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Kathleen Weessies Friday, September 20, 2019 - 4:45pm Categories: Uncategorized
"There will be a day sometime in the near future when this guide will not have to be published." -- Victor Green, in the preface to the 1941 edition

From 1936 to 1966 Victor Green, and later his widow Alma Green, edited the Negro Motorist Green Book, which listed businesses that would serve black travelers without harassment or prejudice.  Race or ethnicity of the business owner was not a criteria for inclusion in the listings.  We examined 9 editions of the Green Book, and created a map of the 86 Detroit businesses listed.  Enjoy these interactive maps to learn more about them.  Running...

Continue reading "The Negro Motorist Green Book"...
Amanda Tickner Friday, August 9, 2019 - 10:50am Categories: Events

Please join us for our Fall 2019 workshops!

If you have questions about these workshops please email atickner@msu.edu

Co-learning Workshops

Friday August 23th | 3:00–5:00pm: Getting Started with Spatial Analysis
Friday September 27th | 3:00–5:00pm: ArcPro Basics
Friday October 25th | 3:00–5:00pm: Performing Spatial Interpolation Using ArcGIS

DSL Classroom Space, 2 West

This is a series of open facilitated learning opportunities using ESRI ArcGIS online tutorials. We will work through different ESRI tutorials together in a group, at our...

Continue reading "Fall 2019 Workshops"...
Kathleen Weessies Monday, March 18, 2019 - 8:40am Categories: Collections
Penciled in proposed route for Van Ness Street in San Francisco

This custom-bound book was owned and used by longtime San Francisco real estate agent Harry Cecil Jenkins.  It marks out every real estate parcel in the Mission District and nearby Horner’s Addition, a combined area that runs south of famous Market Street about a mile southwest of downtown.  The Mission District has a long interesting history and is still home to a close-knit Latinx community.  Today the area is facing transition and gentrification as high-tech companies move into the area.  

Harry’s meticulous marks in the book, made between 1909 and about 1930, describe street and...

Continue reading "Twenty Years in San Francisco's Mission District"...
Amanda Tickner Friday, January 4, 2019 - 1:01pm Categories: Events

MSU Libraries is offering several workshops in spring on GIS and map related topics. All workshops are free and open to the public. The workshops will be held in the Main Library.

If you have questions, please contact Amanda Tickner, atickner@msu.edu

Registration information can be found here.

... Continue reading "Spring 2019 MSU Library GIS Workshops"...
Kathleen Weessies Friday, December 28, 2018 - 8:23am Categories: Collections

The United States was eager to learn more about rumors of a potential vast wealth in iron to be had in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.  Copper mining was well underway and iron mining was just beginning when the Department of the Interior charged John Foster and Josiah Whitney to take a crew up there and complete a hasty geological survey of the 100,000 square mile area.

This image on the left is a small detail from a map which accompanied the 1851 report of the Iron District and it sketches out suggestions of the most prominent iron outcrops.  The vast reserves deep underground...

Continue reading "“…an inexhaustible supply of iron ore of the best quality.”"...
Kathleen Weessies Monday, October 29, 2018 - 8:22am Categories: Collections
de Vaugondi, Etat Unis, 1785

This French-made map from 1785 was the first to bear forms of the word “Michigan” applied to a land area.  It was also one of the first to recognize the fledgling country by its chosen name, United States, here in the French, Etats-Unis.

Of the suggested names for 10 new states to be made of the Northwest Territory, only two came close to being adopted:  Michigania and Illinoia.*  

Additionally, a lake off the Mississippi River near today’s Memphis is called “Lac des Meichigamia.”  Nearby a line marks the supposed path of Ferdinand de Soto’s party more than 240 years...

Continue reading "We Were Almost Michigania"...
Kathleen Weessies Monday, October 22, 2018 - 8:59am Categories: Collections
Carte Nouvelle de l'Amerique Angloise Contenant

This map depicts Michigan oddly with no thumb and with a range of mountains extending down to Florida.  It carefully marks waterway portages that link the Great Lakes with the Mississippi river system and points out several mines including one of copper at present day Chicago. Everything west of the Mississippi is a complete blank.

The map is based an interesting amalgam of source material.  Dutch mapmaker Corneille Mortier closely modeled it on English bookseller Robert Morden’s 1695 map of the American colonies.  The English colonies, therefore have good detail, and it includes an...

Continue reading "Michigan With No Thumb"...
Kathleen Weessies Tuesday, October 9, 2018 - 2:06pm Categories: Collections
Mortier map 1700

From 1622 to the middle 1700s European mapmakers were drawing California as an island separate from North America.  In 1701 Jesuit missionary Father Eusebio Francisco Kino walked around Baja California and proved that California was not an island.  It took some time, however, for this knowledge to seep into the cartographic record.

On our exhibited 1700 map of the World, the Great Lakes appear in an early ambiguous form.  Other maps from this time had more accurate shapes for the lakes and documented their proximity (and lack of connection) to the Mississippi River system.  ...

Continue reading "California as an Island"...
Kathleen Weessies Monday, October 1, 2018 - 12:09pm Categories: Collections

Michigan was swarming with settlers in the 1850s.  As the rural population rose, counties were organized, split, and reshaped at a fast pace.  Settlers were eager to buy maps that reflected the newest information and relied on mapmakers to pay attention to such developments.  

This map contains numerous errors in county boundaries.  The Tuscola, Huron, and Lapeer County boundaries date from 1845.  Charlevoix County is shown, but had been eliminated 4 years prior in 1853 (it would be resurrected in 1869).  Leelanau and Manitou Counties had been created, but don’t appear (for some...

Continue reading "An Error-ridden Map of Michigan"...
Kathleen Weessies Monday, September 24, 2018 - 9:05am Categories:
Alligator in Canada by Coronelli, 1695

This map depicts a very accurate rendering of the Great Lakes for its time.  Illustrations sprinkled throughout the map show Native Americans engaged in various activities including drying fish and being eaten by an alligator.  Explorer reports from the Gulf of Mexico must have been consulted and mixed in with more northerly reports as we see depictions of palm trees and alligators dotted throughout the Great Lakes and into Canada.

The region, and the map, is called ‘La Louisiana’ to strengthen the claims of King Louis the 14th of France.

Vincenzo Coronelli was an Italian...

Continue reading "Here There be 'Gators!"...

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