‘The Vinland Map Is a Fake’

The Vinland Map
The Vinland Map

The general consensus has been for some time that the Vinland Map is a modern forgery. A battery of non-destructive tests by Yale University, which holds the map in its Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, have been performed on the map, and the results of those tests have been announced: the map is a fake.

“The Vinland Map is a fake,” said Raymond Clemens, curator of early books and manuscripts at Yale’s Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library, which houses the map. “There is no reasonable doubt here. This new analysis should put the matter to rest.”

Basically, the map’s inks contain titanium compounds first used in the 1920s, and an inscription on the parchment was altered to make it seem like the map belonged in a 15th-century bound volume.

Previously: Re-Analyzing the Vinland Map.

Re-Analyzing the Vinland Map

The Vinland Map

The general consensus is that the Vinland Map is a modern forgery, not a pre-Columbian 15th-century map showing Norse explorations of North America. That doesn’t seem to stop Yale University from continuing to study the map, which is held in Yale’s Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library. The map is being subjected to a battery of non-destructive tests to provide better and more precise physical data about its parchment and ink. The results will be published in a forthcoming book edited by Raymond Clemens, who for the record does not believe the map is authentic. (Neither do I, for what it’s worth.) [GeoLounge]

The Vinland Map is also being put on display for the first time in half a century. It’ll be at the Mystic Seaport’s R. J. Schaefer Gallery in Mystic, CT from 19 May to 30 September.

The definitive book on the Vinland Map, though it may have been overtaken by later investigations and claims, is Kristin A. Seaver’s Maps, Myths, and Men: The Story of the Vinland Map (Stanford University Press, 2004).

Beinecke Acquires Map of Harlem Nightclubs

E. Simms Campbell, A Night-Club Map of Harlem, 1932. Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University.

Yale University’s Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library has announced that it has acquired “the original artwork for a 1932 map of Harlem nightclubs drawn by E. Simms Campbell, the first African American illustrator to be syndicated and whose work was featured regularly in national magazines. The map, purchased at auction on March 31, provides a ‘who’s who’ guide of the nightclubs that drove Harlem nightlife during and after Prohibition, including the Savoy Ballroom, the Cotton Club, and Gladys’s Clam Bar. It was published in the inaugural edition of Manhattan Magazine and appeared in Esquire nine months later.” [WMS]