Upcoming Events

The Chicago Map Society typically meets at The Newberry on the third Thursday of every month during the academic year (September through May). Meetings start at 5:30 p.m. with a social half-hour, followed by an hour presentation on a cartographic subject of interest to our membership. Our meetings are open to the public, but to help defray expenses, non-members are asked for a small donation at the door. If you are unfamiliar with The Newberry, which is located on the near northside of Chicago, here are directions.

The list below details the upcoming meetings of the Chicago Map Society, as well as an occasional event that is of especial importance to our membership. John Docktor maintains calendars of map society meetings and cartographic exhibitions worldwide, both of which are available at Cartographic Calendars. In addition, the Washington Map Society publishes the meeting schedules for a number of North American map societies. For information on the events held by Wisconsin Map Society, our sister organization ninety miles to the north, please visit their website by clicking here.

Upcoming Meetings of the Chicago Map Society

Date: Thursday, September 20, 2018  5:30 PM
Title: The North American Continent: A Pictorial Map
Speaker: Anton Thomas
Location: Rettinger Hall, The Newberry Library

In 2014, Anton Thomas began drawing a pictorial map of North America by hand and, four years on, he is finally at the finish line. With many thousands of features, including 600 individualized cityscapes, it has been an odyssey of sheer labor and dedication. Inspired by the majesty of Earth’s third-largest continent, this color pencil map attempts to merge art with informative cartography. By utilizing the strengths of either discipline, his hope is to tell a geographic story that engages a wide audience. In this presentation, he will unpack the story and concepts behind it, while taking the audience on a tour across this pictorial map of epic proportions: The North American Continent.

Date: Thursday, October 18, 2018 5:30 PM
Title: Sasha’s Inferno: The Nine Circles of Viral Internet Maps
Speaker: Sasha Trubetskoy
Location: Rettinger Hall, The Newberry Library

Ever since his “snow map” spread across the web in 2014, Sasha Trubetskoy has been well-versed in the world of viral internet maps. In his presentation, Sasha will tell the story of his initial and subsequent viral map hits, and take the audience on a journey deeper and deeper into the darkest pits of amateur internet mapmaking, where “real” cartographers seldom venture. The presentation will bring to light some aspects of mapmaking overlooked by the mainstream cartographic community, and highlight the importance of reaching out to a new, broader audience.

Date: Thursday, November 15, 2018 5:30 PM
Title: The Early Modern Bird’s-Eye View as a Mode of Seeing
Speaker: Mark Rosen
Location: Rettinger Hall, The Newberry Library

In this lecture, Mark Rosen explores the perspectival view that between the fifteenth and eighteenth centuries was the predominant means of picturing cities, discussing how they were made, what sorts of demands they made upon viewers, and how they functioned in the worlds of science, cartography, and art.

Date: Thursday, December 20, 2018 5:30 PM
Title: Annual Holiday Gala and Members’ Show-and-Tell
Speaker: Members of the Chicago Map Society
Location: Rettinger Hall, The Newberry

We hope that you will join us for our annual Holiday Gala, which will feature an especially full smorgasbord of holiday treats for your dining and drinking pleasure. We will continue our tradition of pairing this party with our “Members’ Night,” which allows our members to showcase a special item in their personal collections. In the past, we’ve enjoyed hearing about maps, atlases, globes, and “cartifacts”—old, new, borrowed, and blue (yes, we have seen blueprints). You will be given five to ten minutes to talk about your item, which we can display on an easel; you may also use the projector in Rettinger Hall to make a PowerPoint presentation or display a pdf image.

The Holiday Gala will also include a Silent Auction of any items that you may wish to donate to the Society—the full value of which is tax-deductible! To help us assemble our program, please email us at by December 15 with details about any item you would like to present to the group and/or donate for the auction.

Date: Thursday, January 17, 2019 5:30 PM
Title: Melchior Huebinger and the Making of the First Automobile Atlas of Iowa
Speaker: Mike Flaherty
Location: Rettinger Hall

Mike Flaherty will present a lecture on the maps and atlases produced by the nearly forgotten German immigrant cartographer and surveyor Melchior Huebinger. His mapping of Iowa and Illinois spanned from the 1880s to the 1920s and included the production of vanity subscription atlases, military, flood, geologic and soil maps, production of general purpose state atlas, early automobile maps and route guides, and culminated in his incredible 1912 twenty-dollar Good Roads Automobile Atlas of Iowa.

Huebinger’s maps and atlases chronicled the development of commercial photo lithography, modern map-marketing techniques, the re-use and strategic updating of previous edition maps, and a continuing reliance on state, municipal and corporate subsidies to make his low print runs profitable. His career covered the transition from horse and buggy Victorian maps to modern twentieth-century automobile map production and had prominent displays at both the Chicago and St Louis World’s Fairs.

Date: Thursday, February 21, 2019 5:30 PM
Title: Book Party for Neighborhood
Speaker: Emily Talen
Location: Rettinger Hall

Please join us as we celebrate the publication of Emily Talen’s book Neighborhood, which is a critical evaluation of the idea of neighborhood. Through the exploration of cross-cultural and cross-temporal commonalities of the ways in which neighborhood articulation exposes conflicting purposes, and the varying levels of realization of neighborhood design, this book assesses the historical record and current relevance of neighborhood. While the idea of neighborhood has attracted substantial scholarly interest for more than a century, each discipline dissects the idea and reality of neighborhood from their own vantage point—sociology, urban history, urban planning, urban design, sustainability, economic development, anthropology, geography, public policy. There have been few attempts to synthesize the disparate range of perspectives involved to develop a fuller understanding of the meaning and complexity of this enduring urban ideal.

