2010 – 2011 Meetings

Date: September 16, 2010
Title: Cartographic Tales of Chicago History
Speaker: Dennis McClendon, Chicago CartoGraphics
Location: Ruggles Hall, The Newberry Library

Historic maps of Chicago tell all kinds of intriguing stories about the city’s origins and development: vanished creeks and woods, big projects never accomplished, forgotten ethnic groups and neighborhoods, mysterious subdivisions, abandoned industrial areas, vice districts and world’s fairs, ghosts of railroad stations and streetcar lines and freight tunnels, reminders of a constantly changing Loop. Dennis McClendon, a Chicago cartographer and historian who produced the maps for the Encyclopedia of Chicago, will show the interesting stories seen in various corners of three dozen maps from Chicago’s past.

There will be no Chicago Map Society meeting for the month of October; instead, members are encouraged to attend the Nebenzahl Lectures, detailed below.

Date: November 4–6, 2010
Title: Mapping the Transition from Colony to Nation
Speaker: The Seventeenth Kenneth Nebenzahl, Jr., Lectures in the History of Cartography
Location: Ruggles Hall, The Newberry Library

The seventeenth edition of this series will feature lectures by eight scholars that examine how peoples and states emerging from colonial status used maps to define, defend, and administer their national territories; to develop their national identities; and to establish their places in the community of nations. The eight papers cover a wide range of themes and geographical settings that span two centuries.

Date: December 14, 2010
Title: A Night at the Movies
Speaker: Jam Handy Organization/United States Geology Survey
Location: Towner Fellows’ Lounge, The Newberry Library

Please join us for our holiday party, with extended refreshments, popcorn, and several cartographic shorts. The first short film, entitled “Caught Mapping,” was produced by the State Highways Association in 1940 and shows how road maps were drawn, field-checked and printed at the time. We will also view footage from the 1923 mapping survey of the Grand Canyon conducted by the United States Geological Survey and led by C.H. Birdseye. It is the earliest film produced by the USGS.

Date: January 20, 2011
Title: How Maps Developed a Sense of Humor: A Survey of Pictorial Maps, 1519-2010
Speaker: Robert Karrow, Curator of Special Collections and Curator of Maps, The Newberry Library
Location: Towner Fellows’ Lounge, The Newberry Library

Many maps throughout history have had pictures on them, but something began to change in the late 19th century when purely pictorial elements began to get more play. The phenomenon really took off in the 1920s, under the influence of the comic strip and the animated cartoon, producing a “golden age” of pictorial maps. Bob Karrow will lead this spirited romp through the genre, one that has increasingly attracted the attention of collectors.

Date: February 17, 2011
Title: And Where is Lake Michigan?
Speakers: Carl Kupfer, Civil Engineer and Chicago Map Society Member
Location: Towner Fellows’ Lounge, The Newberry Library

In this brief cartographic history of the last Great Lake to be discovered, Carl Kupfer will show why it took over 240 years since its first sighting to produce accurate maps of its shorelines and related geographical features. This cartographic odyssey will include an examination of early manuscript maps, printed maps, charts, surveys, instruments and tools of the trade.

Date: March 17, 2011
Title: The Cartography of Biological Invasions: from Columbus to Darwin to DNA
Speaker: Steve Novak, Professor of Biology, Boise State University
Location: Towner Fellows’ Lounge, The Newberry Library

The voyages of Christopher Columbus set in motion a global biological upheaval, referred to as the “Great Columbian Exchange”, in which European species were introduced into the New World and New World species were introduced into Europe. Later, Charles Darwin was perhaps the first biologist to muse about the ecological and evolutionary consequences of invasions. In this lecture, Dr. Novak will illustrate and explain how modern-day scientists use new methods—from forensic DNA studies to new surveying and mapping techniques—to understand, manage and control such invasions.

Date: April 21, 2011
Title: The First Travel to Tibet by an Educated European: George Bogle’s Mission to Bhutan and Tibet (1774-1775)
Speaker: Alexey Postnikov
Location: Ruggles Hall, The Newberry Library

In 1774, the British East India Company sent a young Scotsman, George Bogle, as their envoy to Bhutan and Tibet. Bogle proved himself a masterful diplomat and actually formed a friendship with the Third Panchen Lama of Tibet. His Memorandums (not published until a hundred years after the mission) contain the record of this relationship and of his keen observations of life and culture at the top of the world. Academician Alexey Postnikov has translated a previously unknown version of Bogle’s report and is at work on a book on the mission. His lecture will outline for us this remarkable and little-known journey and the new information that it provided. The talk will be illustrated by old maps and Alexey’s own original photographs from Bhutan and Tibet.

Date: May 19, 2011
Title: Setting the Record Straight on America’s First National Map: Abel Buell’s Map of the United States
Speaker: Paul Cohen
Location: Towner Fellows’ Lounge, The Newberry Library

Last December, a map of the United States published in New Haven in 1784 sold at Christie’s auction house for $2,098,500, setting a world auction record for a map. Abel Buell’s New and Correct Map of the United States was the first of the original 13 states to have been published in America. Antiquarian map dealer Paul Cohen has made an extensive study of Abel Buell and has examined all but one of the seven surviving examples of the map. His lecture will introduce us to the Connecticut Yankee Buell (who worked variously as a goldsmith, jewelry designer, engraver, surveyor, type manufacturer, mint master, textile miller, and counterfeiter), and shed much new light on this legendary rarity in American cartography.

Date: June 16, 2011
Title: How the 1859 Gold Rush Put Colorado on the Map
Speaker: Wesley Brown
Location: Towner Fellows’ Lounge, The Newberry Library

In the spring of 1858, Colorado’s Front Range area was uncharted and inhabited only by natives. But by the close of 1859, 100,000 fortune seekers had thoroughly explored the Front Range, north of Pueblo to the Wyoming border. In their quest for gold, they left their footprints on the landscape, establishing dozens of settlements and blazing numerous trails. This slide show and lecture will teach you about Colorado’s gold rush and how this important chapter of history influenced Colorado maps of today.

Wesley Brown has been a collector, student, and author of old maps for thirty years. A Denver resident, he co-founded the Rocky Mountain Map Society in 1990 and served as its President for its first seven years. He has served as an advisor and collection development for the Library of Congress and the Denver Public Library.