2004 – 2005 Meetings

Date: September 22, 2004
Title: Empire for the Masses: Postcard Maps and the Colonization of West Africa, 1900-1960
Speaker: Tom Bassett, Professor of Geography, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Location: Towner Fellows’ Lounge, The Newberry Library

Thomas Bassett, Professor of Geography at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign’s Center for African Studies, will present an unusual tour through French West Africa as it existed from 1900-1960. Using postcard-sized maps, Bassett will address how this innovative format and circulation lent itself to advertising, forms of correspondence, and primary-school education, making France’s overseas empire more legible and accessible to the general public.

Date: October 28. 2004
Title: Mapping the Silk Road and Beyond: 2000 Years of Exploring the East
Speaker: Ken Nebenzahl
Location: Ruggles Hall, The Newberry Library

Since Classical times Europeans were aware that unknown lands far to the east were the sources of exquisite fabrics and spices. Ken Nebenzahl’s new book describes European efforts spanning two millennia to develop trade routes to Asia by land and sea. Mr. Nebenzahl’s lecture, illustrated by original manuscript and early printed maps, reviews this complicated and fascinating story. A book signing will follow the talk.

Date: November 18, 2004
Title: Field Trip to Tour of the University of Chicago’s Map Collections
Speaker: Chris Winters, Map Librarian, Regenstein Library, University of Chicago
Location: Regenstein Library, University of Chicago, 1100 East 57th Street

Chris Winters will give a tour of the University’s map collections.

Date: December 16, 2004
Title: Holiday Party and Member’s Show and Tell
Speakers: Members of the Chicago Map Society
Location: Towner Fellows’ Lounge, The Newberry Library

The only requirement for membership in the Chicago Map Society is an interest in maps. For many of our members this interest is expressed through collections of rare items or of commonplace maps that have become embedded in American popular culture; cartographically-themed attire or collectibles; or through travel to places that were once easily accessible only through the maps, illustrations and descriptions in now-historic atlases. So bring your map and your story to share to our holiday party show and tell.

For this holiday meeting, we will host a small appetizer and dessert potluck at the reception.

Date: January 20, 2005
Title: Training Historians to Use Their Eyes: Charts, Graphs, and Thematic Maps
Speaker: Bruce Fetter, University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee
Location: Towner Fellows’ Lounge, The Newberry Library

In order to train new generations of cartographically informed scholars, it is necessary to introduce students to the semiotics of maps. This talk will proceed from charts, which share some of the sign systems of maps, to graphs, to thematic maps.

Date: February 17, 2005
Title: Chicago’s Public Transit Maps
Speaker: Dennis McClendon, Chicago CartoGraphics
Location: Towner Fellows’ Lounge, The Newberry Library

Like the city’s transit system itself, the maps Chicagoans use to navigate public transit have changed through the decades. Dennis McClendon, the mapmaker who currently does the CTA map, will show the various maps produced by Chicago’s streetcar, bus, and elevated companies, and the evolution of today’s CTA and RTA maps.

Date: March 17, 2005
Title: Maps and the Sense of Place in Early Modern Paris
Speaker: Elisabeth Hodges, Miami University
Location: Towner Fellows’ Lounge, The Newberry Library

In general, we associate maps with the representation of concrete spaces such as a city, or a country. Yet maps also represent in a symbolic fashion the spatial relations between places and individuals. Well before modern notions of nationhood were defined as such, city views and guide book descriptions of Paris and Parisians offered a way for the public to think about citizenship and selfhood in spatial and narrative forms.

Date: April 28, 2005
Title: The Civil War and Military Mapping
Speaker: Earl B. McElfresh, McElfresh Map Company
Location: Ruggles Hall, The Newberry Library

As important as maps can be in everyday life, in their military application maps can be the difference between life and death, victory and defeat. From ancient times to Iraq today, military topographical engineers have faced some common difficulties. Focusing on Civil War generals and their mapmakers, McElfresh will describe specific instances in which map successes or failures directly affected the outcome of campaigns and battles.

This program was co-sponsored by the Newberry’s Hermon Dunlap Smith Center for the History of Cartography, and the Newberry Library’s Center for Public Programs.

Date: May 21, 2005
Title: A Field Trip to the Hellenic Museum for a tour of the exhibit, Cyprus Engraved: Maps from The Cyprus Museum Collection
Speaker: Staff of the Hellenic Museum and Cultural Center
Location: Hellenic Museum and Cultural Center, Greek Islands Building, 801 West Adams

Join us for a guided tour of the new map exhibit at the Hellenic Museum. Due to its strategic position in the Mediterrian Basin, Cyprus became a magnet for geographers and cartographers. Maps depicting the island became a necessity not only for mariners and traders, but also for those who fought for possession of the island.

Date: June 16, 2005
Title: ‘The places of the seuerall Mappes’ in John Smith’s Generall Historie (1624)
Speaker: Mary Fuller, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Location: Towner Fellows’ Lounge, The Newberry Library

For a contemporary American readership, John Smith’s rescue by Pocahontas may be the most compelling moment in his corpus of works—but what did Smith’s English contemporaries think about when they read his work? Sometime in the second half of the seventeenth century, an early reader covered a copy of Smith’s text (Huntington 3346), with dense annotations. This reader’s annotations to the maps in the text begin to give an intriguingly different sense of Smith’s biography, and how it was read in his own time.