Emily Talen is Professor of Urbanism at the University of Chicago. A recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, she holds a PhD in urban geography from the University of California, Santa Barbara. Emily has written extensively on the topics of urban design, New Urbanism, and social equity and she has previously published four books (New Urbanism and American Planning, Design for Diversity, Urban Design for Planners, and City Rules). Copies of her new book will be available at the meeting.

Date: Thursday, March 21, 2019 5:30 PM
Title: Book Party for A History of America in 100 Maps
Speaker: Susan Schulten
Location: Rettinger Hall

Please join us  as we celebrate the publication of Susan Schulten’s book, A History of America in 100 Maps. Copies of the book will be available at the meeting.

Throughout its history, America has been defined through maps. Whether made for military strategy or urban reform, to encourage settlement or to investigate disease, maps invest information with meaning by translating it into visual form. They capture what people knew, what they thought they knew, what they hoped for, and what they feared. As such they offer unrivaled windows onto the past.

In this book Susan Schulten uses maps to explore five centuries of American history, from the voyages of European discovery to the digital age. With stunning visual clarity, A History of America in 100 Maps showcases the power of cartography to illuminate and complicate our understanding of the past.

Gathered primarily from the British Library’s incomparable archives and compiled into nine chronological chapters, these one hundred full-color maps range from the iconic to the unfamiliar. Each is discussed in terms of its specific features as well as its larger historical significance in a way that conveys a fresh perspective on the past. Some of these maps were made by established cartographers, while others were made by unknown individuals such as Cherokee tribal leaders, soldiers on the front, and the first generation of girls to be formally educated. Some were tools of statecraft and diplomacy, and others were instruments of social reform or even advertising and entertainment. But when considered together, they demonstrate the many ways that maps both reflect and influence historical change.

Audacious in scope and charming in execution, this collection of one hundred full-color maps offers an imaginative and visually engaging tour of American history that will show readers a new way of navigating their own worlds.

Susan Schulten is Professor of History at the University of Denver. She is the author of Mapping the Nation: History and Cartography in Nineteenth-Century America and The Geographical Imagination in America, 1880–1950, both published by the University of Chicago Press.

Date: Thursday, April 18, 2019 5:30 PM
Title: TBA (Illinois Counties)
Speaker: Kevin Lewis
Location: Rettinger Hall


Date: Thursday, May 16, 2019 5:30 PM
Title: Chicago Diagrammed: Frank Glossop and the Mapping of Business Before and After the Fire
Speaker: Michael Conzen
Location: Rettinger Hall

As befits any great metropolis, Chicago lays claim to a rich history of being mapped as a city, despite its relatively short history. (We are still nearly two decades shy of the city’s bicentennial).  The pantheon of Chicago’s well-known cartographers, however, lacks one figure who should be in the line-up. The name of Frank Glossop (1838-1889) does not easily roll off the tongues of Chicago’s map historians, but it should. This talk will review his life story and assess the role that his unusual mapping ultimately played in his restless search for a stable living and for respect as a Chicago booster. Mr. Conzen will conclude the talk by arguing that we should regard Frank Glossop as an unheralded but nevertheless, from the perspective of urban tourism, broadly influential cartographer of the heart of Chicago during its phoenix-like rise from the ashes of the Great Fire.

Michael Conzen is Professor of Geography at the University of Chicago. He is the co-author (with Diane Dillon) of Mapping Manifest Destiny: Chicago and the American West, published by the Newberry Library, co-editor (with Peter Larkham) of Shapers of Urban Form: Explorations in Morphological Agency, published by Routledge, and a contributor to the just published book, Teaching Urban Morphology (Elsevier).

Date: Thursday, June 20, 2019 5:30 PM


Title: What Does it Mean to Map a Forest? Cartography and Geographical Knowledge in the Lake Superior Country in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries


Speaker: Peter Nekola, Luther College


Location: The MacLean Collection, Lake Forest IL


Many of us have almost instinctively come to think of maps as representing locations; where things are as opposed to how they work. But mapping a forest as a simple location may tell us very little about the forest itself. In the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries the thickly forested "Northwoods" of the Lake Superior Country provided the world with vast amounts of timber, while the rocks beneath them offered some of the world's largest deposits of iron and copper. Both endeavors relied on extensive mapping initiatives to locate and extract these resources, in the process changing the landscape drastically. It is no coincidence that these forests were also the site of several of the world's first published ecological surveys. Locating, assessing, extracting, and, eventually, managing, conserving and preserving the Northwoods demanded sophisticated reasoning, which was made possible by developing increasingly complex maps that represented not just objects but patterns, conditions, and relations. In the end such maps would allow future generations to "see the forest for the trees." This talk will offer a brief history of these maps and an explanation of how they worked. It will be accompanied by an exhibition including many of the original maps from the MacLean Collection that will appear in Professor Nekola's forthcoming book Mapping the Northwoods: Cartography and Geographical Knowledge in the Lake Superior Country, from Industry to Conservation.