WMS Meetings Info

Member and non-member information

Non-members always welcome!




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.

Unless otherwise stated, program sessions being at 1700 hours 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.

Ed Redmond is President of the WMS (202) 707-8548 or ered@loc.gov ) and Eliane Dotson (Eliane@oldworldauctions.com) is VP and Programs chair.  Ed and Eliane 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. 


On Thursday, March 8, 2018 at 5:00 PM, John Hessler will give a talk on "Mapping Indigenous Spaces: The Rare Codex Quetzalecatzin Comes to the Library of Congress."  The Codex Quetzalecatzin, is an extremely rare, colored Mesoamerican map and one of the most important indigenous manuscripts from the earliest history of the Americas to become available in recent history. As is typical for an Aztec, or Nahuatl, codex of this early date (circa 1570-95), it relates the extent of land ownership and properties of a family line.  Acquired by the Library Congress in 2017, this important piece has now been made available to the public digitally, for the first time in more than one hundred years. The lecture will explain the acquisition by the Library of the Codex, its history, and new research on its origins and use.

On Thursday, April 12, 2018 at 5:00 PM, Mark Monmonier will discuss "Patents and Plato: Map-related Patents in General, and One Clever Inventor in Particular." Map historians have paid little attention to patents even though over 300 patents for devices intended to promote the use of maps and map information were issued by the U.S. Patent Office from the mid-19th century through early 20th century. This talk will review the principal areas of invention and highlight one emblematic entrepreneur, John Byron Plato (1876-1966), whose 1915 patent for a method that assigned rural residences a unique address led to the Index Map Company.  Mark Monmonier is a Distinguished Professor of Geography at the Maxwell School of Syracuse University. He specializes in toponymy, geography, and geographic information systems. His popular written works show a combination of serious study and a sense of humor. Most of his work is published by University of Chicago Press.

Click HERE for Professor Monmonier's interesting website.

Click HERE for reservation form.  On Friday, May 4, 2018 at 6:00 PM, the Washington Map Society 39th Annual Dinner will be held at Maggiano's Little Italy Restaurant at Tysons II Galleria in McLean, VA.  Members and non-members welcome!  The evening will include a cocktail hour, buffet dinner, and guest speaker S. Max Edelson, who will give a presentation on "The New Map of Empire: How Britain Imagined America before Independence" (see review in issue 100 of The Portolan).  This talk will describe how Great Britain attempted to take command of North America and the West Indies in the generation before the American Revolution.  Edelson is Associate Professor of History at the University of Virginia, where he teaches the history of cartography, early America, and the Atlantic world, and co-director of the UVA Early American Seminar at Monticello. Details and reservation details forthcoming.

On Saturday May 19, 2018 at 1:00 PM, the WMS will make a field trip to Baltimore to visit the Robert Gensler collection of Early Exploration of the Americas.  Details forthcoming.