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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!"...
Kathleen Weessies Monday, September 17, 2018 - 8:36am Categories: Collections

In 1860, one-quarter of the foreign-born population in Michigan was from Germany.  These two maps of Michigan appeared in two popular German-made atlases, made when many western Europeans were immigrating to the United States.  

‘Nordlicher Theil’ shows us the entire journey immigrants could take from New York, up the Hudson River, along the newly-built Erie Canal and through the Great Lakes to Michigan.

Thirty years later, the atlas containing Neueste Karte was referred to as “Rolls Royce” of nineteenth century atlases.  However we can see that the geography of Michigan is...

Continue reading "German Michigan"...
Kathleen Weessies Monday, September 10, 2018 - 8:55am Categories: Collections
The Birth of a Myth Note: The following maps will be on display in the MSU Map Library the week of September 10, 2018. They were both generous gifts of Ron Dietz.

The French were enjoying the pinnacle of their influence in the Great Lakes when this map was published. It illustrated Charlevoix’ history and travel journal which saw wide distribution and many printings. Mapmaker Nicholas Bellin’s work was highly regarded and so this map helped shape many people’s perceptions of the region. In many ways it was a great improvement in Great Lakes mapping.

Michiganders, however, can’t fail...

Continue reading "On Display This Week: The Birth of a Myth"...
Kathleen Weessies Friday, August 31, 2018 - 3:57pm Categories: Collections

Joan Blaeu, like his father before him, was the official cartographer to the Dutch East India Company. This affiliation brought his mapmaking firm advantageous intelligence on the far eastern lands due to the Dutch monopoly on the spice trade.

Atlas Maior was the culmination of more than 60 years of work. The House of Blaeu published several atlases since the founding of the firm in 1596, including Het Licht der Zeevaert, Theatre du Monde ou Nouvel Atlas, and Theatrum Orbis Terrarum.

When this atlas was released in 1665 in multiple volumes, it was the most expensive published...

Continue reading "“The most magnificent work of its kind ever produced” --Sotheby’s"...
Kathleen Weessies Thursday, June 28, 2018 - 3:07pm Categories: Events

Bob and his crew are actively moving the MSU map collection to the 2nd floor of the East Wing.  We anticipate the move completing in mid-August in time for Fall 2018 semester.  We plan to stay open during the move, just let us know what you want to find and we will track it down!

Amanda Tickner Tuesday, May 8, 2018 - 2:49pm Categories: Events

This summer we are having a week long series of 3D themed workshops! All workshops will be held in the Digital Scholarship Lab between 3:00-5:00.

Monday June 11
Intro to 3D Modeling and Printing with OnShape

Curious about how 3D printing can meet your needs? Join us to explore the history of 3D printing, the basics of hardware and software, and local resources available for design and production. In this hands-on session, participants will learn the basics of 3D modeling to design a product, for possible print at MakeCentral: Makerspace.  Participants will need a working...

Continue reading "Summer in 3D: a weeklong series of 3D data workshops"...

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