by Ernesto Capello
What is a mountain? Prior to the late eighteenth-century definition of mountains as the result of geological processes, local traditions identified sites as distinct as Mont Blanc – the highest peak in Europe – and the Mountain of Reims - an escarpment of some 280 meters in the Champagne region – as ‘mountains.’ Maps reflected this ambivalence, signaling changes in elevation through pictorial representations of individual peaks with minimal attention to altitudinal differences or the specific contours of individual massifs.
Bound Images as Linked Open Data: Examples from the Works of Erwin Raisz
by Lena Denis
In a recent exhibition at the Harvard Map Collection, I included The Pattern of World Agriculture, a map made by geographer Erwin Raisz, based on the research of one of his Harvard geography colleagues, D.S. Whittlesey. The map uses pictorial symbols to show major regional crops of the world. A note on the bottom right says that it was prepared for the 1941 U.S. Yearbook of Agriculture – part of a short-lived government series of farming manuals. To my surprise, the copies of the Yearbook I found included maps made by Whittlesey, but not this map or any other by Raisz.
Vue de l’Habitation du Sr. de Préfontaine Située à Cayenne
by Bertie Mandelblatt
A set of two idealized estate plans are contained in the first of the seven plates that conclude the Chevalier de Préfontaine’s 1763 guide to creating a commercial plantation in the French colony of Guyana. With graphic effectiveness, the plan both encapsulates and propels forward the complicated personal history in the region of its author, and the confused imperial aspirations of his powerful supporters at the court of Louis XV, notably the Duc de Choiseul.
The Attribution, Placement, and Meaning, of a Map of New England
by Matthew Edney
The maps of New England within the Boston and London editions (both 1677) of William Hubbard’s history of King Philip’s War in southern New England (1675–76) call into question common misunderstandings of the nature of maps that have significant implications for understanding the interrelationships of maps and books. Those misunderstandings are (1) that maps are “pictures” that give their readers direct access to the world and (2) that maps are material, self-contained things whose meanings are fixed and independent of any parent books. Together, these misunderstandings make maps-in-books appear quite distinct from their parent books, when this is manifestly not the case.
Information Networks in Johann Jakob Scheuchzer’s Physica Sacra (1731-1735)
by Stephanie Stillo
Have you ever wondered how Moses parted the Red Sea? Or how God created the firmament? How about the location of Eden? Or the measurements of Noah’s great ark? Answering these questions, along with many others, was the goal of Swiss naturalist Johann Jakob Scheuchzer in the Physica Sacra (1731-1735). Often called the Kupfer-Bibel (Copper Bible) due its 761 impressively detailed engravings peppered throughout the four folio volumes, Scheuchzer brought together text and image to synthesize, analyze, and dissect the natural, physical, and cosmological history of the Bible.
The Workshop Scheme of Hand-Coloring in the 1513 Edition of Ptolemy’s Geography
by Chet Van Duzer
One of the most important optional features in the production or post-production of printed maps in books was hand-coloring. Hand-coloring made printed maps look more like exclusive and expensive manuscript maps; the coloring also made it easier for the eye to distinguish land from ocean, and various geographical units from others. While hand-coloring added from 25 to 100% to the cost of a map, the result was still much less expensive than a manuscript map.