Latitudes December 2019

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Map Society


December 2019


This image of an Eskimo dog sled team from John Tallis' map of North America is fitting as we head into winter. Due to the unpredictability of winter weather, there will be no WMS member meetings December through February, but we hope to see many of you at the special field trip in January!




The Washington Map Society has been invited to a special visit of Mount Vernon that includes several exclusive activities geared towards WMS members.

10:00 AM: Library tour with a talk on Washington's globe and a visit inside the library vault to view cartographic artifacts (Cost: $10 per person)
11:15 AM: Guided tour of the Mansion (Cost: included with library tour)
12:30 PM: Buffet lunch at the Mount Vernon Inn Restaurant with fellow WMS members (Cost: $24 per person)

Please note that you are not required to attend all of the activities on the field trip, and you may simply join us for a portion of the itinerary if you prefer.


Advance registration and payment is required for this event, and space is limited to the first 40 people. Due to these space limitations, each WMS member may bring one non-WMS guest. For more details and to register, please contact Eliane Dotson at and indicate the name(s) of the attendee(s) and whether you will be attending all portions of the itinerary or only select activities. To pay by check, please make the check payable to Washington Map Society and mail to Peter Porrazzo, WMS Treasurer, 1924 Tysons Trace Dr, Vienna, VA 22182. If you would like to pay by PayPal or credit card, please indicate that in your registration email to Eliane and she will send you instructions. Please note that there is a $1 service fee for paying by PayPal or credit card.






Many thanks to Lars Grava for his excellent presentation on maps of the Baltic States. He discussed how maps have more than two dimensions, as they also illuminate political, societal, cultural, and economic features of the geographies they depict.  The Baltic States, located at the crossroads of geographic interests, were often caught between two different powers, religions, or other competing parties, and hence the importance of the region.  His collection, which now comprises over 400 maps, was begun by his father, Professor Sigurds Grava. Although his father passed away 10 years ago, Lars' study of Baltic maps helps him continue his special relationship and bond with his father. 
The video of the lecture, as well as Lars' slides are currently available on the WMS website on the "For WMS Members Only" page.  His presentation was not only engaging and interesting, but you will even learn about Livonian werewolves, fascinating sea creatures, and who won the war of the cartouches!




  • 26 March 2020 – Cassandra Farrell, Library of Virginia:  Vacationing in Virginia, 19th Century Style: Plan of Fauquier White Sulphur Springs with Proposed Building Lot
  • April 2020 – exact date and speaker TBD
  • 15 May 2020 – Washington Map Society 41st Annual Dinner, featuring guest speaker Dr. Larry Tise, co-author of Theodore de Bry—America: The Complete Plates from 1590-1602



Welcome to our newest WMS members:
Alistair Maeer
Thomas Paper
Mark Vendl
Jim Willison





Effective 1 January 2020, the Washington Map Society will increase its membership dues.  All renewals received by 31 December 2019 will lock in the current lower rates - renew for up to 3 years at the current rates and save up to $60!  Please visit to renew your membership via check, PayPal or credit card at the current rates.




You can consult the WMS website for all sorts of useful information, such as:
Meeting Schedule and Information:
Videos of past presentations for members:
Copies of all past issues of The Portolan, including High Resolution editions for the past 39 issues:





CLOSING SOON! George Washington University Museum, 702 21st Street, NW; Washington, DC; Best Laid Plans: Designs for a Capital City. Through 22 December 2019.


Every landmark in Washington, D.C., has a story. Some never made it past the drawing board. This exhibition examines unrealized designs for the Washington Monument, Memorial Bridge, and other structures around the city through historical prints and paintings from the museum’s Albert H. Small Washingtoniana Collection. More info at


CLOSING SOON! 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 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. Details at




Kroch Rare Book Library, Cornell University Library, 216 East Ave, Ithaca, NY 14850. Latitude: Persuasive Cartography from the PJ Mode Collection. Through 21 February 2020.



Long-time WMS member PJ Mode has donated his collection of Persuasive maps to Cornell University, his alma mater.  These “persuasive” maps are focused on shaping decisions and desired outcomes. They employ a variety of tools and strategies—unusual projections and coloring, selective inclusion, imaginative illustration, allegory, satire, and even intentional deception—to advance a particular cause or point of view. Spanning from the 18th century to the present, many of the maps on display illuminate historical perspectives on topics that still resonate today, such as immigration policy and political gerrymandering. Others seek to foster social change, promote products and places, or send warnings about imagined futures. From the past to the present, Latitude helps us understand how ideas and opinions are shaped by data visualization techniques. For more information:


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. Highlights on show include the Gough Map, the earliest surviving map showing Great Britain in a recognizable form, the Selden Map, a late Ming map of the South China Sea, and fictional maps by CS Lewis and JRR Tolkien. July 2019 - February 2020.


Norman B. Leventhal Map Center at the Boston Public Library, 700 Boylston St., Boston; America Transformed: Mapping the 19th Century - Part I (The U.S. Pushes Westward: Mapping America 1800-1862); May – December 2019. Part II (From Homesteads to Modern Cities, 1862-1900); November 2019 – May 2020.


During the 19th century, the U.S. expanded dramatically westward. Immigrant settlers rapidly spread across the continent and transformed it, often through violent or deceptive means, from ancestral Native lands and borderlands teeming with diverse communities to landscapes that fueled the rise of industrialized cities.


Historical maps, images and related objects tell the story of the sweeping changes made to the physical, cultural, and political landscape. Moving beyond the mythologized American frontier, this map exhibition explores the complexity of factors that shaped our country over the century.


Miami International Map Fair, 101 West Flagler Street, Miami, Florida; 13-15 March 2020.


This is the 27th Annual Miami International Map Fair and the event will be held again at HistoryMiami but on a new weekend due to the Superbowl being held in Miami in February 2020. This is truly one of the best map fairs in the world (likely THE best) and offers three days of events. It kicks off on Friday 13 March with a VIP preview sale and cocktail reception, which is only for those who registered for the full weekend. There will be over 30 map dealers from around the world exhibiting thousands of maps, atlases, globes, and prints, as well as a lecture series. For more information and registration, go to


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.


Know someone who's not a member of WMS but should be? Share this copy of Latitudes with them, and steer them to



Cartographic Quotations

"A map says to you: Read me carefully, follow me closely, doubt me not... I am the earth in the palm of your hand."

Beryl Markham
(Markham was a British aviator, adventurer and author, and was the first person to fly solo, non-stop across the Atlantic from east to west.)