WMS Meetings Info

Member and non-member information

Non-members always welcome!




Unless otherwise stated, program sessions being at 1700 hours (5:00 PM) and are held in the Geography and Map Division Research Center, B level, Library of Congress, Madison Building, 101 Independence Avenue, S.E., Washington, D.C. Please allow adequate time to pass through security. The Library is one block from METRO's Capital South Station (Blue, Orange  or Silver Lines).  Due to ongoing construction, one should ensure their line is running on schedule.

Each presentation held at the Library of Congress will be augmented by special display of rare maps and atlases from the Geography and Map Division collection.  The maps can be viewed prior to and after the presentation.

Eliane Dotson (Eliane@oldworldauctions.com) is President and Bert Johnson (mandraki@verizon.net) is VP and Programs chair.  Eliane and Bert welcome suggestions for future programs and speakers.

Weather:  The WMS follows the closing decisions of the Federal Government. If the Federal Government is closed, our meeting will be canceled. In the event bad weather develops later in the day, we may still be forced to cancel. We will attempt to send out a blast e-mail in that case. Please check your email account for a WMS notice before coming to a meeting when bad weather is predicted. 

24 January 2019        The Map Collection of the G&M:  New Directions

                                    Speaker:  Dr. Paulette Hasier

Chief, Geography and Map Division, Library of Congress

Dr. Hasier will discuss her personal interests in the history of cartography. She will also explain her mandate to take the Geography and Map Division in new directions more attuned to today’s cartographic technology. This does not mean abandoning the historic treasures of the Library, but rather using technical means to make them more readily available to researchers and aficionados alike.

14 February 2019      Washington’s Mapmaker: Colonel Robert Erskine, First Surveyor General

Speaker:  Kass Kassebaum

Department of the Geographer

Robert Erskine (1735–1780) was a Scottish inventor and engineer who came to the colonies in 1771 to run the ironworks at Ringwood, New Jersey and later became sympathetic to the movement for independence. General George Washington appointed him as Geographer and Surveyor General of the Continental Army at the rank of colonel; Erskine drew more than 275 maps, mostly of the Northeast region. His untimely death as the war was ending is largely responsible for his relative anonymity among the heroes of the Revolution.


(The Department of the Geographer aims to accurately portray a Continental Army Staff surveying party including proper uniforms & clothing, equipment & instruments, skills & knowledge, theatre of operations & campaigns during the period from 1777 to 1783.)

21 March 2019          The History of Cartography Project: Its Past, Future, and Lasting Importance

Speaker: Dr. Matthew Edney,

University of Southern Maine; Osher Chair in the History of Cartography; Osher Map Library;

Director, History of Cartography Project

In 1977, David Woodward and J. B. Harley conceived of The History of Cartography to encourage connoisseurs of maps, devotees of map history, and specialists dedicated to identifying and describing early maps to also consider how and why people have made and used maps - from mere documents to cultural artifacts. The effort exploded beyond their wildest expectations, expanding from a four-book series to six broadly inclusive and increasingly large volumes, some with multiple books. It also fostered an unprecedented sense of community among map scholars around the world.

11 April 2019             In the Footsteps of the Crime       

Speaker:  Dr. Ronald Grim formerly Curator of Maps, Leventhal Map Center, Boston Public Library

In 2005, Dr. Ron Grim became the Curator of Map at the Leventhal Map Center of the Boston Public Library. A few months later, map thief E. Forbes Smiley was arrested. Because Smiley was a frequent visitor to the BPL (or Boston Public Library), Ron initiated a massive cataloging and digitizing program.  They identified about 70 maps Smiley had examined which were missing.  Diligent efforts led to the recovery of about half of them, but some treasures appeared lost for good. A decade later, however, the BPL was able to recover a missing masterpiece by Samuel de Champlain (Carte Geographique de Nouvelle France) after Dr. Grim spotted it in the catalog of a prominent dealer (asking price $285,000). Dr. Grim will discuss the theft, the security and inventory measures that resulted, and the recovery of the Champlain map.

May 2019                   Annual Dinner

To be determined