WMS Meetings Info

Member and non-member information

Non-members always welcome!




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.

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.

25 October 2018         Sailing the Aegean Sea: A Renaissance Journey in Maps

Speaker:  Dr. Evelyn Edson, Professor Emeritus,

Virginia Piedmont Community College (WMS)

In the early 15th century, Cristoforo Buondelmonti left his home town of Florence to visit the island of Crete. His purpose was to collect Greek manuscripts for the collection of his patron, Niccolo Niccoli, but he became smitten with the atmosphere, the mythological past, and the historical present of the islands, and never returned home. After writing an extensive account of the island of Crete, he went on the create the first isolario, or atlas of islands, describing 79 Greek locales and including a detailed map of each one. His work (pre-Gutenberg) was hand copied many times and survives in some 70 copies. He was followed by a number of imitators, and the isolario became a popular genre for several centuries; it retains its fascination for modern viewers. Dr. Edson will discuss the origin of the book, Buondelmoni’s life exploring the Greek isles, and the task of replicating his masterpiece for modern study.

3 November 2018       Field Trip to Baltimore Area Home of WMS Member to View Collection

                                    Host: Mr. Robert Gensler, Map Collector (WMS)

(Saturday – time TBA)

There will be an Open House at the Baltimore area residence of WMS member Robert Gensler to view nearly 100 maps framed and hung in his home. His collection has two main foci: Age of Discovery and Early Colonial Americana. The former includes maps of the world and continents by Schedel, Waldseemuller, Fries, Ruscelli, Ortelius, Munster, Blaeu, and Braun and Hogenberg. His Early Colonial Americana includes maps of Virginia, Maryland, and DC, including those by Jansson, Speed, and Fry-Jefferson. Beverages and hors d'oeuvres will be served.  This is the field trip which was originally scheduled for May 2018, postponed due to injuries suffered by a family member. We are delighted that Mr. Gensler and his family have re-extended the invitation. Because of the changed date, the sign-up list for the cancelled tour cannot be used and a new sign-up list will be started. There is no limit on the number of persons who may attend, but reservations must be made with Eliane Dotson no later than 25 October to allow our host to arrange refreshments.  More information, such as location and directions, will be made available to those who sign up as the date draws near. To sign up, or if you have questions, please contact Eliane Dotson at eliane@oldworldauctions.com.

6 December 2018      Flying by the Seat of Your Pants:  Rand McNally, and Post Office

Belt Maps – The U. S. Post Office Airmail Service Air Navigation, 1918 – 1926

Speaker:  Mr. Ralph Ehrenberg; Chief, Geography and Map Division, Library of Congress, Retired (WMS)

The United States Post Office’s Airmail Service played a pivotal role in developing the aeronautical chart in the United States from its establishment in 1918 through 1926 when airmail service was contracted out to private carriers. As the first organization in America to fly long distance scheduled flights on a daily basis, the Airmail Service worked closely with other Federal agencies, state and municipal governments, private industry, and civic groups to establish a national airways system analogous to the nation’s railroad and highway systems. The lack of adequate flying maps remained a major problem, however. As airmail pilot Ken McGregor remembered, “I got from place to place [by] the seat of my pants [and] the ability to recognize every town, river, railroad, farm, and, yes, outhouse along the route.” While a few pilots like McGregor relied strictly upon visual navigation, the majority resorted to using some form of published map. In an illustrated lecture, Mr. Ehrenberg will trace the history of map use by the Airmail Service and its own efforts in developing a basic aeronautical chart.

24 January 2019    (Details to follow)  The talk will focus on how cartographic historians can use modern technology to help capture, interpret, and inform their research. 

Speaker:  Dr. Paulette Hasier  Chief, Geography and Map Division, Library of Congress.