Recently on MapHist 11.2

New issues of two map-related journals are out.

The Portolan, first published in 1984 by the Washington Map Society,  keeps members abreast of upcoming events and new books. Despite their modest mandate “to provide information of specific interest to our membership,” the journal publishes original research on maps from around the world. In the Fall 2011 issue: maps in children’s books, sea monsters, George Washington, Elizabeth Taylor, Texas, and the Museo Nacional de la Cartografía, México. Far ranging interests indeed.

e-Perimetron is a peer-reviewed quarterly whose aim is “to couple issues on history of cartography and maps with a variety of possibilities offered by the new digital information and communication technologies.” Many of the articles deal with G.I.S. and map warping... I think.

The Norman B. Leventhal Map Center has a new home at the Boston Public Library’s McKim Building. The new space hosts the second largest map collection in any U.S. public library (200,000+ maps, 5,000+ atlases, and a portion of Leventhal’s private collection), a 1775 Boston map reproduced in stained glass,  and a three-foot diameter globe.


A discussion of the odometers used by two U.S. Founding Fathers led to a couple of websites about their scientific instruments. has pages on several of Jefferson’s instruments, including an odometer, while Ben Franklin’s are best found by scrolling to the bottom of ‘Object Types’ on the Search page of

A post by Michael Zeiler is a good excuse to mention his year-old site dedicated to current and historical maps of solar eclipses. also examines the transits of Venus.

Michael Buehler of Boston Rare Maps was the guest curator of the Harvard Map Collection’s, “Toward a National Cartography: American Mapmaking, 1782-1800.” His new online gallery of 22 maps, atlases, and books recreates that exhibit and demonstrates the post-Colonial emergence of a uniquely American cartography, “different in goals, subject matter, methods and aesthetics from [...] British [colonial] maps.”

Added bonus! I also see an online exhibition by the Harvard Map Collection that may not have made the list. Going for Baroque: The Iconography of the Ornamental Map examines how the “richly nuanced symbols, analogies, and coded commentaries” within“decorative cartographic devices - cartouches, vignettes, figural borders, title pages, and frontispieces - could provide narrative underpinnings for the geospatial content of maps.”

New Books:

Prints and the Pursuit of Knowledge in Early Modern Europe Susan Dackerman, ed. Based on the current Harvard exhibition featuring “a rich display of prints, books, maps, and scientific instruments exploring the role of celebrated artists in the scientific inquiries of the 16th century,” this collection of essays and reproductions appears to be more than ‘just’ a catalogue.

The American Librarian’s Association has released an interesting title: Guide to Security Considerations and Practices for Rare Book, Manuscript, and Special Collection Libraries. While the intended audience is probably quite narrow, I expect this would hold some interest for map dealers as well as some collectors. Supplemented with several appendices, including biographies of recent thieves and a survey of the thousands of books stolen by Stephen Blumberg, “the key focus of this volume is on the prevention of theft of rare materials.”

Maphead: Charting the Wide, Weird World of Geography Wonks, by Ken Jennings to mixed reviews.

Great Railway Maps of the World by Mark Ovenden (Particular Books)