Latitudes April 2019

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Map Society


April 2019






Thursday, April 11, 2019 – 5:00 PM – Madison Building, Geography and Map Reading Room, Library of Congress: What's My Map Worth?, by Eliane Dotson, WMS President and owner of Old World Auctions


This being the Washington Map Society, most of us have maps, whether in drawers, albums, frames, tubes, attics, or elsewhere. We are somewhat familiar with map prices – after all, we’ve paid them often enough – but how they are determined remains a bit of a mystery. WMS President Eliane Dotson shares secrets of the trade on how to value antique maps. Learn the difference between various types of values, such as insurance appraisals, dealer prices, and auction estimates. Discover which key factors most affect the value of a map, including color, state/edition, published format, condition, and more. Although valuing a map is part art and part science, this lecture will guide both new and experienced collectors to a better understanding of how maps are valued and why some maps are worth more than others.
Ms. Dotson is the owner of Old World Auctions, an auction house specializing in antique maps. In this capacity, she researches, catalogs, and values 2000 maps each year; she also writes a monthly newsletter on various topics related to antique maps. Eliane is the President of the Washington Map Society and a member of the steering committee of the Fry-Jefferson Map Society at the Library of Virginia. She has an undergraduate degree in German Literature from Pomona College and an MBA from the Darden Graduate School of Business at the University of Virginia.


Eliane Dotson (Old World Auctions, Glen Allen, VA) participates in a 2015 dealers’ forum at WMS with Bill Stanley (Cartographic Associates, Fulton, MD) and Harry Newman (Old Print Shop, NYC), moderated by Dennis Gurtz (former WMS President)


Note: This April meeting was originally going to be a talk by Dr. Ronald Grim, formerly of the Boston Public Library and Library of Congress, titled In the Footsteps of the Crime. Due to a family emergency, this talk will be postponed until September 2019.




17 May 2019
Westward the Course of Empire: Exploring and Settling the American West 1803-1869
Speaker: J. C. McElveen (Past President, WMS), Exhibit Curator for an exhibition of maps and books from his personal collection at New York City's Grolier Club during May 2018.
Venue: Maggiano's at Tysons
For full details & to pay by check, click here, print the form and submit it with your payment. 
To pay by credit card, go to:





Meeting details for future WMS meetings can be found on the WMS website at:

Also, did you know that you can view the presentations from past WMS meetings on the member's-only section of the WMS website? There are nearly 20 presentations available to view! Go to




Library of Virginia (LVA), Richmond VA, 800 E. Broad Street, Richmond. 27 April 2019. Alan and Natalie Voorhees Lectures. Pictorial Maps: The Art, History, and Culture of this Popular Map Genre.


Speakers: (1) Dr. Stephen J. Hornsby on “Picturing America: The Golden Age of Pictorial Maps,” and (2) Eliane Dotson (Old World Auctions and President, WMS) on “Putting the ‘Art’ Back in Cartography.” There will be an exhibit of pictorial maps (10 AM – 4 PM); map appraisals by Old World Auctions (10 AM to Noon); Tours of the LVA conservation lab led by conservator Leslie Courtois (10:15 & 11:15 AM); Exploring maps in Digitool workshop (11 AM – Noon – pre-registration required); Lunch break (Noon - box lunches available through pre-registration); and the lectures themselves (1 – 3 PM). Hosted by the Fry-Jefferson Map Society and Semper Virginia Society of the LVA; free to members. Non-members $10. More information and registration at or contact Dawn Greggs at 804.692.3813 or at





American Philosophical Society (APS), 104 S. 5th Street Philadelphia, PA 19106. Mapping a Nation: Shaping the Early American Republic. April 12 – December 29, 2019.


