Pictorial St. Louis

Pictorial St. Louis (Plate 2)
Richard J. Compton and Camille N. Dry, Pictorial St. Louis (1876), plate 2. Library of Congress.

On the Library of Congress’s map blog, World’s Revealed, Julie Stoner takes a look at a rather unusual example of a bird’s-eye (or panoramic) city map. “The Geography and Map Division has over 1,700 of these beautiful panoramic maps in the collection, but one item stands out above all the others as one of the crowning achievements of the art, Camille N. Dry’s 1875 atlas, Pictorial St. Louis; The Great Metropolis of the Mississippi Valley. A visually stunning atlas, instead of only one sheet, it was produced on 110 plates, which if trimmed and assembled creates a panorama of the city measuring about 9 by 24 feet.”

The Gough Map and Its Ghostly Predecessor

The Gough Map
The Gough Map. Wikimedia Commons

An update on the Gough Map Project from Bill Shannon. “The Gough Map Project has reached that ‘interesting’ stage where we are moving from either sitting on the fence and making no decisions, or making lots, but then rejecting them all. It is now time to reach some firm conclusions, and start writing.”

Among other things, the Gough Map appears to be a copy of, and updated from, an earlier (“ghost”) map:

And so, we now have still more questions as we turn over the possible scenarios. If the copying was done in the early years of Henry IV, when was the Predecessor made? And where? And why? And why was our copy madeand where? And, what about that shipwreck? And, especially, what about those red lines previously interpreted as “roads”: it seems quite clear that these were not on the Predecessor, which means it never was a road map. Indeed, as we have progressed, we have realised those red lines are, at best, routes. […] But one thing we feel sure of: Mr Gough’s map was never a high-quality, show-piece display object; it was a back-room, practical, work-a-day thing.

Previously: Understanding the Gough Map.

Het Grote Kaartenboek (The Great Book of Maps)

Out today from WBooks: Het Grote Kaartenboek: Vijf eeuwen cartografie [The Great Book of Maps: Five Centuries of Cartography] a book collecting 500 years of maps from the National Archives of the Netherlands. Edited by Ron Guleij, it also features eight essays by guest authors. (In Dutch, naturally.) We’ve seen other map books that focus on the holdings of a specific library or archive: I’m thinking specifically of Debbie Hall’s Treasures from the Map Room (2016), which presented maps from the Bodleian Library, and Tom Harper’s Atlas: A World of Maps from the British Library (2018). This one seems to be taking a look behind the curtain, with material on collection management (assuming Google Translate is not deceiving me).

Previously: The History of the Netherlands in 100 Old Maps.

The Fitz Globe

Fitz Globe (Library of Congress)Last month on the Library of Congress’s map blog, Worlds Revealed, Julie Stoner shared the story of an educational globe with a unique mount invented by author and teacher Ellen Eliza Fitz. “While working as a governess, Fitz imagined a new globe mounting technique, as seen in the globe above, that would facilitate students’ understanding of the Earth’s daily rotation and annual revolution. In 1875, she was granted a patent for her invention. A copy of the patent with a sketch of the design, which can be seen below, is held in the Ellen Eliza Fitz papers at the Watertown Free Public Library in Massachusetts.” Read the rest at Worlds Revealed.

Crossings: An Exhibition at the Newberry Library

Crossings: Mapping American Journeys, is an exhibition at Chicago’s Newberry Library that explores cross-country journeys of various kinds.

Maps, guidebooks, travelogues, postcards, and more from the Newberry’s collection recreate travelers’ experiences along the northern and southern borders of the US, across the continent’s interior, and up and down the Mississippi River.

These cross-country paths have been in use for centuries whether by water, railroad, car, or airplane. And they’ve remained remarkably consistent despite changes in transportation, commerce, and the people who’ve used them.

But not everyone has experienced travel and mobility equally. The same paths meant “discovery” to the European explorer, freedom to the enslaved, and loss and removal for Indigenous nations.

Crossings shows how centuries of movement—from the Lewis and Clark expedition to the American road trip—have forged deep relationships between people and places that survive to this day.

Crossings opened on February 25 and runs until June 25. Free admission; masks required.

Ortelius Online at the National Library of the Netherlands

World map from Ortelius, Theatrum Orbis Terrarum
Koninklijke Bibliotheek

The National Library of the Netherlands has an online version of Ortelius’s 16th-century atlas, the Theatrum Orbis Terrarum. In Dutch only. (From what I understand it’s not the only digitization of this work available online: see the atlas’s Wikipedia page for links to additional sites.) [Maps Mania]

Hardyng’s Map of Scotland On Display

John Hardyng's map of Scotland (British Library)
John Hardyng’s map of Scotland. Lansdowne MS 204, ff. 226v–227r, British Library.

