Latitudes Newsletter Nov 2016

Map Society


November 2016



Thursday, November 17, 2016 – 7 PM – Madison Bldg – LoC:  P.J. Mode, a long-time student and collector of maps, will present Maps and Messages: Deconstructing Persuasive Cartography


"Persuasive" or "suggestive" maps are those intended primarily to influence opinions or beliefs - to send a message - rather than to communicate objective geographic information. Mr. Mode will show and discuss examples published over five centuries regarding a number of subjects, including advertising and promotion, finance, imperialism, politics, religion, war and peace. Mr. Mode assembled his collection over a period of 35 years.  (This is about the same period of time he has belonged to the Washington Map Society.)  He recently donated his collection of over 500 pieces, to his alma mater, Cornell University.  Now completely digitized, the collection has received widespread attention both in the map world and from the general public. More information on persuasive cartography and his collection is available on his website, hosted by Cornell University.  Click here to view the collection. 



Thursday, December 8, 2016 – 7 PM – Madison Bldg – LoC:  Shelley S. Mastran, Professor in Practice, Urban Affairs & Planning, Virginia Tech will discuss Early Roads and Settlements in Northern Virginia: A Cartographic Perspective.


The presentation will trace the evolution of European settlement and road construction in Northern Virginia with a focus on Fairfax County.  Early maps help explain the rationale for this development.




Our first meeting of the year will be on 12 January 2017. That’s because the following week will be somewhat busy on Capitol Hill. Our polite request to delay the Presidential Inauguration so we could meet later in the month apparently fell on deaf ears.
At any rate, the January 2017 meeting will be a Members Map Night (MMN), sort of a cartographic Show and Tell for Grown-Ups. These are always interesting, since you never know what will turn up. (We once had someone bring three states of the John Smith Map of Virginia, and on the same bill, someone else showed map propaganda postcards from the Italo-Turkish War of 1911.) People have been known to pull out odd maps and simply ask “does anybody have any idea what this thing is?”
The MMN has the added advantage of filling the winter slot most likely to be snowed out, so that we don’t have someone travel in to talk to us to no avail. (This ain’t our first rodeo, son.)




Saturday, November 5, 2016 – 10 AM – Library of Virginia – 800 East Broad Street, Richmond, Virginia:  Eliane Dotson, Vice President of the Washington Map Society and owner of Old World Auctions, will offer a workshop on What's My Map Worth? How to Value Antique Maps. Most of us have maps, framed on walls, in drawers, or in our attics.  Have you ever wondered what your maps are worth? Join guest speaker Eliane Dotson as she 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, such as color, state/edition, published format, and condition. Learn where to find information on current and historical prices for maps and how to evaluate the validity of the data. Although valuing antique maps 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.

The Fry-Jefferson Map Society hosts this FREE workshop. To register visit For more information about this event, contact the Library of Virginia Foundation at 804.692.3813. To learn more about the Fry-Jefferson Map Society, click here.




On 13 October, Kimball Brace, president of Election Data Services, Inc. presented Red vs Blue: A History of Political Mapping and the Use of Color. Most observers know that the color red is used to denote the Republican Party and the color blue to denote the Democratic Party. One may think this practice dates from many years past, but in fact it is of recent vintage. Mr. Brace showed a wide range of political literature dating from the antebellum republic to present which left little doubt that the color schemes were hardly fixed by custom or law. It may be that they depended on what ink the newspaper printers had in stock that day. Red and blue slid back and forth between major parties, with green, yellow, and brown making an occasional appearance as well. The thing which finally set the present schema in concrete might well have been television, when broadcasters wanted a more stable visual sign of party affiliation. Most of us are used to it by now, so it seems normal.

(The editor of the IMCoS Journal, Ljiljana Ortolja-Baird, was visiting us from England that evening. She was quite surprised, since in the UK, specific colors have been associated with specific parties for much longer. Moreover, in most of Europe, red is used by leftist parties, whereas here it is used by the GOP. Blue is most often used by European conservatives, but here is used by the Democrats. Note: In the UK, even the satirical Raving Monster Loony Party founded by the late Screaming Lord Sutch, 3rd Earl of Harrow, always uses yellow. There ARE rules, you know, even when one is out of one’s head.)




