I see my pictures have gone all wonky again. This is a recurring problem I‘m learning to isolate with image galleries and links to story pages. Whether I'm doing something wrong or Drupal just hates (lots of) images, remains unclear. For now, the pictures for the Legacy, Dangerous Voyage, and Hacking Old Globes entries have randomly ultra-sized well beyond the recommended parameters. Until someone more adept can tell me what I'm doing wrong, visitors are invited to enjoy the increased detail.

At least one link has died. The last vestiges of Woolworths have apparently disappeared, along with the Chad Valley Globe Co. reference. This is a shame because their virtual museum of toys and tin globes ( will be a sorely missed online resource. I'll try to redirect, but feel free to encourage Woolworths to repost (here).

Both of these events bring home the point, "Print everything." If you plan to quote it, link it, cite it, or refer to it, print it out. Links die, sites disappear, and hard drives join the minions of Satan.

Edmonton, 1913 - The Free City Guide

I've posted a copy of a Free City Guide, for Edmonton, dated January 1913, in a couple of image galleries. The original 48-page booklet (3¼ x 5¾", 84 x 146mm) has light card covers and a stapled binding. The contents include listings of:

  • p. 1 - 26                government bldg.s, civic officials, hotels, banks, business and apartment blocks, etc.
  • p. 27 - 32              railway timetables
  • p. 33 - 46              streetcar service
  • p. 47 - 48              Editorial calling for more local production to stem capital flight entitled, More Smoke!

 At the rear is a folding map of the city, produced by Driscoll & Knight. (More on that in a later entry.) The hope is that (better informed) local historians and railway enthusiasts may find it useful. For some context, see Dr. Rod Macleod's, Edmonton's Story. I think the best work on local streetcars is Edmonton's Electric Transit: The Story of Edmonton's Streetcars and Trolley Buses by Colin K. Hatcher and Tom Schwarzkopf. (Toronto: Railfare Enterprises Ltd., 1983) See also the comprehensive Atlas of Alberta Railways, sponsored by the University of Alberta Press.

Places and Spaces: Mapping Science

Places & SpacesPlaces & SpacesCameron Library has reopened its first floor and is currently hosting the first four iterations of the Places and Spaces display. With only a few minutes to snap photos, I managed to see just enough to seriously test my ideas about what makes a map, a map. (more)

Mini-globes: collecting for the fun of it.

Mini-globesMini-globesCollecting is supposed to be fun. It's good to remind yourself of that from time to time. For me, half the fun is inflicting my passion on unsuspecting bystanders. To that end, I have recently acquired several dozen mini-globes, small enough to carry in a pocket, tuck in a stocking, or pass on to a bored kid. (more)

Videos about maps

A couple of MapHist posts and a recent CBC Sparks episode prompted me to search the Prelinger Archive for online films about maps. Unfortunately, I only got one hit, a rather quirky, Jam Handy short about how roadmaps are updated that's probably only of interest to the most hardcore roadmap fans. A couple of scenes do strike me as rather bizarre. Note the way the block slides around as the engraver works on it. And what's happening in that final scene with the Highway Superintendent? After measuring the grade (18%), he checks in with the foreman. Then he floors it up the new detour while the boys watch to see if he'll make it. I had assumed there might be some higher level of engineering involved.

The Prelinger Archive and it's larger host the Internet Archive are an amazing resource of online films, many copyright free. The Library of Congress acquired Rick Prelinger's collection of 60,000 industrial, educational, and promotional films in 2002 and there are currently about 2000 online.

Probably of more general interest, are the two films mentioned on MapHist. The first discusses the origins of Harry Beck's, London Underground Map, and its influence on other subway maps around the world. The second is part of the Chicago History Museum's, How it's Made, series. It follows the production of globes at Repogle and gives me a chance to play with the blog's YouTube feature. 


Flunk 'em if they can't take a joke.

This diagram, from a late 19th century American atlas, would make a wicked exam:

ArtHist 100 Final - From the diagram, name all 50 numbered monuments, buildings, etc., including the city and country where they are currently found, their primary materials of construction, and their height (in both feet and metres). Right minus wrong. 25 minutes. Grade = 95% of term. Good luck and enjoy your summer.

New Links to Exhibition Catalogues

Details of Cameron Library's recent map displays and exhibits have just been added to the University of Alberta's William C. Wonders Map Collection homepage. The new 'Map Displays and Exhibits' link leads to titles, bibliographical details, and notes for the A Most Dangerous Voyage and Legacy of Empire supplementary map displays.

