2016 – 2017 Meetings

Date: September 13, 2016
Title: Maps for the Whole Earth: Oceanic Voyages and the Birth of Modern Cartography
Speaker: Joaquim Alves Gaspar & Henrique Leitão
Location: The Adler Planetarium

Today people everywhere consult maps on phones and mobile devices to find their way around. Centuries ago navigators began to use nautical charts for similar purposes. How did navigators find their position in the middle of the ocean with no land in sight? How did they use nautical charts? What is, exactly, a nautical chart? Join us as we explore the answers to these questions in a joint meeting with the Adler Planetarium’s Friends of the Webster Institute.

Maps have existed from ancient times in many different cultures. For Europeans, the making of maps, especially nautical charts, underwent a critical transformation in the sixteenth century with the onset of long-distance oceanic navigation. The need to adapt to new situations led to a profound re-shaping of how we viewed the globe. Cartographers developed new types of maps, including some of the map projections still seen today in digital maps and mobile phones.

In this presentation, the audience will join in a sea voyage using techniques of sixteenth-century sailors and understand the remarkable solutions they devised. This will culminate in the explanation of the method used by Gerard Mercator to make his famous cartographic projection that opened the door to modern cartography.

Joaquim Alves Gaspar is a retired Navy captain and a specialist in marine navigation and mathematical cartography, and is now a postdoctoral researcher at the Centre for the History of Science and Technology, University of Lisbon, Portugal. His present research interests are in the history of nautical cartography and navigation, mostly focused on the cartometric analysis of medieval and early modern charts. He has published two books on theoretical cartography and several articles in international peer reviewed journals. Two of the most recent works were dedicated to the construction of Mercator’s world map of 1569 (with Henrique Leitão): “Squaring the Circle: How Mercator Constructed His Projection in 1569” (Imago Mundi, 66:1, 2013) and “Globes, Rhumb Tables, and the Pre-History of the Mercator Projection” (Imago Mundi 66:2, 2014).

Henrique Leitão is a senior researcher at the Centro Interuniversitário de História da Ciência e da Tecnologia and is Head of the Department for the History and Philosophy of Science at the Faculty of Sciences, University of Lisbon. He was originally trained as a scientist (PhD in theoretical physics, 1998) but afterwards pursued a career in the history of science. His research interests are in the early modern period in Europe, especially mathematical sciences. He was in charge of the publication of the complete works of the sixteenth century Portuguese mathematician Pedro Nunes.

Date: October 25-26, 2016
Title: Annual Meeting of the International Map Collector’s Society
Location: Ruggles Hall, The Newberry Library

We are delighted to offer the Chicago Map Society a chance to attend this year’s annual meeting of the International Map Collector’s Society.

Sessions on Tuesday (October 25) begin at the Newberry at 9:00 a.m. and will feature papers examining the role that private map collectors have played in the creation and development of major public historical map collections throughout the United States over the past century, given by the curators of renowned research map collections from across the United States. That evening (a bus will depart from the Newberry at 5:15 p.m.) we will visit Chicago’s Adler Planetarium for a banquet, accompanied by a sky show and a viewing of an exhibition specially prepared for the occasion featuring the Adler’s world renowned collections of celestial cartography and scientific instruments. There will be an opportunity as well to visit the planetarium’s splendid permanent exhibitions.

On Wednesday (October 26) symposium participants will travel to the campus of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, where the staff of the American Geographical Society Library will have prepared an exhibition of the library’s map treasures, to be followed by a light lunch and lecture. On our return to Chicago we will visit the MacLean Collection, Green Oaks, Illinois, where the staff is preparing an exhibition on the mapping and settlement of the American West featuring the collection’s renowned holdings of American wall maps. Buses will depart from the Newberry at 9:00 a.m. and return at 6:00 p.m.

Date: October 27-29, 2016
Title: Maps, Their Collecting and Study: A Fifty-Year Retrospective
Speakers: Nineteenth Kenneth Nebenzahl, Jr. Lectures in the History of Cartography
Location: Ruggles Hall, The Newberry Library

The theme of this installment of the renowned lecture series was titled “Maps, Their Collecting and Study: A Fifty-Year Retrospective.” Besides honoring the many contributions to historical map scholarship that the previous eighteen series had made, the theme reacted specifically to the similarly named and themed first series, “The Study and Collecting of Early Maps: A Historical Survey,” whose four lectures were given in autumn 1966 by Raleigh Ashlin (Peter) Skelton, Keeper of the Map Room at the British Library. Skelton gave his lectures at the invitation of the Newberry’s President and Librarian, Lawrence W. Towner. During his visit Skelton also conducted a survey and assessment of the Newberry’s map collection. Skelton’s report on his findings guided the further development of the library’s map collection for decades, and led to the foundation of the Smith Center in 1971, under its first Director, David Woodward. The impact of the Nebenzahl Lectures, however, has been felt far beyond the Newberry. Building on its initial success in 1996, the series has been held every two or three years since, with constantly changing themes, promoting the expansion of publication and scholarly interest in the history of cartography across many fields.