John Hardyng’s map of Scotland is now on display at the University of St. Andrews’s Wardlaw Museum. The 15th-century map was the first to show Scotland in any detail; it was included in Hardyng’s 1457 chronicle, in which he hoped to make the case for an English invasion of Scotland. Held by the British Library, the map is being made available via the Library’s Treasures on Tour program. It’s at the Wardlaw Museum until 3 July 2022. More from the University’s press release and the British Library.

William Clark Implicated in Land Grab by Map Re-Attributed to Him

William Clark, Map of Extent of Settlement in Mississippi Valley (1816)A new historical study reattributes a rough sketch of treaty lines in what is now Missouri to William Clark (of “Lewis and” fame), implicating the legendary explorer in the dispossession of some 10.5 million acres of land assigned by treaty to indigenous peoples. The article by Cambridge historian Robert Lee, who studies Indigenous dispossession in the 19th century and discovered the map misfiled in another fonds, appears in the latest issue of William and Mary Quarterly. The DOI doesn’t appear to work yet, nor is the article available online at this point, but here’s the abstract and the press release.

David Rumsey Map Collection: More Than Just Digitization

Urbano Monte 1587 World Map, digitally assembled (David Rumsey Map Collection)
David Rumsey Map Collection

The David Rumsey Map Collection has a blog post that explains that they do more than just scan old maps.

When we digitize historical maps we create copies that can be shared and used by all. But we also create the potential to repurpose these copies to advance understanding of the original maps. To do this, we create composite maps, georeferenced maps, composite views, interactive globes, composite texts and other types of digital versions that expand map interpretation and enhance use. Below are some examples of these interpretive maps that we have created over the past 20 years. To date we have created 1,674 interpretive composite maps, views, and texts as well as over 56,000 georeferenced maps.

Examples at the blog post—some of which we’ve already seen, including the digital assembly of Urbano Monte’s 1587 world map (above).

Online Exhibition: Multiple Middles

Abraham Ortelius, “Indiae Orientalis, insularumque adiacientium typos,” 1588. Hand-colored engraving on paper, 20×26¼ in. University of Delaware Special Collections.

An online exhibition from the University of Delaware Library, Museums and Press, Multiple Middles: Maps from Early Modern Times features a selection of early modern maps and travel narratives from their special collections. “The exhibition takes narratives from the maps’ edges and repositions them as possible middles. As a result, previously unfamiliar histories and visual elements come to the fore. These objects highlight specific innovations, scientific theories, and geographical middles that their makers intentionally framed. The exhibition provides an alternate view of maps and early modern cartography.” Features many familiar cartographers (e.g. Blaeu, Ortelius). [WMS]

Tupaia’s Map Reinterpreted

Tupaia’s map
Tupaia’s map

At Knowable, Cristy Gelling looks at new interpretations of Tupaia’s map of the Pacific Ocean. Tupaia was a Polynesian navigator who became attached to Cook’s expedition. His map, drawn beginning in 1769, has confounded observers because its islands do not line up with the actual geography of the Pacific’s islands. One 2018 study deciphers the map with an alternative, more complicated arrangement in which north is at the centre of the map. This proposal is not universally accepted.

‘Map Heaven’

“I call this ‘map heaven,’” said G. Salim Mohammed, the center’s head and curator. “This is a place where maps come alive.”

The San Francisco Chronicle’s piece on the David Rumsey Map Center (paywalled; alternative Apple News+ link) focuses on the digital experiments undertaken by the center to make maps more accessible. (Examples we’ve covered here previously include digitally assembled versions of the Urbano Monte Map and a 1940 model of San Francisco, and also an AR globe app.) [David Rumsey Map Collection]

La Pérouse’s Expeditions

Library of Congress scan of Buache de Neuville's map of the northern Pacific Ocean, 1785.
Jean-Nicolas Buache de Neuville, “Carte de l’Océan où sont tracées les différentes routes des navigateurs au tour du monde,” 1785. Map in 3 sheets. Library of Congress.

The Library of Congress’s Carissa Pastuch has a blog post about the Pacific Ocean expeditions of Jean-François de Galaup La Pérouse, and the maps that resulted from them—including the above map by Buache de Neuville, made in 1785 so that Louis XVI could follow La Pérouse’s progress.

16th-Century Globe Sells for £116,000 at Auction

A 16th-century globe (Hansons Auctioneers)A 16th-century globe bought for £150 at a Welsh antiques fair has sold at auction for £116,000. It had been expected to fetch £20-30,000. The globe, which dates to the 1550s or 1560s and believed to be by, or derived from work by, François Demongenet, includes sea monsters but not Australia (not yet discovered by Europeans) and is made of paper gores, which makes it both rare and fragile. More from the auction house here. Auction listing. BBC News coverage. (Image: Hansons Auctioneers.)