Upcoming Events

The Chicago Map Society typically meets at The Newberry on the third Thursday of every month during the academic year (September through May). Meetings start at 5:30 p.m. with a social half-hour, followed by an hour presentation on a cartographic subject of interest to our membership. Our meetings are open to the public, but to help defray expenses, non-members are asked for a small donation at the door. If you are unfamiliar with The Newberry, which is located on the near north side of Chicago, here are directions.

The list below details the upcoming meetings of the Chicago Map Society, as well as an occasional event that is of especial importance to our membership.

John Docktor maintains calendars of map society meetings and cartographic exhibitions worldwide, both of which are available at Cartographic Calendars. For information on the events held by Wisconsin Map Society, our sister organization ninety miles to the north, please visit their website by clicking here.

Date: Tuesday, September 13, 2016 5:00 PM
Title: Maps for the Whole Earth: Oceanic Voyages and the Birth of Modern Cartography
Speaker: Joaquim Alves Gaspar, Henrique Leitão
Location: The Adler Planetarium, Chicago, Ill.

Our first gathering of the 2016-2017 Program Year will inaugurate an annual joint meeting with the Friends of the Webster Institute at the Adler Planetarium. We plan to alternate these meetings between the Alder Planetarium and The Newberry, beginning this year at the Adler.

Please note that reservations are required for this event: if you plan to attend, send a note to contact@chicagomapsociety.org by Tuesday, September 6, 2016.

This initial meeting will highlight the work of two Portuguese scholars on the cartographic projection that Gerardus Mercator introduced on his world map of 1569. Here is an abstract of their presentation:

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?

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: Thursday, October 27, 2016 – Saturday, October 29, 2016
Title: The Nineteenth Nebenzahl Lectures: Maps, Their Collecting and Study: A Fifty Year Retrospective
Speaker: Various – please use the link below to the Smith Center’s page for a complete schedule of this year’s program
Location: Ruggles Hall, The Newberry, Chicago, Ill.

Instead of a October meeting, we encourage the members of the Chicago Map Society to attend the Nineteenth Kenneth Nebenzahl, Jr., Lectures in the History of Cartography, which commemorates the fiftieth anniversary of the lecture series. Hosted by the Hermon Dunlap Smith Center for the History of Cartography at the Newberry Library, this year’s program is titled Maps, Their Collecting and Study: A Fifty Year Retrospective.

For more information, you may visit the Smith Center’s page by clicking here. Please note that although the lectures are free, registration is required. The lectures will be preceded by the Thirty-Fourth International Symposium of IMCoS, the only international organization for map collectors, and will conclude with a global gathering of antiquarian map dealers at the Fourth Chicago International Map Fair.

Date: Thursday, November 17, 2016 5:30 PM
Title: James Rees and the Idea of Chicagoland
Speaker: Paul Petraitis
Location: Ruggles Hall, The Newberry, Chicago, Ill.

The idea of a settlement based around the trans-shipment point of the Great Prairie and Lake Michigan is centuries old. Although the town of Chicago’s initial growth occurred in the 1830s, the coming of the railroads in the 1850s fueled the rapid urbanization of the area. Chicago cartographer and land agent James H. Rees’ 1851 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: Thursday, December 15, 2016 5:30 PM
Title: Celebrating Forty Years of the Chicago Map Society
Speaker: Founding Members of the CMS
Location: Ruggles Hall, The Newberry, Chicago, Ill.

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.