As always, the Lectures were made possible through the generous support of their founders, Ken and Jossie Nebenzahl. The lectures, six in number, were presented from Thursday evening, October 27 through Saturday morning, October 29. More than 200 guests attended the three days of the lectures. The complete program of speakers, who are preparing their lectures for publication, was as follows:

Matthew Edney, University of Southern Maine (Keynote Lecture): “Of Maps, Libraries, and Lectures”

Peter Barber, The British Library: “George III as a Map Collector”

Susan Schulten, University of Denver: “How Did Old Maps Become Valuable?”

Richard Pegg, MacLean Collection: “Collecting and Studying East Asian Maps in the United States and Europe”

James Akerman, The Newberry Library: “Maps, Marginalia, and Ephemera”

Peter Nekola, The Newberry Library: “The Atlas as a Way of Thinking”

Date: November 17, 2016
Title: James Rees and the Idea of Chicagoland
Speaker: Paul Petraitis
Location: Ruggles Hall, The Newberry Library

The idea of a settlement based around the trans-shipment point of the Great Prairie and Lake Michigan is centuries old. And although the town of Chicago’s initial growth at this point occurred in the 1830s, it was the coming of the railroads in the 1850s that fueled the rapid urbanization of the area. In 1851, Chicago cartographer and land agent James H. Rees published a map that he titled “Map of the counties of Cook and DuPage, the east part of Kane and Kendall, the north part of Will, State of Illinois.” Join us as Chicago historian Paul Petraitis returns to the Newberry to explain how Rees’ map did more than just document this growth, it helped facilitate the expansion of Chicago’s grid into the hinterland, which would soon become known as “Chicagoland.”

Date: December 15, 2016
Title: A Celebration of the 40th Anniversary of the Chicago Map Society
Speakers: Founding Members of the Chicago Map Society
Location: Ruggles Hall, The Newberry

Our December meeting will be a gala dedicated to the fortieth anniversary of the Chicago Map Society. We have invited a number of the charter members of the society (which was founded in February 1976) to participate in a panel discussion celebrating our first forty years. Please join us to hear their memories of the founding of the Society, of notable members or meetings of the Society, their thoughts about the evolution of the Society, and their hopes for the future of the Society. Befitting this special meeting, we will have an especially full smorgasbord of holiday treats for your dining and drinking pleasure.

Date: January 19, 2017
Title: A Night in the Neighborhoods
Speakers: Jenny Beorkrem, Christopher Devane and Emily Talen
Location: Ruggles Hall, The Newberry

Ask an urbanite where he or she lives and you won’t get an address, you’ll get a neighborhood name. In Chicago, it might be Englewood, The Island, or The Land of Koz. The terms used to define our corners of the world are as varied as each of us, and attempts to define them with maps or to characterize their essences can be equally personal and elusive. Our January program will feature a panel discussion by three people, each of whom brings a unique point of view to the problem of neighborhood mapping, and in particular, the mapping of Chicago’s neighborhoods.

Christopher Devane was motivated to map Chicago’s neighborhoods by a contest in a bar in Beverly over who could name the most. Devane’s first map, published in 1992, showed 182 neighborhoods. A second edition in 2001 raised the ante to 222 neighborhoods, and in 2005 a third issue increased it to 237.

Jenny Beorkrem, graphic designer and proprietor of Orkposters, has made a career of designing and publishing maps of urban neighborhoods that resurrect an ancient cartographic genre—the purely verbal map. Her 2007 Chicago map features ninety-nine neighborhoods.

Emily Talen is a Professor of Urbanism at the University of Chicago who has become one of the country’s leading thinkers in the fields of urban design and urbanism, especially the relationship between the built environment and social equity. Students in her classes make “Hood Maps” and her next book, to be published this year, is titled Neighborhood.

If you’re wondering “How many neighborhoods are there in Chicago, anyway?” you’re not alone. For some answers (and there are many answers), please join us for what is sure to be a lively and map-rich discussion. Refreshments will be served and a variety of maps and books relating to Chicago and its neighborhoods will be available for purchase.

