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Tuesday, October 1, 2013 - 7:33pm Categories: Uncategorized
Carte du Canada. By Claude LeBeau. Taken from his book, Avantures du Sr. C. Le Beau which was published in Amsterdam in 1738.

This map is clearly copied directly from a larger map made in 1698 by Father Louis Hennepin. Le Beau could have chosen any number of newer and more accurate maps to illustrate his story, but he or his publisher chose this 40-year old map.

LeBeau was a bored clerk working in an office in New France. He was no mapmaker and no explorer, but rather an exile banished from France for being a “libertine.” LeBeau escaped his fate and hitched a ride back to...

Continue reading "LeBeau copy of Hennepin, 1738"...
Monday, August 26, 2013 - 8:31pm Categories: Uncategorized
Map of the States of Ohio, Indiana & Illinois and Part of Michigan Territory: Compiled from the Latest Authorities. Drawn by D.H. Vance, engraved by J. H. Young. Published in Philadelphia by A. Finley in 1825.

This map wonderfully illustrates a point in time when the states made from the Northwest Territory were only partly formed and partially surveyed and subdivided. One can see how the most detailed survey work commenced along the Ohio, Mississippi and Detroit Rivers and spread up and out to the hinterlands.

Here we see Michigan beginning to take a more modern shape. As the...

Continue reading "1825 Map of the American West"...
Monday, July 22, 2013 - 11:07am Categories: Uncategorized
Geological Map of Michigan. By Alexander Winchell, Published in Philadelphia by Samuel Geil in 1865.

In 1865, Michigan’s mineral resources were just beginning to make a mark on the world. The western movement of people and wartime reliance on northern transportation routes drew attention to Michigan’s newly convenient resources including iron ore, copper, and salt.

The map at first glance is typical of its day, highlighting land divisions and railroad routes. But drawn over it in light lines are the boundaries of major geologic features of Michigan, which had recently been...

Continue reading "On Display This Week: Early Geology Map of Michigan"...
Monday, July 8, 2013 - 1:42pm Categories: Uncategorized
The Farm People of Michigan According to Ethnic Stocks. Made by John Frederick Thaden. Published in East Lansing by the Michigan State College Agricultural Experiment Station in 1945.

John Thaden, Associate Professor of Sociology and Anthropology at Michigan State College, mapped the many ethnic settlements among the farming population in Michigan. The map marks out twenty-one different European ethnicities plus Canadian, Indian [Native American], Mexican, and Negro. The 3 counties comprising the southwestern tip of Michigan alone were home to a large number of small ethnic clusters...

Continue reading "On Display This Week: Ethnic Clusters in Michigan, 1945"...
Monday, June 17, 2013 - 3:16pm Categories: Uncategorized
Carte de la Californie. Published in Robert de Vaugondy’s Supplement 5 to Denis Diderot’s Dictionnaire rasonné des sciences. Published in Paris in 1772.

This map shows us that our fascination with depictions of California as an island is nothing new. This 1772 map compares five maps of California that had been drawn between 1604 through 1767. During this time span California went from being a peninsula to an island, and back to a peninsula again.

The Spanish were the primary European explorers in the area. Traveling up the west coast of America from the south, the Baja...

Continue reading "Five early maps of California, 1604-1767"...
Monday, June 3, 2013 - 3:40pm Categories: Uncategorized
Territory of Dakota. Made by Charles Roeser. Published in Washington, DC by the United States General Land Office in 1882.

This map depicts the status of land division and disposition of Datoka Territory, under the United States General Land Office. At this time Dakota Territory comprised modern day North Dakota and South Dakota.

In the prior decade gold had been discovered inside the Great Sioux Reservation, which had led to the war between the United States and the Native Americans living in the region. This map shows the Great Sioux Reservation with its revised boundary...

Continue reading "On Display This Week: Dakota Territory, 1882"...
Monday, May 20, 2013 - 4:00pm Categories: Uncategorized
Genehoa, Jaloffi, et Sierraliones Regna. By Johannes Janssonius. Likely published in Atlas Contractus by Janssonius Heirs in Amsterdam in 1666.

This map is an early one to show the west coast of Africa in such detail. The Atlantic Slave Trade had been increasing for the past 150 years and was going to continue to increase for another 200. Portuguese influence can be seen by “Rio Portugues” dividing Mauritania (Genehoa) from Senegal. Goree Island, an early site of European activity, is noted. The cartouche shows light skinned people displaying products of bounty including fruit and...

Continue reading "On Display This Week: Senegal-Gambia, circa 1666"...
Monday, May 13, 2013 - 8:04pm Categories: Uncategorized
Panama Canal, Present Future, Topographic, Diagramatic and Illustrative: As Canal Will Look When Completed. By Edwin J. Beverstock and George Davidson. Published in Washington, D.C. by mapmaker Edwin J. Beverstock in 1903.

The Panama Canal is a good example of a project that seems like it will be much easier than it is. Anyone looking at a map of Central America can’t help but notice how skinny that isthmus is, and how nicely it would cut down travel if only we could cut a canal through there.

For 12 years the World watched as the French fiddled around trying to build a canal....

Continue reading "On Display This Week: The Panama Canal"...
Monday, May 6, 2013 - 2:31pm Categories: Uncategorized
The First Photograph Ever Made Showing the Division between the Troposphere and the Stratosphere and Also the Actual Curvature of the Earth. By A. W. Stevens and Orvil A. Anderson. Published in the May 1936 issue of National Geographic Magazine in Washington, D.C. by National Geographic Society.

-and-

One Hundred Proofs That the Earth Is Not a Globe. By William Carpenter and originally published in Baltimore in 1885. Republished in Zion, Illinois by Wilbur Glenn Voliva in 1929.

Certainly by 1936 practically everyone understood that the Earth is a sphere (or, more...

Continue reading "On Display This Week: The Curvature of the Earth"...
Monday, April 29, 2013 - 1:55pm Categories: Uncategorized
Africa. Map 49 in A General Atlas Of The World, With A Separate Map Of Each Of The United States Of America. By S.G. Goodrich and T.G. Bradford. Published in Boston by C.D. Strong in 1841.

This map shows the extent of European knowledge of African geography in 1841. Names of regions and places are almost entirely along the coasts, leaving the interior blank. One exception is some fairly good understanding of the oases and settlements across the Sahara. This map lacks busy details to fill unknown areas. Map-makers were by now content to leave areas of insufficient or conflicting reports...

Continue reading "On Display This Week: Africa Mid-Century"...

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