Held in conjunction with exhibits at Bruce Peel Special Collections, the map displays give just a glimpse of the treasures held at the U of A. Thanks to David L. Jones, WCWMC Map Librarian, for what may be a revolutionary new approach to 'museum' exhibits - print your own catalogue!

Legacy of Empire

CatalogueCatalogueBruce Peel does it again, with its current show of maps and books of Central Europe and the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Armed with the comprehensive catalogue and having seen the supplementary map display, my thoughts are running in so many directions I'll have to deal with this one in pieces:

Bruce Peel's current exhibit: Sept. - Dec. 2008 and a tangent.
Cameron Library's map display: ended Sept. 21, 2008
How did all this stuff end up in Edmonton? The catalogue.
Library Collections and $: boom and bust at the U, 1960 - 2008.

Legacy of Empire - a teaser

I think I just saw the biggest map I ever saw. At least, a corner of it.

The map is Regna Galiciæ, et Lodomeriæ... (Lemberg [Lvov], 1794) and was, for me, the centrepiece of Bruce Peel's new, "Legacy of Empire: Treasures of the University of Alberta's Central European Library Collection." The Kingdom of Galicia and Lodomaria was the name given by the Hapsburgs to the region they annexed following the First Partition of Poland (1772). Jesuit astronomer Joseph Liesganig began the survey, which was completed by Joseph Marx von Lichtenstern, a military surveyor. The forty-nine sheets that make up the complete map were engraved by Gottfried Prixner. The cartouche, "depicts a personification of the rivers and natural wealth of the land."1

"Legacy of Empire" marks the 10th anniversary of the Wirth Institute for Austrian and Central European Studies and was arranged by its director, Franz A.J. Szabo. It runs until December. (More info and pix in a few days.)

In conjunction, the William C. Wonders Map Collection is staging a display of "Early maps of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, Hungary and Central Europe [...] featuring Hungarian maps recently donated by J. Eugene Horvath." This show only runs until Sept. 21st, so, as my father would say, "You'd best get at 'er." (Cameron Library, 4th floor) I haven't seen this one, yet. Stay tuned.

1 Szabo, Franz A.J. Legacy of Empire: treasures of the University of Alberta's Central European library collection. (Edmonton, U. of Alberta P., 2008) p. 28. Catalogue item #29.


Hacking Old Globes.

There's a modest collection of 20th century globes at a local travel shop. Tucked in with about a dozen, fairly non-descript models1 is the manuscript 'Texan's Globe.'2 The hand-drawn and coloured globe shows the world in the mind of a stereotyped Texan. Half the Earth is filled by a swollen United States, with Texas taking up about one third of that. Canada is squeezed between New York and an Alaska that touches the 49th parallel. Beyond, the geography becomes even more bizarre.

HawaiiHawaiiTexas & SWTexas & SWFlorida & SWFlorida & SWThe SouthThe SouthCanadaCanadaThe Philipines, Indonesia, New Zealand, and Australia are all in the Atlantic, south of Britain. Central and South America have disappeared near the South Pole, while Cuba remains just off the Florida coast. Europe, Africa, and Asia are all jammed into the remaining space. Texas, then, becomes the centre of a largely American world, with its friends close by and its enemies insignificant and distant.

BritainBritainAfricaAfricaMost nations are unmarked and unlabeled. Those which are labelled often come with short, xenophobic remarks. "We pretty much got it all down here..." adorns Texas, but there is little to gain beyond its borders. Sure, there are "Mormons (good)" and "LOTS of Mexicans (generally good, Especially when they vote Republican)" to the west, but in northern California, "Are these people actually AMERICANS? Geez." Most of the US is rated "good", while abroad most nations are "bad" or "suspicious."

Chad ValleyChad ValleyBankBankWeather GlobeWeather GlobeCanadians are, "Kinda like Australians, but snootier, plus a whole whack of 'em speak FRENCH. I kid you not..." Australians "speak English, sorta" and Japan is labeled, "Good cars. Sneaky though." South America is summed up with, "Lotsa drug smugglers, left-wing terrorists & guys with mustaches. Very suspicious." South Africa is "Home of Nelson Mandela." Also, "Very suspicious." Several fighter jets, helicopters, and missles fill up any blank spaces over the oceans, especially where they surround Cuba.

