2013 – 2014 Meetings

Date: September 19, 2013
Title: Three Visual Strategies Used to Present the Southern Continent
Speaker: Catherine Akeroyd
Location: Towner Fellows Lounge, The Newberry Library

Between the sixteenth and the eighteenth centuries mapmakers portrayed one of the most remarkable cartographic myths of all time: a huge continent in the far south that was based purely on hypothesis. Cartographers populated this theoretical space with various visual and textual elements. This paper explores three of these elements, namely portraits, allegorical cartouches, and animals, and considers why the mapmaker located these images in the southern continent and how the images chosen shed light on the cultural milieu of their time.

Date: October 9, 2013
Title: Orbis Vexillorum: The Birth of a Globe
Speaker: Connie Brown, Redstone Studios LLC
Location: The Barry MacLean Collection

The program will begin with a talk by Connie Brown, creator of custom hand-painted cartographic works, who will describe how she and her colleagues transformed a damaged Weber globe to meet Mr. MacLean’s vision of a globe whose countries are defined not by conventional geographic content, but by their national flags. The Orbis Vexillorum will be on display at the lecture. After the lecture Tom Hall, curator of Mr. MacLean’s map collection, will give us guided tour.

Date: November 14, 2013
Title: Maps for the Masses: The Making of Small, Affordable Pocket Atlases from the Early World Atlases of Ortelius and Mercator, 1577-1607
Speaker: Matthew White
Location: Ruggles Hall, The Newberry Library

Please join us in welcoming Matt White, longtime Chicago Map Society member, as he presents his research. Here is a brief introduction to his presentation: When Abraham Ortelius made the first modern world atlas in 1570, it was an immediate hit, but it was extremely expensive. Soon, associates of Ortelius had the idea to make a smaller version, affordable for the middle class. In time, others were competing, with derivatives of not only Ortelius maps, but also Gerard Mercator’s atlas. Thus, over 400 years ago, began the development of the family atlas, an almost universal fixture in western homes today.

Date: December 19, 2013
Title: Members’ Night
Speaker: Members of the Chicago Map Society
Location: Ruggles Hall, The Newberry Library

During our annual holiday party, we invite Chicago Map Society members to bring their own maps and say a few words about them, be it a one of a kind item bargained for at a flea market or the long sought after piece that ties your collection together.

As a special treat, one of our members will be bringing an interesting item that he would like to sell, and he would like to donate the proceeds to the Map Society. Here is a description of the item:

Menu for the Century Grill, Century of Progress World’s Fair, Chicago, 1934.

(Bi-fold. Dimensions when open, 12″ x 18″.)

The menu features Swift & Company meats and foods. Fair-goers could order a sirloin steak dinner (including fruit cocktail, potatoes, vegetables, salad, desert and beverage) for $1.40—the most expensive item on the menu. For those on a budget, a cold corned beef sandwich was only 15 cents. This was before the industrial production of poultry, as sliced chicken sandwiches were 35 cents. The time is post-Prohibition as beer is available: Michelob on Draught is 15 cents for a glass or 20 cents for a Pilsner. The restaurant is operated by the Crown Food Company.

Clipped to the menu is a “blue ribbon” proudly noting the beef is from Tarkio Farms of Kansas City, Missouri and purchased by Swift through John Clay & Company, Union Stock Yards, Chicago. Foodies take note—sourcing is hardly a new idea.

Verso is a bird’s-eye view of the part of the Fair where the Century Grill is located. The scene is crowded with fair-goers. Nearby is a band-shell. Boats, including a gondola, are in the water. Above are an airplane and a blimp.

Date: January 23, 2014
Title: The Woman Who Mapped the French Republic: Augustine Fouillée’s Cartographic Tour de France
Speaker: Catherine Dunlop
Location: Towner Fellows’ Lounge, The Newberry Library

The classroom geography reader The Tour de France by Two Children, published in 1877, was one of the bestselling French books of all time. Narrated from by two orphan boys who journey across France, the book offered schoolchildren an introduction to France’s physical and cultural topography. And, to the surprise of many, the most popular geography book in French history was the work of a woman. In telling the story of Augustine Fouillée and her Tour de France, this talk will explore the challenges, constraints, and opportunities that women geographers and mapmakers faced during the nineteenth century.

