1996 – 1997 Meetings

Date: September 12, 1996
Title: The Mapping of North America
Speaker: Philip Burden
Location: East Hall, The Newberry Library

Although the mapping of America is one of the most popular collecting areas, the bibliographical control of American maps is patchy and inadequate. Collectors, dealers, librarians, and historians have long wished for a comprehensive cartobibliography on the order of Shirley’s Mapping of the World. In a few weeks, their pleas will be answered with the publication of Philip Burden’s The Mapping of North America, a comprehensive, illustrated bibliography of maps published between 1511 and 1670. The author will be on hand to discuss and illustrate some of the earliest maps of America and highlight some of the problems involved in producing what is certain to be a definitive work of reference. Copies of the book will be available for purchase.

Date: October 15, 1996
Title: Paper Trails: Maps, Highways, and American Journeys in the Twentieth Century
Speaker: Jim Akerman, Director, Hermon Dunlap Smith Center for the History of Cartography, The Newberry Library
Location: East Hall, The Newberry Library

Do you have shoeboxes full of old road maps? Do you miss the days when your local gas station had shiny racks of the things, all free? Did you get your kicks on route 66? Then you need to come to this special Map Society preview of the Newberry’s new exhibition Paper Trails: Maps, Highways, and American Journeys in the Twentieth Century. Our personal guide will be the show’s curator and CMS member Jim Akerman, since July 1st the Director of the Hermon Dunlap Smith Center for the History of Cartography. After our usual refreshments and introductory comments, Jim will lead us on a walk through this two-gallery show, guaranteed to both dazzle and instruct.

Date: November 21, 1996
Title: Necropolitan Cartography
Speaker: Helen Sclair
Location: Towner Fellows’ Lounge, The Newberry Library

We may not like to think about it, but eventually we must all take that final journey from which no traveler returns. We may not need maps then, but those who design, promote, and maintain cemeteries use maps all the time. Our very own Helen Sclair, Chicago’s “Cemetery Lady,” will give us an illustrated tour through the little-known world of Necropolitan Cartography. Not only are there maps of the “Cities of the Dead,” but Helen has unearthed a rich cartographic tradition mirroring that of real cities.

Date: December 11, 1996
Title: Maps of the Holy Lands
Speakers: Dan Legnini and Bob Salika
Location: Field Museum of Natural History

Speaking of underground cities, have you ever seen a cave map? Or wondered how you go about making a map where the sun don’t shine? You can satisfy your curiosity by coming to our December meeting, held jointly with the Chicago chapter of the national caving organization. Our speakers for the evening will be Dan Legnini and Bob Salika, experienced spelunkers who’ve done many miles of cave mapping. They’ll explain their tools and techniques, show us the finished products, and illustrate their talk with photos of some of the caves they’ve worked in, including the stunning Lechuguilla Cave in Carlsbad Caverns National Park.

This is a Joint Meeting with Windy City Grotto, National Speleological Society

Date: January 16, 1997
Title: Mapping the (Un)Settling of America
Speaker: Craig Howe, Director, D’Arcy McNickle Center for American Indian History, The Newberry Library
Location: Towner Fellows’ Lounge, The Newberry Library

How well do you know your American history? You’ve probably seen maps showing the conquest of the “empty” American continent by European colonists, a story that’s been a central part of our national myth for at least a hundred years. But how would the process look to Native American observers? What kind of maps might they have drawn to illustrate the “same” phenomena? We’ll be stimulated to think about these and similar questions when Dr. Craig Howe presents his multi-media show contrasting European and Native American videos of five hundred years of American history.

Date: February 20, 1997
Title: Maps of Venice: Redefining the Republic in the Sixteenth Century
Speaker: Bronwen Wilson, Department of the History of Art, Northwestern University
Location: Towner Fellows’ Lounge, The Newberry Library

Jacopo de’Barbari’s woodcut of Venice was the first of an extensive series of bird’s-eye-views of the lagoon state. Detailed representations, claims to accuracy, and an ideal viewing point contribute to the image of the Republic: the city is simultaneously real and imaginary. Barbari’ s view serves as the springboard for Ms. Wilson’s discussion of the connections between waning economic and military power and the redefinition of Venice as an ideal republic.

Date: March 13, 1997
Title: Theater of the World: The Golden Age of the Atlas in the Low Countries, 1570-1670
Speaker: Larry Silver, Department of the History of Art, Northwestern University
Location: Towner Fellows’ Lounge, The Newberry Library

For a hundred years and more, from Ortelius’ Theatrum to Blaeu’ s Atlas major, Dutch and Flemish cartographers dominated the cartographic world. Their productions are still the mainstay of the antiquarian map trade and the maps have gained and held this reputation as much because of their sheer visual appeal as for their reputation as “good” maps. Prof. Silver will lead us on a gallery tour of the exhibit he has just curated at the Newberry. Don’t miss this rare opportunity to hear some familiar images discussed from the distinctive view of an art historian.

Date: April 17, 1997
Title: Public Transit Maps
Speaker: Dennis McClendon, Chicago Cartographies
Location: Towner Fellows’ Lounge, The Newberry Library

The London Underground map is the most famous example, but in dozens of cities around the world, maps of the public transit systems have achieved levels of recognition and use that few other maps can boast. Dennis McClendon, Map Society member and proprietor of Chicago Cartographies (which produces the CTA System Maps) will lead us on a profusely illustrated tour through this uniquely iconic genre of mapping.

Date: May 22, 1997
Title: Sometimes It’s OK Just to Enjoy the Ride: The Challenge and Joy of Cycling Maps
Speakers: Ray Hoven and Stephen Steiner, American Bike Trails Co.
Location: Towner Fellows’ Lounge, The Newberry Library

When the League of American Wheelmen began publishing maps more than a hundred years ago, maps for cyclists were among the earliest guides to the American road system. For a long while the automobile and its cartographic accoutrements pretty much owned the American road, but in the last thirty years cyclists have regained their ground, with dedicated trails, marked bike routes, and yes, even their own maps. Messrs. Hoven and Steiner, the President and Cartographer, respectively, of Libertyville’s American Bike Trails Co., will talk about the research and production of their series of more than 80 maps of trails in Illinois, Wisconsin, Michigan, Minnesota, and Iowa. Their full line will be on display.