The cartographic triple header in Chicago was a great success.  The first event, 24-26 October, was the 34th International Symposium of IMCoS (the International Map Collectors Society).  It drew about 120 persons from the United States and Europe to attend the topic of Private Map Collecting and Public Map Collections in the United States. Of these, 40 were members of WMS, and 21 more were accompanying spouses.  The events included a full day of speakers and a full day trip trip to Milwaukee to visit the collection of the American Geographic Society on the campus of UM-Milwaukee and the MacLean Collection in the Chicago suburbs. Most of us had heard of the AGS library; the MacLean was less familiar. Both proved to be treasure troves – simply spectacular stuff. The MacLean as an unparalleled collection of wall maps which hang from racks, making it look like a carpet shop.


The Nebenzahl Lectures celebrated their anniversary on 27 October, 50 years to the day since the first one began. The focus was Maps, Their Collecting and Study: A Fifty Year Retrospective. The speakers were the leading lights of the international map community, including Matthew Edney, Peter Barber, Jim Akerman, Susan Schulten, and Tony Campbell. They were all really fine, but a special word must be said about Susan Schulten, who continues to amaze with her command of material and superb delivery.


Her excellence was a common topic of conversation for the remainder of the event. I don’t know the attendance numbers, but the room holds about 150, and there was a waiting list.
I was unable to attend the map fair, so will leave that for others to discuss.



The next International Conference on the History of Cartography will be held 9-14 July 2017 in the city of Belo Horizonte in Brazil’s Minas Gerais Province. BH is Brazil’s sixth largest city. Since this is the first ICHC in South America, the main theme addresses the wider region of Latin America. The colonial experience and its impact on mapping the continent will be very much at the forefront of the conference. This is very different from the European venues where ICHC usually meets. Most events will take place in the central area around Praca de Liberdade (Liberty Plaza) in downtown Belo Horizonte.




Costs for this conference are also appreciably lower than for those held in Europe. Registration is only $120 for the week, and decent hotel rooms start at about $45. Start thinking now about the realistic possibility of attending this outstanding event. They are held only once every two years, and the experience will place you at the very epicenter of the history of cartography community.
Main Conference Theme: Cartographic Challenge of the New

  • Mapping Practices in New Worlds
  • Mapping Cities: Recording Growth or Creating Vision
  • Indigenous Mapping
  • Mapping Nationhood
  • Mapping Natural Resources
  • and any other aspect of the history of cartography

Conference Exhibits

  • Mapping Brazil:  Experience and Fantasy
  • Mapping, Painting, and Delineating Minas Gerais
  • Seeding Utopias: Maps of the Planned Brazilian Colonial Cities
  • Looking Over the Globe: The New Cartographic Challenge
  • Belo Horizonte: A Planned City in the Tropics

Much more information can be found on the conference web site at or see the feature article in the Winter 2016 Portolan.



If you are thinking about attending the ICHC, you will need a passport.  You already knew that. But if you are a U.S. citizen, that passport must contain a visa from the nation of Brazil.  To obtain this, you must apply in person to the consular section of the Embassy of Brazil in Washington or one of Brazil’s nine consulates throughout the U.S.  This can also be done for you by a proxy – a friend, relative, or visa agency.  You will leave the passport with them and they will return it to you by mail. I am told that they are prompt and efficient.  For further information click here.



“I think that the constant study of maps is apt to disturb men’s reasoning powers.”

Robert Arthur Talbot Gascoyne-Cecil
3rd Marquess of Salisbury
Three times Prime Minister of Great Britain
Four Times Foreign Minister of Great Britain



(Note: For better or worse – probably the latter – all content in Latitudes is the work and wording of editor Bert Johnson, unless specifically noted to be the work of someone else. Bert can be reached at Lay-out and transmission is done by Eliane Dotson.) 


Copyright © 2016 Washington Map Society, All rights reserved.
You are receiving this email because you are an active member of the Washington Map Society.

Our mailing address is:

Washington Map Society

3100 N. Highway A1A, PH A1

Ft. Pierce, FL 34949-8831

Add us to your address book

unsubscribe from this list    update subscription preferences 

Email Marketing Powered by MailChimp