Date: February 20, 2014
Title: Lake Calumet: Chicago’s Other Lake
Speaker: Paul Petraitis
Location: Ruggles Hall, The Newberry Library

Fourteen miles south of the Loop, Lake Calumet was known to a generation of pioneer Chicago sportsmen as “Steven Douglas’ Duck Pond,” as the “Little Giant” owned hundreds of acres in the vicinity and regularly entertained his guests at the Woodman Tavern. Join us as Chicago historian and lifelong Southsider Paul Petraitis returns to lecture at the Newberry, using maps to trace Lake Calumet’s transition from a home for the local Pottawatomie tribes to the site of George Pullman’s “model town” and rail car factory to its current situation: a mixed-bag of land use that includes a historic district, a major interstate expressway, factories, an award-winning golf course, wetland reserves and the moribund Port of Chicago.

Date: March 20, 2014
Title: To Hell and Gone: Cartoon Maps of Alaska since 1867
Speaker: Amanda Murphyao
Location: Ruggles Hall, The Newberry Library

Found in the lower left hand corners of many maps of the United States today, images of Alaska have appeared in cartography and political cartoons since the Alaska Purchase in 1867. Amanda Murphyao will share international and domestic political cartoons alongside historical maps, including a map of the North Pole from Observatory Books in Juneau. The images from atlases, postcards, handkerchiefs, textbooks, and newspapers comment on American north-westward expansion through visual representations of Alaska during the Klondike Gold Rush, Alaska Boundary Commission, statehood in 1959, and up to the present day. Murphyao will also share some contemporary tongue-in-cheek Alaskan maps that reply to dominant representations of the territory as a disembodied island in a small box next to Hawaii.

Date: April 17, 2014
Title: The Elusive Nile—Explorers and the Changing Map of Africa
Speaker: Don Kaufman
Location: Ruggles Hall, The Newberry Library

The Nile’s origin had been a mystery for European explorers for centuries, intensifying in the 19th century when Nile explorers sought fame for themselves and glory for their nations. At home, people were captivated by the “race for the Nile” in the same way that Americans engaged in the 1960s’ “space race” with the Soviets. This illustrated talk showcases European maps of Africa from the 16th–19th centuries featuring the Nile River and the European quest to solve the mystery of the Nile’s origin. In examining these maps, Mr. Kaufman shows how, over time, cartography reflects various changing theories and discoveries surrounding the Nile River system until Victorian explorers solve the mystery of its origin.

Date: May 15, 2014
Title: The World’s Columbian Exposition: A Tour by Way of a Newly-Found Fire Insurance Atlas
Speaker: Gerald Danzer
Location: Ruggles Hall, The Newberry Library

A small local Chicago publisher of fire insurance maps published an atlas of the World’s Columbian Exposition in 1893. Little known after its time, the maps not only provide details about the Fair’s buildings, they also provide a unique view of the fairgrounds and its environment. The story of the atlas also suggests how the Sanborn Company came to dominate the fire insurance map publishing business.

Date: June 19, 2014
Title: Egloffstein’s Map of the Valley of Mexico in 1864: Color and Display in his Last Contour Map
Speaker: Steven Rowan
Location: Ruggles Hall, The Newberry Library

The German explorer, geologist, and cartographer Baron Friedrich Wilhelm von Egloffstein is perhaps best known in this country for his magnificent map of the Grand Canyon created in 1857-58. In his recent book, The Baron in the Grand Canyon: Friedrich Wilhelm von Egloffstein in the West, Dr. Steven Rowan points out that interest in foreign investment in Mexico during the American Civil War also encouraged Egloffstein to revive geological research done by Barons Friedrich von Gerolt and Karl von Berghes in the 1820s. Dr. Rowan will shed slight light on the results of this research, in particular Egloffstein’s use of color on maps of Mexico’s mineral resources published in Contributions to the Geology and the Physical Geography of Mexico (1864).