; her calculations revealed a huge valley in the middle of a ridge in the North Atlantic seafloor.

“When I showed what I found to Bruce,” she recalled, “he groaned and said ‘It cannot be. It looks too much like continental drift.’ … Bruce initially dismissed my interpretation of the profiles as ‘girl talk’.” It took almost a year for Heezen to believe her, despite a growing amount of evidence and her meticulous checking and re-checking of her work. He only changed his mind when evidence of earthquakes beneath the rift valley she had found was discovered—and when it became clear that the rift extended up and down the entire Atlantic. Today, it is considered Earth’s largest physical feature.

When Heezen—who published the work and took credit for it—announced his findings in 1956, it was no less than a seismic event in geology. But Tharp, like many other women scientists of her day, was shunted to the background.

I really ought to get to Hali Felt’s 2012 biography of Tharp, Soundings: The Story of the Remarkable Woman Who Mapped the Ocean Floor, at some point. Amazon (Kindle), iBooks.

Previously: Marie Tharp ProfileSoundings: A Biography of Marie TharpMarie Tharp and Plate TectonicsMarie Tharp.

The Nuns Who Helped Map the Night Sky

Catholic News Service: “Of the many momentous or menial tasks women religious perform, one of the better-kept secrets has been the role of four Sisters of the Holy Child Mary who were part of a global effort to make a complete map and catalog of the starry skies. […] Sisters Emilia Ponzoni, Regina Colombo, Concetta Finardi and Luigia Panceri, all born in the late 1800s and from the northern Lombardy region near Milan, helped map and catalog nearly half a million stars for the Vatican’s part in an international survey of the night sky.” [@CUATheoPhilLib]

Women in Cartography (Part 4)

beek
Anna van Westerstee Beek, “Caarte vande landingh inde baay van Vigos als meede het inneemen van twee Casteels,” 1702. Library of Congress Geography and Map Division.

Laura Bliss and Carlyn Osborn continue their series of blog posts on women in cartographic history at CityLab and Worlds Revealed, respectively. Bliss looks at 20th century women, including illustrators  Louise E. Jefferson and Ruth Belew as well as seafloor mapper Marie Tharp; Osborn looks at Dutch mapmaker Anna van Westerstee Beek (1657–1717).

Previously: Women in CartographyWomen in Cartography (Continued)Women in Cartography (Part 3).

Women in Cartography (Part 3)

willard-1826
Emma Hart Willard, “Ninth Map or Map of 1826,” in A Series of Maps to Willard’s History of The United States (New York, 1829). Library of Congress Geography and Map Division.

CityLab’s Laura Bliss has a second post on women and cartography, this time focusing on the work of 19th-century women cartographers, geographers and educators in the United States. The Library of Congress’s map blog, Worlds Revealed, focuses on the work (and maps) of one of those women, Emma Hart Willard.

Previously: Women in CartographyWomen in Cartography (Continued).

Women in Cartography (Continued)

wac-cartographerOn the Library of Congress’s map blog, a post about the women cartographers employed by the military and government during World War II—the so-called “Military Mapping Maidens.”

The Guardian has a brief item on ocean mapper Marie Tharp.

CityLab’s Laura Bliss presents a selection of maps by women mapmakers like Mary Ann Roque, the Haussard sisters and Shanawdithit, the last known member of the Beothuk people.

Previously: Women in Cartography.

Sexism in the GIS Workplace

Is Sexism a Problem in GIS? Caitlin Dempsey Morais of GIS Lounge grapples with a thorny subject. “Over a two week period in September of 2015, I opened a survey on GIS Lounge to those working in the geospatial industry in order to take a look at the question of, ‘is sexism in the workplace an issue for women (and men) working in GIS?’ This article reports back on the results from that survey.”

Women in Cartography

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:

women-cartography-books

Previously: Two More Map BooksSoundings: A Biography of Marie Tharp; The Urban Legend of Phyllis PearsallPhyllis Pearsall.

Two More Map Books

Book cover: London: The Selden Map and the Making of a Global City Book cover: Map Worlds: A History of Women in Cartography

Two more map books, this time of an academic bent: