Dr. Blake and the Folger

Following is an article to appear in a future Portolan describing our visit to the Folger library hosted by WMS member Dr. Erin Blake.  We include on the site various photographs of the event (click on For WMS Members Only, Photo Galleries.  Only viewable to members who have joined the site) and following the article below we provide a copy of Dr. Blake's viewing guide -- complete with links to each item at the Folger (where available).


WMS member Dr. Erin Blake, Curator of Art and Special Collections of the Shakespeare Folger Library, hosted 50 or so members of the Washington Map Society at the Folger on January 16, 2014.  Hal Hardaway described the Folger in a previous visit (Portolan, issue 77), so I will try to report some extracts from her presentation – easy to do as she provided a written guide to the twelve items presented, highly magnified images on a screen on which she pointed out interesting aspects of each item (with various references to Stretford upon Auen), and later allowed us to view these magnificent works with the much needed help of magnifying glasses she provided.  Bert Johnson said to me later, “Her comments were illuminating, enthusiastic, and entertaining in their own right.”  I couldn’t have said it better, except to add my thanks to her for opening up the Folger after hours for a very  appreciative audience.

One of the books presented was Alingham, “A short account of the nature and use of maps,” 1703, in which readers who had never seen maps are instructed that a place is not where the name is, but at the dot next to it – a reminder that knowledge we take for granted was the very latest technology at the time.

We were shown a prospectus and bird’s eye London map by Hollar, “Propositions concerning the map of London…” 1660, in which the publisher pre-sells an edition of a London map that would be 5 feet high by 8 feet wide when assembled.  Mr. Hollar finished a wonderfully detailed bird’s eye view London’s West End (complete with marching solders, clothes drying in the sun, and the like), but the great fire of 1666 caused a remapping of large sections of the city – so the project was never completed.

Another Hollar, “The Kingdom of England….” 1644, was presented as a map folder, “Useful for all commanders for the quartering of soldiers.” 

Perhaps my favorite was Tilney, “The descriptions of regiments and policies as well as general, as particularly of Italy, France, Germany, Spain, England and Scotland, etc….” ca. 1597-ca. 1601.   This large, entirely handwritten diplomatic encyclopedia is a working copy for Queen Elizabeth with maps added from many sources - including some cut from engraved playing cards.  Dr. Blake pointed out that as this was a working copy, actual hand-written notations were made on these pages.  Here, 400 years later, we are bending over the book much the same way as the authors did.

While receipt of the highly coveted Washington Map Society coffee mug might have been sufficient recognition for Dr. Blake, she should know I heard many positive comments during and after the meeting.


Dr. Blake's Viewing Guide:

Selected Early Modern Maps

16 January 2014



Joan Blaeu (1596-1673). Anglia, quae est Europe, Liber XI. Amsterdam: 1662.

Call number: 267853 (flat)
Digital images of selected pages: http://luna.folger.edu/luna/servlet/s/59zo51


Robert Morden (d.1703). Nottingham Sh. from The 52 Counties of England and Wales, Geographically described in a pack of Cards. London: 1676.

Call number: ART 265507 (size XS)
Digital image: http://luna.folger.edu/luna/servlet/s/5b773q


Robert Morden (d.1703). Suffolk from The 52 Counties of England and Wales, Geographically described in a pack of Cards. London: 1676.

Call number: ART 265508 (size XS)

Digital image: http://luna.folger.edu/luna/servlet/s/b50104


Edmund Tilney (d. 1610). The descriptions regiments and policies as well general, as particularly of Italy, France, Germany, Spain, England and Scotland, etc. by the several particularities whereof the perfect estate of each one of them may generally be discovered. Manuscript, ca. 1597-ca. 1601.

Call Number: V.b.182

Cover-to-cover digital images: http://luna.folger.edu/luna/servlet/s/x8y043


Abraham Ortelius (1527-1598). The theatre of the vvhole world: set forth by that excellent geographer Abraham Ortelius. London: Printed by [the Officina Plantiniana and Eliot’s Court Press for] John Norton [and John Bill], 1606.

Call Number: STC 18855
Cover-to-cover digital images: http://luna.folger.edu/luna/servlet/s/6aoq0p


Samuel Purchas. Purchas his pilgrimage. London: Printed by William Stansby for Henrie Fetherstone, 1626.

Call Number: STC 20508 Copy 1


Gerhard Mercator (1512-1594). Historia Mundi: or Mercator’s atlas. London: printed by T. Cotes for Michael Sparke, 1635.

Call number: STC 17824.2

Digital images of selected pages: http://luna.folger.edu/luna/servlet/s/156o8t



William Alingham (fl. 1694-1710). A short account of the nature and use of maps. London: Printed by R. Janeway, for Benj. Barker, 1703.

Call Number: 190- 168q


Gerrit de Veer (b. 1570). Warhafftige Relation der dreyen newen unerhörten seltzamen Schiffart so die Holländischen und Seeländischen Schiff gegen Mitternacht drey Jar nach einander als Anno 1594, 1595, und 1596 verricht  [The Three Voyages of William Barents to the Arctic Regions]. Nuremburg: Printed by Christoff Lochner for Levinus Hulsius, 1598.

Call Number: G690 1594 .V4 G4 1598 cage


Wenceslaus Hollar (1607-1677). Propositions concerning the map of London and Westminster. London: 1660.

Call Number: X.d.454

Digital image: http://luna.folger.edu/luna/servlet/s/4663qz


Wenceslaus Hollar. Bird’s-eye plan of the west central district of London. London: ca. 1660.

Call Number: ART 264- 511 (size L)

Digital image: http://luna.folger.edu/luna/servlet/s/777kel


Wenceslaus Hollar (1607-1677). The kingdome of England & principality of Wales, exactly described. London: Sold by Thomas Jenner, 1644.

Call number: ART Vol. e270

Digital images of http://luna.folger.edu/luna/servlet/s/92pz7t