Philadelphia Map Society

Dear Philadelphia Map Society,

We kick off our new year and hope to entice everyone to bring along colleagues and friends. Please suggest more map collections you would like to explore.

Sat, September 16, 2017 @ 11 AM (rain date Sat., Oct 14): Cartographic Walk in Laurel Hill Cemetery, led by Rich Boardman, LHC volunteer & former head archivist for The Free Library Map Division. Established in 1836, Laurel Hill Cemetery, an early rural garden cemetery and national historic landmark, became THE place to be buried during the 19th and early 20th centuries and is the final resting place for many in business, the arts, science, medicine and publishing. Today’s tour will focus on individuals connected to maps, engineering, lithography or related field in some way, either as maker, printer , surveyor or publisher. We’ll be walking over uneven ground as well as paved walks and roads and some stairs. 

Precisely where to gather still to come. We will drive to lunch nearby with Rich as our guest. Location to be announced.

Wed., October 25, 2017 @ 5:30 PM The Historical Society of Pennsylvania (HSP): Manuscript maps by Mr. Phillip Wells (Welles)  Surveyor General of New York 1680-89 and New England 1687-1689, Deputy Surveyor of East Jersey 1683-84. Mr. Wells, while laying down the NY/CT boundary, took first measure of magnetic declination in New York. He mapped East and West Jersey, demonstrating measurements on a 6 foot radius wooden instrument for the doubting public. Mr. Wells charted NY and Boston harbors with soundings. His colorful draught of NY and chart of Boston harbor were acquired by different bidders in the same 1893 sale when HSP acquired its founding collection of Penn Papers.

Mr. Wells' NY harbor chart and plat for Perth Amboy were found in East Jersey Gov. Barclay's Minutebook.  The NY harbor chart, with his farm marked "Wells" on the northern tip of Staten Island, became the earliest printed chart of NY harbor when inset on Thornton-Morden-Lea's "A New Map of New England New York New Jarsey Pennsylvania Maryland and Virginia," then was copied in The English Pilot, Fourth Edition.

To be delivered to Board of Plantations and Privy Council in London in 1686, Mr. Wells compiled "American Plantations," an 8 foot map presenting two sets of borders for Pennsylvania, with notes arguing for greater land grant to the Province of New York. This manuscript map is held at The British Museum where it arrived in Sir Hans Sloane's founding bequest.

Resented by Puritan leaders but within his duty as Surveyor General under Gov. Edmund Andros, Mr. Wells drew up the plat for construction of the original Kings Chapel, first Anglican church in Boston, with features resembling St. Wilfrid's Church, Burnsall, the ancestral parish of recently deceased Lady Mary Craven Andros. Mr. Wells avoided capture and preserved the maps when Gov Andros and his staff were imprisoned by Puritan loyalists in April 1689. 

Barbara Drebing Kauffman, descendant of Mr. Wells' sister, Suzanne Welles Merrill, will share her personal research on the role of the Surveyor General.  We will walk to dinner nearby.

Sat., November 18 @ 2 PM: The Franklin Institute curators will illuminate perforations in the "Heraldic" Star Globe by German mathematician and astronomer Erhard Weigel (1625-1699), one of eighteen known remaining in the world. Weigel developed a system for renaming constellations with the coat of armcs of European rulers and added civil insignia, creating metal globes now studied as documents of cultural history.  We will also view some circa 1862 movable Star Charts produced by Henry Whitall, who received a Scott Medal from The Franklin Institute in 1883, and a pocket sundial.

This event was suggested by John Docktor, former president of The Washington Map Society now living in Florida, who hopes to attend over this pre-Thanksgiving weekend. 

Our precise room location to be announced.  Museum entrance fee required. Dinner to follow nearby and we hope John and the curators may join as our guests.


Sat., April 28, 2018  @ 10:30 AM, meet in the Longwood Gardens Library & Archive:  Judy Stevenson, Archivist, who describes her archive as "back-of-house" and secluded from the public, will talk about select maps. Since many of their more interesting maps have been off-site undergoing a large-scale conservation project that will continue through 2017, we appreciate securing our spot on the busy Longwood calendar for 2018.


Sat., June 2, 2018 @ 11 AM: Delaware County Institute of Science. Dr. Kathy Hornberger will present an overview of the collection.