Date: February 16, 2017
Title: Mapping a Biological Invasion
Speaker: Steven Novak
Location: Towner Fellows’ Lounge, The Newberry

If you were driving through the Napa Valley, tasting wines and enjoying the beautiful rolling hills, and saw a field full of Taeniatherum caput-medusae, you might think “What a beautiful field of grain!” But you would be wrong. Because like its namesake Greek monster with a head bristling with snakes, this “Medusahead rye” is an invasive species, which has earned a place on California’s noxious weed list (called, cleverly enough, “Encycloweedia”). But Medusahead is no laughing matter—it’s a true monster, spreading at a rate of 12% per year and changing the ecology of rangelands all over western North America. Because Medusahead originated in Eurasia, its spread is a large-scale bio-geographic event and the information gathered about it can best be displayed using maps. Prof. Novak will demonstrate how maps can help us understand its spread, both continentally and locally, and how detailed mapping of “climate niches” can help us understand not only this specific invasion, but also provide insights into the invasion process in general.

Date: March 16, 2017
Title: Mobility Corridor: Mapping the Oregon Trail
Speaker: Karen Lewis
Location: Ruggles Hall, The Newberry

After its use as an overland emigration route for Westward Expansion (from 1795 to the 1860s), the Oregon Trail has continued to evolve as a landscape of communication and transportation technology: from the U.S. mail service, telegraph lines, Union Pacific Railroad, highways, and airplane routes to its current condition of internet services, pipelines and gas transfer stations, the Oregon Trail is an ever-changing landscape comprised of transportation and communication technologies. The connections between interchanges, settlements, geography, and culture persist today in a contemporary territory that holds multiple scales of industrial and economic activity.

Prof Lewis’s presentation will highlight recent archival research on the Oregon Trail, describing the different tools of visualizing its itinerary and landscape through the original maps, surveys and reports of its measurement, and will show how these archival findings influence contemporary maps. This presentation will focus on two important questions: How does mapping and drawing synthesize the archival records, primary research and contemporary datasets to envision the Oregon Trail as a metropolitan corridor of cultural activities?, and, How does the historic Oregon Trail persist within a landscape of contemporary infrastructural and cultural networks?

Date: April 20, 2017
Title: Field Trip to the Graphic Conservation Company
Speaker: Russ Maki
Location: Graphic Conservation Company, Chicago, Ill.

Please join us we tour the state-of-the-art, 8,000-square-foot lab at the Graphic Conservation Company, which is located in Chicago’s South Loop. Originally a boutique department of R. R. Donnelley that specialized in bookbinding and preservation, the now-independent company specializes in art and document restoration. On our tour, owner Russ Maki and his staff of conservators will demonstrate some time-tested techniques using a collection of specialized tools and equipment that enables conservators to treat paper items suffering from many different types of damage. Please note that this program will start at 5:00 p.m., so that we can see the conservators at work, and that we must limit attendance to thirty people. Accordingly, we will ask our members to make reservations for this event via email at contact@chicagomapsociety.org. Reservations will be confirmed as they are received, and we will send out transportation information before the meeting.

Date: May 18, 2017
Title: Chicago Globes
Speaker: Murray Hudson
Location: Ruggles Hall, The Newberry

For a century beginning in the 1880s, Chicago was the globe capital of the world with as many as ten major globe makers and retailers. Globe-making began in Chicago during the period of the city’s great growth between the 1871 fire and the World’s Columbian Exposition of 1893. A. H. Andrews was the first major manufacturer in the mid-1880s, followed by Rand McNally in 1891 (just in time for the World’s Fair). A. H. Andrews became C. F. Weber in 1895, and new manufacturers sprang up as Chicago continued to boom through World War I and the “Roaring 20s.” Even more globe makers (Replogle, Weber Costello, Nystrom and others) managed to flourish during the Great Depression using Chicago ingenuity. If one includes Marshall Fields, who used their name on Replogle globes, as many as six globe makers/retailers were operating at the height of production. No other city can claim such a concentration of diversity, ingenuity and productivity in globe-making, as Chicago made itself America’s “Global City.”

Date: June 15, 2017
Title: Highlights of the Barry MacLean Collection
Speaker: Tom Hall
Location: MacLean Collection, Green Oaks, Ill.

Please join us at what is becoming an annual event—a field trip to the Barry McLean Map Collection, which is in Chicago’s northern suburbs and is one of the largest privately-held collections of maps in the world. This year will be a special treat, as map curator Tom Hall will introduce us to some of the highlights of the collection.