In Memory

Jonathan T. Lanman

Jonathan T. Lanman (1917-1988)

Jonathan Lanman, cofounder of The Washington Map Society, and Editor, since its inception in 1984, of the Society's serial publication, The Portolan, died of respiratory failure, February 23, 1988, at his home in Bethesda, Maryland. A memorial service was held, on February 29, at Georgetown Presbyterian Church, in Washington, D.C.

Dr. Lanman, a native of Columbus, Ohio, received undergraduate and medical degrees from Yale University. He served his internship at Johns Hopkins University Hospital, in Baltimore, and his residency at Sydenham Hospital, in the same city. He was a U.S. Navy medical officer in the Far East during World War II.

After the war Lanman had a second residency at the University of California, in San Francisco, following which he held a Public Service fellow­ship in California. John and his family moved to New York City in the 1950s, and from 1960 to 1972 he was chairman of the department of pediatrics at the State University of New York's Downstate Medical Center in Brooklyn. He was professor of pediatrics at the New York University Medical Center from 1972 to 1976. In the latter year he transferred to the Washington, D.C. area, and served two years as director of the Center for Research for Mothers and Children, at the National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland.

Jonathan Lanman early exhibited an interest in cartography, and he acquired his first historical maps while still an undergraduate. His wartime service in the Far East stimulated an interest in early Asian cartography, which led to further map purchases. It was during the last quarter century, however, that he focused major attention on augmenting his collection of maps and globes, and immersing himself in the literature on the history of cartography. The first half of this period was spent in New York City, the latter half in Washington, D.C.

After retiring from the National Institutes of Health in 1978, John's major interests were his cartographic collection, and study, research, and writing about old maps and globes. He read scholarly papers at several International Conferences on the History of Cartography, and at national meetings of The Society for the History of Discoveries. He was the second president of The Washington Map Society, and served for several years on the council of the Society for the History of Discoveries.

In late 1987, Chicago's Newberry Library published Lanman's On the Origin of Portolan Charts. During his declining months John composed a book that relates his joys and satisfactions in-collecting and studying old maps and globes. Completed just days before his death, it is titled, Glimpses of History from Old Maps.

Jonathan Lanman is survived by his wife, Janet Edgerton Lanman, of Bethesda, a daughter, Jacquelyn Sheehan, of Barnesville, Maryland, and a son Jonathan T. Lanman, Jr., of New York City. A second son, Jeremy M. Lanman, died in 1980. The distinguished Lanman collection of early maps and globes will enrich Yale University's Map Library.

By Walter W. Ristow