Conserving Old Maps

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]

David Rumsey Map Center at Stanford Opens April 19

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]

Here’s a page previewing the Center. Here’s a short video:

Previously: Rumsey Donates Maps to Stanford.

Encountering Map Dealers: Hudson, Arader

Atlas Obscura profiles map collector and dealer Murray Hudson. “Today, Murray Hudson owns what is said to be the largest private collection of for-sale antique maps, prints and globes in the world. His collection, held in Halls, Tennessee, contains, in addition to some 24,000 maps, over 6700 books, 2690 prints, and 760 globes.”

Last month the Wall Street Journal’s Ralph Gardner, Jr. reported on his visit to the Arader Galleries; it’s very much a first-time-experience kind of narrative that is noteworthy for the complete absence of Graham Arader (except in the comments), whose presence usually looms quite large in stories about map collecting. [via]

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).

Talking About Map Thefts

Here’s a profile of Thomas Durrer, the University of Virginia detective assigned to the Gilbert Bland map theft case, in the spring 2016 issue of Virginia, the university’s alumni magazine. [via]

map-thief island-lost-mapsBland’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 (AmazoniBooks).

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.

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.

1853 Texas Map Bought for $10, Sells for $10,000

manning-texas

A copy of an 1853 map of Texas by Jacob de Cordova found in a $10 box of ragtime sheet music sold at auction last weekend for $10,000. The map, once owned by surveyor James M. Manning, who died in 1872, was bought, along with a related letter, by Texas A&M University—Corpus Christi, whose library houses the Manning papers. [via]

International Workshop on Portolan Charts

maggiolo-portolan
Vesconte Maggiolo, Portolan chart, 1541. Kartenabteilung der Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin. Reproduced from Wikimedia Commons.

The program for the First International Workshop on the Origin and Evolution of Portolan Charts, which takes place 5-6 June 2016 in Lisbon, Portugal, is now live. The conference focuses on the history of portolan charts and the analytical techniques used to study them. [via]

La Carte de Cassini

carte-cassini

There are several online versions of the Carte générale de France, the first comprehensive map of France produced by the Cassini family in the 18th century. Some, like those hosted by the EHESS and the David Rumsey Map Collection, georectify and stitch together the individual maps together to make a more-or-less seamless whole. On Gallica, the Bibliothèque nationale de France’s digital library, it’s presented as individual sheetsthe Library of Congress does the same with its copy—the better to appreciate the originals, I suppose. [via]

The Boston Globe on #MapMonsterMonday

#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]

View this post on Instagram

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

A post shared by Norman B. Leventhal Map Center (@bplmaps) on

China at the Center

Two important seventeenth-century world maps are the focus of a new exhibition opening this Friday at the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco. China at the Center: Rare Ricci and Verbiest World Maps, which runs from 4 March to 8 May 2016, features Matteo Ricci’s 1602 map and Ferdinand Verbiest’s 1674 map.

Ricci (1552–1610) and Verbiest (1623–1688) were both Jesuit priests, in China to spread Christianity; their maps, produced in collaboration with Chinese calligraphers, artists and printers, produced a fundamental rethinking of China’s place in the world. Not that China wasn’t at the centre of these maps, as the essays in the accompanying catalogue point out, but these maps filled out the rest of the world, which was previously a marginal afterthought in Chinese cartography.

Continue reading “China at the Center”

The Correspondence of Abraham Ortelius

typus-orbis-terrarum
Abraham Ortelius, Typus Orbis Terrarum, 1570. Library of Congress.

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]