Seymour Schwartz, 1928-2020

Seymour I. Schwartz was known to map aficionados as a collector, cartographic historian and author of five books on the history of cartography (The Mismapping of America and Putting “America” on the Map, among others1). He donated his collection to the University of Virginia in 2008; a smaller tranche, regional in focus, went to the University of Rochester in 2010.

But maps were his side gig, a hobby his wife got him into to give him something else to do. Schwartz was a renowned surgeon with a long and distinguished career, a professor of medicine and the co-author of what became the standard textbook on surgery. He died Friday at the age of 92. Additional coverage: Associated Press, Rochester Democrat & Chronicle.

Previously: Seymour Schwartz at 90; Seymour Schwartz at 90.

Philadelphia Print Shop Reopening This Fall Under New Management

The Philadelphia Print Shop (not to be confused with the Denver-based Philadelphia Print Shop West), an antique prints, rare books and maps dealer that closed last December, is back in business. David Mackey has bought the business from Don Cresswell, who founded it in 1982, and is relocating it from Philadelphia’s Chestnut Hill neighbourhood to nearby Wayne. A “COVID-style grand opening” is planned for October. [WMS]

Star Maps: History, Artistry, and Cartography

Two editions of Star Maps

The March 2020 issue (PDF) of Calafia, the journal of the California Map Society, has as its theme the mapping of space. It also has something from me in it: my review of the third edition of Nick Kanas’s Star Maps: History, Artistry, and Cartography. An excerpt:

It’s important to remember a book’s target audience—its imagined ideal reader. In the case of Star Maps this is Kanas’s younger self, who came to map collecting via his lifelong interest in amateur astronomy. “I was frustrated that there was not a single book on celestial cartography that could inform me about the various aspects of my collecting,” he writes in the preface to the first edition. “What I needed was a book that not only was a primer for the collector but also had sufficient reference detail to allow me to identify and understand my maps. Nothing like this appeared, so I decided to write such a book some day” (p. xxi). In other words, for a compendium this is a surprisingly personal book, one that reflects his own journey into the subject and, presumably, his interests as a collector.

I’ll post the full review on The Map Room once I’ve checked my draft against the published copy. In the meantime, check out the issue of Calafia (PDF) in which it appears. (Update, 24 Jun 2020: Here it is.)


Star Maps: History, Artistry, and Cartography
3rd edition
by Nick Kanas
Springer Praxis, Sept 2019
Amazon (Canada, UK) | Apple Books | Bookshop

2020 Miami Map Fair Cancelled

The 2020 Miami International Map Fair, originally scheduled for 13-15 March, has been cancelled. While they don’t blame the COVID-19 outbreak explicitly, it’s of a kind with many other recent event cancellations.

P. J. Mode Interviewed

James Gillray, “The Plumb-Pudding in Danger,” 1805. Print, 26 × 36 cm. P. J. Mode Collection, Cornell University Library.

JSTOR Daily interviews P. J. Mode, the map collector (and donor) behind Cornell University Library’s P. J. Mode Collection of Persuasive Cartography. Mode began collecting maps in 1980, and proceeded in the usual manner until stumbling across what would become his niche.

When I was looking at those maps in dealers’ shops or catalogs, I often saw other maps that I thought were fun and interesting. I didn’t quite understand them all—unusual maps, strange maps of different kinds. The kind of maps that dealers refer to as “cartographic curiosities” (which basically means, “This doesn’t fit into one of my pigeon-holes…”). These were kind of fun and interesting, and they were inexpensive so, on a lark, I would buy them when I saw them and then I would kind of try to figure out what they were.

[AGS]

Previously: Persuasive Cartography; Another Look at Persuasive Cartography; Persuasive Cartography Collection Expands.

William Reese, 1955-2018

New Haven rare book dealer William Reese died earlier this month at the age of 62; he’d been suffering from prostate cancer. Reese, who founded his eponymous company in 1975, is a familiar name to map collectors; both his first significant sale and his last sale, according to the New York Times obituary, were cartographic in nature. [Tony Campbell]

Previously: Intact Atlas, Asking 165 LargeReese Donates $100K to Yale for Map Digitization; Connecticut Public Radio on Forbes Smiley Sentence.

For Sale: Original Copy of Chicago Gangland Map

A Map of Chicago’s Gangland from Authentic Sources (Bruce Roberts, 1931). Map, 71×57 cm. Daniel Crouch Rare Books.

Much is being made of the sale by Daniel Crouch Rare Books of an original copy of a pictorial map of Prohibition-era Chicago. Published in 1931, A Map of Chicago’s Gangland from Authentic Sources featured the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre and other episodes from Chicago’s gang wars and numerous other scenes of rum-running, police corruption and gang activity. So naturally the authorities did their best to suppress the map. The map will be on display at the London Map Fair this weekend; Daniel Crouch is asking £20,000 for it. But if you don’t have that kind of money, other copies do exist in libraries, such as Chicago’s Newberry Library, which I believe has sold facsimile reprints of the map. See coverage from Atlas Obscura, CBS Chicago and the Daily Mail. [Tony Campbell]

Peggy Osher, 1929-2018

Peggy Osher died Tuesday at the age of 88, the Portland Press-Herald reports. She had been suffering from Parkinson’s disease. She and her husband, the cardiologist Dr. Harold Osher, who survives her, donated their sizeable map collection to the University of Southern Maine in 1989 and advocated the creation of a dedicated map library; the Osher Map Library and Smith Center for Cartographic Education opened in October 1994Her obituary notes that in 1974 she convinced her husband to buy a map on a trip to London—a decision that escalated, as it often does. The Osher family was profiled in 2011 by Maine magazine. [WMS]

A Beginner’s Guide to Map Collecting

Two things about CityGuide’s beginner’s guide to map collecting. One, it’s not so much for beginners as written by a beginner; the author, Chris Sharp, is recounting his own journey into map collecting. Which brings me to the other thing: what kind of map collecting he’s talking about, which is to say, the “collecting all the OS Landranger maps” kind of map collecting, not the “paying exorbitant sums for a rare and ancient map that might be a forgery or sliced out of a volume from a library’s rare books collection” kind of map collecting. I don’t want to invoke Dunning-Kruger here, but I’m not sure he knows how much more there is out there. I suspect that he’s going to find out. Not being British myself, I don’t know to what extent Ordnance Survey maps are the gateway drug to a serious map collecting jones, but I have my suspicions. [WMS]

History of the Miami Map Fair

miami-map-fair-thumbThe Miami International Map Fair is just around the corner: it runs from February 5th to 7th. Relatedly, Joseph H. Fitzgerald has just published a short (64 pp.) history of the fair: The Miami Map Fair: The First 20 Years. From the excerpt I saw on Amazon it looks like one of those dry institutional histories, but there are people for whom this will be interesting. [viaBuy at Amazon (Canada, U.K.)

UpdateMiami Herald coverage of the Fair [via].