WMS Presentations


December 12, 2013 WMS Meeting-John Fondersmith

On Thursday, December 12, at 7:00 p.m., John Fondersmith will speak on "Searching for Ushapia". The presentation will focus on images and objects that depict the continental shape of the United States of America. These items illustrate the many ways in which the U.S.A.'s distinctive outline has been used as a logo for "Americaness" in a wide variety of contexts and forms. John Fondersmith worked for the Washington D.C. planning office for 35 years where his work focused on the revitalization of Downtown. He is a charter member and former President of the Washington Map Society.

His talk draws on the exhibit, "Iconic America: The United States Map as a National Symbol", that was on display at the Osher Map Library, University of Southern Maine, in Portland, Maine, from September 11, 2012 to February 28, 2013. John Fondersmith was guest curator for the exhibit and many of the objects and graphics in the exhibit were from his collection.

 Information on the exhibit is available on line and in printed format as indicated below. Members may want to review this information before the meeting, and it can be useful for members who cannot attend the December 12 meeting.

Osher Map Library Website

To see information and images of the exhibit, go to www.oshermaps.org/ and when the Osher Map Library website comes up, click on "Exhibitions" and then click on "Previous Exhibitions". Search for "Iconic America: The United States Map as a National Symbol" and click on that (or HERE). There are 14 "pages" of views and information that provide a good understanding of the exhibit.  At the bottom of the first page, there is a link to the "original exhibition checklist" which provides some additional descriptions and images (or just click HERE).

Television Interview About the Exhibit

The Community Television Network station in Portland, Maine did an interview with John Fondersmith about the exhibit when it opened (they do this for all the exhibits at the Osher Map Library). To see this interview, search for ctn5.org/ and when the website comes up, click on "Membership". Then click on "Members" (upper left corner of the page) and then scroll down to "University of Southern Maine" (near the end of the list of members) and click on that. Then scroll down to "USM Osher Map Library Exhibit of United States map icons.mov" and click on the arrow on the photo image of John's face. The interview is about five minutes long. Note that there are also a number of other interviews about various Osher Map Library exhibits available.

Article in The Portolan

There is an article by John Fondersmith about the exhibit in the Winter 2012 issue of The Portolan (Issue 85), pages 75-77. The article, "The United States Map as a National Symbol", includes 11 photographs of objects in the exhibit.

Please note this very interesting exhibit of work by fellow WMS member Michael Reagan.  See also Washington Post Revies.


The Watercolor Maps of Michael Francis Reagan

Opening reception with the artist – Friday, October 4, 2013
6:00 pm – 8:30 pm
The exhibition extends through the month

The Alex Gallery
2106 R Street, NW
Washington, DC

Washington Post gallery critic, Mark Jenkins, has named "The Heart of the World - the watercolor maps of Michael Francis Reagan",as one of the top ten fall exhibits in Washington DC! Mr. Jenkins says, "Michael Francis Reagan’s “Heart of the World” show of hand-painted maps on political, cultural and historical themes includes originals published by the New Yorker, National Geographic, the New York Times and Time-Life Books. Reagan is one of the few contemporary mapmakers who hasn't computerized his output, and his delicate watercolor-and-ink pieces are as evocative as they are informative." (Sept 6, 2013) http://alexgalleries.com/MichaelReagan.php



Ralph Ehrenberg, Past President of the Washington Map Society and current head of the Geograpy & Map Division of the Library of Congress wrote an article about aviation cartography for the famous Newberry Library, click HERE.  Full link is here:


Click HERE for interesting article about Waldseemuller and the "Conference on “Re-Drawing Ptolemy: The Cartography Of Martin Waldseemüller and Mathias Ringmann,” held on May 17-18 featuring many of our WMS members as presenters.

We don't do commercials on our site pages, but the line blurs when a member's work is both interesting and for sale.  So your humble webmaster made the decision to report the following as interesting, and I also made the decision that it is probably interesting enough so other members might like to buy it and would be frustrated if we didn't mention the avenue:

WMS member Kieran McAuliffe has re-issued his map of the John Wilkes Booth Escape Route. The original version was reviewed in the Portolan by member Earl McElfresh when it was issued ten years ago. It received excellent reviews from Lincoln and Lincoln Assassination scholars. Since then it has sold more than 10,000 copies. The new version is available on Amazon  (ED:  Use keywords Wilkes Booth escape route,I think) and also available at historic sites such as Ford’s Theatre. The map has been thoroughly reworked and updated with new information learned over the past ten years. This is the first in a series called History Maps which present historical events on a map. The next one in the series, on Washington DC, will be available soon.

Our own past WMS president Ed Redmond was the co-author of an article about Civil War Mapping that appears ONLINE in the Library of Congress Magazine, or see it on page 12 and 13 HERE .

Ed is also pictured HERE showing off the G&M collections (map powder horns, etc) to visiting Congressmen in the April-May 2013 issue, page 18

The original documents are at www.loc.gov/lcm.