Personally, I see this as satire and think it's funny as hell. The maker has put some real thought into the geography and the notes to make his point. The colouring is carefully done and the labeling is clear and consistant. I've asked the shop's owner to keep me in mind if she remodels.

You may not care for the Texan Globe. If so, I challenge you to produce your own. What the maker did was take an old Cram's or Replogle globe, spray paint it white, and then begin drawing. (As noted above, a little talent may help too.) It's still pretty easy to find cheap, outdated globes produced between World War Two and the breakup of the Soviet Union. I haven't tried it (yet), but I think it would be best to start by removing the stand. Hang the globe from a string and spin some tension into the string. Then you can spray the globe as it spins out the tension in the line. (Try lots of light coats to avoid drips and/or a grey primer.) Let dry, compose geography, post results. (Try not to be too nasty and no death treats, svp.)3

1 About a dozen globes gathered by a local interior designer:

-Sm. metal T[errestrial] globe (5"?) on tin stand, by the CHAD VALLEY CO., HARBORNE, ENGL.
-Similar T globe, manufactured under the name, THORNE'S, LEEDS, ENGL., dated 1955 under the stand.
-c. 2" metal T globe on a red plastic, pencil-sharpener base
-c. 32" teacher's blackboard globe: The prof who taught the second half of my Earth & Atmospheric Sciences course had one of these, although I don't recall him using it. (He may have. I did a lot of his portion from the textbook.) I think the idea is that you can draw jet streams and pressure systems on it.
-12" Inter-war T globe with Italian Somalia.
-c. 5" globe on a deskset base. Hand assembled from printed gores on stiff paper.
-3 or 4 other non-descript Replogle and Cram's T models, incl. one fairly modern (post - 1989) light-up.

2 My title. 12" manuscript globe - black and coloured [highlighter?] felt marker on white paint over over a Replogle / Cram's globe. See scratches near Florida and Indonesia. The blue colour is the underlaying ocean. I'm told the maker is from BC, Canada. I think the most modern reference on the globe is to Sicily, as "Home of the Sopranos." (See Africa) There is little or no mention of Iraq or Afghanistan (see Hawaii), nor 911, so I'm guessing late 2000 to late 2001, at least for the composition.

3 I was looking for info on the chalkboard globe and found this link for making your own Idea GlobeTM or Polar Chalk Board. An "open source globe technology!"

Rewritten from an entry of 10/20/2007.

Strip Maps and the CAA / Triple-A

Westworld, the Alberta Motor Association's members' magazine, kindly took a short article of mine linking Ogilby's strip maps with those little route maps you can get as a CAA / AAA member. They've put it online:  (Note: The map in the article is by Thomas Gardener, not by Ogilby. It follows many of his conventions.)

As usual, things cropped up which were cut. I discovered that strange family of measurements: furlongs, firkin, fortnights, and fathoms.1 There was also the obsolete origin of the word 'turnpike': "A n. I1 Hist. A spiked barrier fixed in or across a road or passage, as a defence against sudden attack. LME."2 I got the impression that this was also done to block optional routes, keeping traffic on the main roads.

1See also the Wiki pages about the FFF system and other unusual units.                                                     

2NSOED. Vol. 2. Lesley Brown, ed. (Oxford:Clarendon P., 1993) p. 3428, col. III - 3429, col. I.

My New Camera

I finally got a new camera, the Canon PowerShot Elph AD 750. It's my first digital camera and, so far, I'm really happy with it - video modes and an ISO 1600 setting.

I bought it for the digital macro mode though -- it takes deadly-crisp close-ups. This is important so that I can shoot really big stuff that won't fit my scanner, as well as catch the little details on maps in books. And the librarians tell me I can use it in the rare book room!

Cartographic Comedy

I've just discovered a site devoted to one of my favorite childhood TV shows, The Hilarious House of Frightenstein. The show starred Billy Van in a variety of roles: The Count, Grizelda, Bwana Clyde Batty, etc. This is a real gem for those Canadians who are old enough to remember when Saturday morning programmes weren't simply a merchandising vehicle. Billy Van also worked on a comedy record of Canadian history, Canada Observed, from which I've pulled the following track. Enjoy! Mapmaker, Mapmaker, Make Me a Map!1

1Canada Observed by Chris Beard. Featuring Billy Van, Al Hamel, Vanda King, Bonnie Brooks, and June Sampson
Capitol Records 6221 Stereo ©1967

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