This exhibit traces the creation and use of maps in the colonies and young republic from the mid-18th century through 1816. It investigates the way maps, as both artworks and practical tools, had political and social meaning. It features historical maps, surveying instruments, books, manuscripts, and other objects to show how maps were used to create and extend the physical, political, and ideological boundaries of the new nation while creating and reinforcing structural inequalities in the Early Republic. The exhibition emphasizes the processes that produced maps—surveying, drawing, engraving, and printing—in addition to the information and ideas contained in the maps.  It also sheds light on the ways that mapmakers functioned as political actors—and how different people used maps as political and ideological tools—to express multiple, sometimes competing visions of what the new United States would be.
The exhibit draws on the APS’s extensive Library and Museum holdings. Highlights of the exhibition include a 1757 copy of the John Mitchell map of the British Empire in North America, manuscript maps from the American Revolution, surveying instruments, the first map of Tennessee as a state, George Washington’s copy of the 1792 map of Washington, D.C., and maps from the journals of the Lewis and Clark Expedition along with the copper plates used to publish them.
The APS will sponsor a symposium on “The Power of Maps and the Politics of Borders” on October 10-12, 2019. Details, including those for persons wishing to present papers, can be found at



The Chicago Antiquarian Map, Book & Ephemera Fair, Newberry Library, 3-5 May 2019. 
It will consist of over 30 antique map, book, ephemera and book dealers from all across North America and parts of Europe. Thousands of maps, prints, and books spanning over 500 years of art and history will be on display and available for purchase over this three-day event. Details at



Rocky Mountain Map Society, Denver, Colorado: Map Month (May 2019). 
If you are planning to be in Denver during the month of May, know that May is designated by the RMMS each year as Map Month, with presentations weekly on diverse topics. The following talks will occur weekly at 5:30 PM at the Denver Public Library Conference Center. This year's topic is Visualizing Colorado: Maps and views of the Centennial State. Free and open to the public.
    May 7:  Christopher W. Lane: Images of Colorado: A century of printed views, 1822-1922
    May 14: Wesley Brown: The Cartographic Roots of Colorado: 1540 to 1861
    May 21: Tom Overton: Mapping of Colorado: 1861 to WWI
    May 28: Christopher W. Lane. The first comprehensive survey of Colorado: F.V. Hayden 1869 to 1876


S.T. Lee Gallery, Weston Library, Oxford University, UK.  Talking Maps.


The Bodleian Libraries’ summer 2019 exhibition is a celebration of maps and the stories they tell. Drawing on the Bodleian’s unparalleled map collection, Talking Maps brings together an extraordinary collection of ancient, pre-modern and contemporary maps in a range of media as well as showcasing fascinating imaginary, fictional and war maps.


The exhibition will explore how maps are neither transparent objects of scientific communication, nor baleful tools of ideology, but rather proposals about the world that help people to understand who they are by describing where they are. July 2019 - February 2020.


More Opportunities:
Many more events are listed on the web site known simply as Cartography Calendars, operated for many years by WMS member John Docktor. Go to (note relatively new address) and select the page you wish to see, i.e., Calendar of Meetings and/or Calendar of Exhibitions.




Here’s an item that was recently very popular on our Facebook page: a 150-foot carpet (approximately) in the Sacramento, California, airport. Designed by Seyed Alavi, it depicts a fifty mile aerial view of the course of the Sacramento River and valley.


There has been some discussion of having a field trip to Sacramento just to walk on the carpet and then fly home without leaving the airport. This will not happen.


Not a member of WMS, or know someone who’d like to be? Share this copy of Latitudes with them, and steer them to


Cartographic Quotations:

Alfred H. S. Korzybski (1879–1950) was a Polish-American scholar who argued that human knowledge of the world is limited both by the human nervous system and by the languages humans have developed. Therefore, no human has direct access to reality, since what we can observe has been filtered through the brain's perceptions of reality and reactions to it.
His best-known dictum is The map is not the territory. This is often uttered dismissively by persons not wishing to grapple with the complexities of the “map,” whether a cartographic one or otherwise.
It is not, however, what Korzybski actually said, and the full quote reverses the dismissiveness of the shortened version:

Two important characteristics of maps should be noticed. A map is not the territory it represents, but, if correct, it has a similar structure to the territory, which accounts for its usefulness.



(Note: For better or worse – probably the latter – most written content in Latitudes is the work and wording of editor Bert Johnson, Vice President and Program Chair of WMS. Bert can be reached at Lay-out, much of the graphics, and transmission is done by Eliane Dotson, President of WMS.) 


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