2008 – 2009 Meetings

Date: September 18, 2008
Title: Where in the World was Colonia Munatianae?: The Atlas of Early Printing
Speaker: Greg Prickman, University of Iowa
Location: Ruggles Hall, The Newberry Library

The Atlas of Early Printing is a new digital resource for the study of the spread of printing through Europe. It is a map-based visualization of historical data, depicting both geography and time. The Atlas will be demonstrated and its development will be traced, in particular how GIS software was used to ensure the accuracy of the map and create the data, which was then translated into a more user-friendly system for its online display. The history of the various maps created in the 20th century that show the spread of printing will be highlighted, and the project will be placed within the context of other digital mapping projects in the humanities.

Greg Prickman first began considering a project to depict the spread of printing ten years ago while a student at Indiana University, after encountering a series of maps in a book entitled Annals of Printing. The Atlas of Early Printing combines his interests in traditional bibliography and new digital techniques, which he feels are less in conflict than some might think.

Date: October 16, 2008
Title: Tracking Down Crusaders Who Are Not Supposed to Be There
Speaker: James Krokar, DePaul University
Location: Ruggles Hall, The Newberry Library

For more than a decade, since 1996, James Krokar has been trying to identify and put into their historic context three 1605 Newberry manuscript maps of Ottoman fortresses. These maps depict sites in the modern states of Croatia, Montenegro, and Albania, but they were drawn when this region was part of the border zone between the Venetian Republic and the Ottoman Empire. Krokar’s current understanding of the maps is embodied in a recent article in the journal Imago Mundi.

The talk focuses on the frustrations and rewards of the process of historical research: mistaken identifications, intellectual straitjackets, and the joys of serendipitous discovery. It will highlight the one constant in his interpretation that some consider controversial: the continued relevance in Early Modern Europe of the medieval idea of crusade.

Date: November 20, 2008
Title: The Mississippi River in Maps & Views: From Lake Itasca to the Gulf of Mexico
Speaker: Robert A. Holland
Location: Ruggles Hall, The Newberry Library

Father of Waters, The Gathering of Waters, The Big Muddy, Ol’ Man River – the Mississippi is America’s main street, celebrated in history, song, story, and maps. Chicago Map Society member Bob Holland will give us a preview of his newly published book, The Mississippi River in Maps & Views. Beginning with maps that illustrate the European discovery and exploration of the Mississippi and the subsequent colonization of the Great River’s valley, Bob will move on to the many efforts over several centuries to “pin down” the two end points of the Mississippi – source and mouth. In 1803 the Louisiana Purchase more than doubled the size of the United States, placing the Mississippi at the young country’s western frontier. Cartographic depictions of the Purchase were soon to appear, and we will see maps illustrating several attempts by the federal government explore and settle this newly acquired territory. Militarily, the Mississippi River has been the key to the control of the interior of the vast continent of North America, a reality we will see clearly represented by maps of several North American conflicts. We will also see maps that depict a time when paddle wheelers plied the country’s main commercial thoroughfare, and charts that helped maintain a navigable commercial channel in the river and protect its valley from flooding. Finally, we’ll see a number of nineteenth-century town views that artistically record the settlement of the banks of the Mississippi. Copies of the book will be available for purchase and signing.

Dr. Holland is a former professor of philosophy at Hofstra University, currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Chicago Map Society, and is the author of Chicago in Maps, also published by Rizzoli.

Date: December 11, 2008
Title: Members’ Night
Speaker: Members of the Chicago Map Society
Location: Towner Fellows’ Lounge, The Newberry Library

Do you have a particular map or map-related item you wish to share? Curious about what others are collecting? Here’s your opportunity. On this special night we invite Chicago Map Society members to showcase their interest in maps, be it through a one of a kind item bargained for at a flea market or the long sought after piece that ties your collection together.

Date: January 15, 2009
Title: “A noble, logical diagram once recorded will never die”: The Legacy of the Burnham and Bennett Plan of Chicago
Speaker: Dennis McClendon
Location: Ruggles Hall, The Newberry Library

Those words, following closely on the heels of his more famous utterance “Make no little plans,” certainly apply to Daniel Burnham’s 1909 Plan of Chicago. The “noble diagrams” that Burnham, Edward Bennett, and their associates prepared one hundred years ago are among the most important maps ever made of Chicago. Though never realized fully, the dazzling vision and inspirational power of the “Burnham Plan” influenced our city’s development throughout the twentieth century, and will continue to do so in the twenty-first. On the centenary of the Plan, longtime Plan of Chicago scholar, urban cartographer, and former Map Society president Dennis McClendon will talk about the maps and diagrams used in the document and subsequent promotional efforts, and about how the Plan reshaped the city.

Date: February 11, 2009
Title: Mapping Food, Supermarkets, and Community in Chicago
Speakers: Daniel Block, Chicago State University
Location: Ruggles Hall, The Newberry Library

Access to quality groceries is a major issue in many Chicago communities. A recentstudy supported by the Chicago Community Trust mapped patterns of food availability in Chicago and the suburbs. The findings show that access to food often mirrors racial and ethnic patterns. The study also found that the relationships between store owners and their surrounding communities vary greatly within different areas of the city. Daniel Block will discuss how such patterns are expressed in maps and stories in order to paint a picture of a starkly differentiated city, but one full of community based entrepreneurs working towards solutions.
This lecture was supported in part by a grant from the Geographical Society of Chicago – National Geographic Society Education Fund and organized in collaboration with the Geographic Society of Chicago.

