The result of a decade’s worth of research, The Old North State at War: The North Carolina Civil War Atlas, written by Mark Anderson Moore with Jessica Bandel and Michael Hill, is now available. The book “is a comprehensive study of the impact of the war on the Tar Heel State, incorporating 99 newly prepared maps. The large format (17″ by 11″) volume highlights every significant military engagement and analyzes the war’s social, economic and political consequences through tables, charts and text.” Produced by the North Carolina Office of Archives and History, it can be ordered through their online store, at the North Carolina Museum of History or selected state historic sites. Read historian John David Smith’s review in The News & Observer. [via]
The Philadelphia Inquirer’s Elizabeth Mosier reports on a talk last Saturday by University of Delaware English professor Martin Brückner. “Using images from the exhibit he curated at Winterthur Museum (viewable online at http://commondestinations.winterthur.org), Brückner traced maps from production to purchase to public display and personal use, as they became fashionable objects in the period before and after the Revolutionary War,” Mosier writes.
In the 18th century, maps were everywhere: advertised with luxury goods in catalogs and with necessities in the newspaper, displayed in taverns and town halls and high-traffic areas in private homes, printed on parlor screens and ceramics and neckties—“cartifacts” serving no cartographic purpose. If political conflict built the market for maps, the cartouche—or decorative map title—refined it, adding beauty to the criteria for determining a map’s value. The brisk business in maps for navigating and decorating redefined what constituted their usefulness, in material and social terms. Owning a map meant economic status, educational achievement, and national identity; showing a map showed you belonged.
This is the “performative function” of maps, to create reality by plotting it.
Brückner is the author or editor of several books on the subject of the social history of maps in early America, including The Geographic Revolution in Early America: Early Maps, Literacy, and National Identity (UNC Press, 2006). I should really check his work (and Susan Schulten’s) out; my own graduate work was going to be on the social function of music, so the social function of maps is relevant to my interests for more than one reason. [via]
Here’s a short video overview of the history of cartography and maps, courtesy of GeographyHub, that’s really about what was mapped—and mappable. [via]
The Local profiles Lausanne-based game and book company Helvetiq, which last year published Diccon Bewes’s Around Switzerland in 80 Maps. Those maps range, according to the publisher, “from the circular island map of 1480 to the birth of modern Swiss cartography; from the British rail plan for Switzerland to a Soviet map of Basel during the Cold War; from the 1970s Zurich map for men to the vision of a Greater Switzerland with 40 cantons.” Buy at Amazon. [via]
The 17th-century Dutch cartographer Frederick de Wit, “one of the most famous dealers of maps, prints and art during the Dutch Golden Age,” is the subject of a new book: George Carhart’s Frederick de Wit and the First Concise Reference Atlas, out this month from Brill Publishing. Buy at Amazon (Canada, U.K.) [via]
Meanwhile, and speaking of georectified map viewers, a project to create a multi-layered online map of London, with maps from the 17th century onward georectified and available through a single interface, has received development funding from the Heritage Lottery. Work on Layers of London, as it will be called, will begin in May. Londonist, IHR, MOLA.
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.
The population of the world from 1 CE/AD through the end of the 21st century (projected) is mapped in this video and interactive map from Population Connection, a group concerned with the carrying capacity of the planet and the environmental impact of overpopulation (they used to be Zero Population Growth back in the day). In each, one dot represents one million people. [via]
In Geographical magazine’s February issue, Nicholas Crane reviews The Mapmakers’ World: A Cultural History of the European World Map by Marjo Nurminen (Pool of London, September 2015). It’s a history of early European mapmaking from the early Middle Ages to the end of the 18th century. “The last few years have produced a rich harvest of map books, so newcomers have to stand tall to win notice,” writes Crane. “The Mapmakers’ World delivers an ambitious thesis with style.” [via] Buy at Amazon (Canada, U.K.)
The Ancient World Mapping Center—formerly the Classical Atlas Project, the team behind the Barrington Atlas of the Greek and Roman World, the expensive atlas later reborn as an iPad app (iTunes link)—has a web-based map interface to classical/late antiquity geographic data. The original (2012) version of “Antiquity à la Carte” is kind of old school and clunky; the (2014) beta version shows a bit more promise. [via]
Using an interactive interface to compare present-day and historical maps and aerial imagery is done all the time—on this website I use a slider plugin—but Chris Whong’s Urban Scratchoff uses a familiar metaphor to compare present-day aerial images of New York City with imagery from 1924. Give it a try. More on how Chris did it. [via]
Opening today at the Musée des civilisations de l’Europe et de la Méditerranée in Marseille, France, and running until May 2nd, Made in Algeria: Généalogie d’un territoire is an exhibition of nearly 200 “maps, drawings, paintings, photographs, films and historical documents as well as works by contemporary artists who surveyed the territory of Algeria.” The exhibition examines not only the cartography of the French colonial period, but the political and cultural narratives—to say nothing of the territory itself—created by colonial mapmaking. Lots of material on the exhibition’s website, but it’s French-only. [via]
The National Geographic website has an interview with Richard H. Brown and Paul E. Cohen, authors of Revolution: Mapping the Road to American Independence, 1755-1783 (W. W. Norton, October 2015). In the interview, Brown says that “some of the best collections of Revolutionary War maps have been among the least used. Historians tended to use the same maps over and over again to illustrate their narratives. What we did is to take the opposite view. We wanted the maps to tell the story, so we picked maps that we thought would tell the story of the battles best.” Buy at Amazon (Canada, U.K.)
Nicolas Crane reviews Jeremy Black’s Metropolis: Mapping the City (Conway, October 2015) for Geographical magazine. “The aim is to explore through time the visualisation of cities, so we start with a terracotta plan of the Mesopotamian holy city of Nippur, in what is now Iraq, then travel through Renaissance cities, New World cities, Imperial cities and mega cities. […] If you’ve ever wondered why cities work, you’ll find the answer in this beautiful book.” Buy at Amazon (Canada, U.K.)
Also from Birlinn, The Railway Atlas of Scotland: Two Hundred Years of History in Maps by David Spaven, which came out last October.
Previously: British Railways, Past and Present.