Date: February 21, 2009
Title: Brave New Worlds
Speaker: Ruth Watson
Location: Art Institute (Michigan and Adams) – Fullerton Hall

For over twenty years, Dr. Ruth Watson has worked with cartographic ideas and imagery as a major basis for her artwork. From emerging artist projects such as Planetarium at Artspace (Auckland, 1989) to Paradise Now? Contemporary Art from the Pacific (Asia Society Museum, New York, 2003) her work has consistently engaged with these concerns, particularly the image of the world. Watson seeks to present alternative worldviews, often via little known map projections, by engaging with the structures of mapping itself. This talk will cover most aspects of her work for a new audience. She will focus on recent work that has involved a mapping the universe project and ongoing concerns with the histories and specificities of map projections.

This lecture was co-organized by The Chicago Map Society and The Art Institute of Chicago.

Date: March 11, 2009
Title: Public Participation GIS in the Context of Inner-City Revitalization
Speakers: Rina Ghose, Associate Professor of Geography, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
Location: Ruggles Hall, The Newberry Library

The goal of Public Participation GIS (PPGIS) is to erase the GIS digital divide by providing access to geographic information technologies among traditionally marginalized citizens, in order to enable better participation in planning and policy tasks. Over the last decade, PPGIS initiatives have been undertaken across the world. Within the United States, PPGIS initiatives have enabled inner-city community organizations to use GIS in their organizing and planning tasks. In this lecture, Dr. Ghose will explore the often complex and contradictory process of participation and spatial knowledge production among inner-city community organizations in Milwaukee.

This lecture was supported in part by a grant from the Geographical Society of Chicago – National Geographic Society Education Fund and organized in collaboration with the Geographic Society of Chicago.

Date: March 19, 2009
Title: Beyond the Nation’s Edge: Mapping the U.S. – Mexico Borderlands
Speaker: Sam Truett, Associate Professor of History, University of New Mexico
Location: Ruggles Hall, The Newberry Library

Prof. Truett will examine parallel efforts by nations and corporations to transform and control the U.S. – Mexico borderlands at the turn of the century through maps. Focusing on the western borderlands of Arizona, Sonora, New Mexico, and Chihuahua, he will discuss how U.S. interests earned to see beyond the nation’s edge, and why their cartographic vision often failed them.

Date: April 23, 2009
Title: What to do With Your Stuff when the Kids Don’t Want it: A Panel Discussion on the Future of Your Collection
Speakers: George Ritzlin, Allan Meyer, Art Holzheimer, Bob Karrow
Location: Ruggles Hall, The Newberry Library

Whether our collections are small or large, whether they consist of maps, books, or telegraph insulators, whether they are of great or minimal value, one thing is for sure: the time will come when you are no long able to take care of them. Basically you have three choices: sell them, give them to your heirs, or give them to an institution. But how or where to sell, and for how much? What are the legal and tax implications of gifts or sales? How do you find an appropriate institution, and how do you know they will want your gift? Our panel will consist of antiquarian dealer George Ritzlin, attorney Allan Meyer, collector Art Holzheimer, and librarian Bob Karrow. Each will make a brief presentation relating to the topic and then we will throw the floor open to your questions. This isn’t quite like “Antiques Road Show,” so please don’t bring artifacts, only questions.

Date: May 21, 2009
Title: A Lost City: Maps and Views of Ribeira Grande (Santiago, Cape Verde) at the time of Drake’s Conquest
Speaker: Rita Costa-Gomes, Towson University
Location: Ruggles Hall, The Newberry Library

Before Sir Francis Drake crossed the Atlantic to attack Spanish possessions in the Americas, he stopped at the Cape Verde island of Santiago. His conquest of the port city of Ribeira Grande was recorded shortly after 1585 by an enigmatic artist/engraver named Baptista Boazio. One question is whether Boazio (who also engraved maps of St. Augustine and Santo Domingo) was actually a member of the Drake expedition –the evidence is mixed. His view of Ribiera Grande is our principal visual source for early urban history of Cape Verde. Prof. Costa-Gomes will discuss the available urban models for the Portuguese foundation of new towns in the early Atlantic (15th and 16th centuries), and how these expressed a diversity of Iberian late medieval practices, settlement experiences and environmental conditions.

Date: June 18, 2009
Title: A Field Trip to the Chicago Park District Archives and Planning Department
Speakers: Julia Bachrach and Barbara Wood
Location: The Chicago Park District Headquarters, 541 North Fairbanks, Chicago

Chicago’s motto, as everyone knows, is Urbs in horto, “the city in a garden” and the agency principally responsible for keeping the horto in our urbs is the Chicago Park District. With 7600+ acres of parkland, 518 playgrounds, 24 miles of lakefront, 6 golf courses, and an urban farm, to name only a few of its facilities, the Park District includes a lot of real estate, and owns a lot of maps. Park District historian Julia Bachrach will show us examples of maps and plans by such masters ofl andscape design as Jens Jensen, Frederick Law Olmstead, Alfred Caldwell, Daniel Burnham, and Edward Bennett. Park District landscape architect (and Chicago Map Society secretary) Barbara Wood will give us a look at some of the District’s current design projects.