Copy That!
Library of Congress » Geography and Map
by Julie Stoner
4d ago
This is a guest post by Seanna Tsung, senior cataloging specialist in the Geography and Map Division. In my 25 plus years as a cataloger in the Geography & Map Division, I’ve described some of our rare, unusual and valuable objects, the ones that excite and inspire anyone with an interest in history, cartography or art. However, I’m also intrigued by the many photocopies we have, especially in our title collection, which are the single maps received by G&M before 1970. Although at first glance, photocopies are not the most visually appealing of our maps, they provide fascinating clues ..read more
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Experience “Hidden Portals” this May
Library of Congress » Geography and Map
by Julie Stoner
1w ago
This is a post by Jamie Mears, a senior innovation specialist for the Library of Congress Labs. In honor of Asian / Pacific American Heritage Month, Library of Congress 2023-2024 Innovator in Residence Jeffrey Yoo Warren invites the public to experience hidden portals to five historic Asian American communities created with Library of Congress collections for the month of May. Portals are accessible by mobile device at original sites around the country and on the Library of Congress campus in Washington, DC. A portal at the NW terrace of the James Madison building in Washington, DC. Illustrati ..read more
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Trader Flows: Early 18th Century East Indies Trade
Library of Congress » Geography and Map
by Abraham Parrish
1w ago
  Driven by more direct access to the lucrative Eastern spice trade, Europeans sought to circumvent its flow through the Middle East via a direct maritime route to Asia starting with the Portuguese Vasco da Gama who developed a direct sea route to India around the southern tip of Africa at the end of the 15th century.  The Portuguese continued to dominate the Eastern spice trade via this maritime route though the 16th century until the English (1600) and Dutch (1602) started making headway into the trade with the formation of private East India companies at the start of the 17th cent ..read more
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In Cod We Trust: Fishing Grounds and National Ambitions in Early Maps of North America
Library of Congress » Geography and Map
by Amelia Raines
2w ago
This is a guest post by Lena Denis, reference librarian in the Geography and Map Division. Growing up in a Brazilian-American household, I’ve long appreciated the delicious versatility of the Atlantic cod, scientific name Gadus morhua, known to the Portuguese-speaking world as bacalhau in its preferred salted and dried form. It was only when I began working as a map librarian, however, that I saw how powerful cod truly was. Centuries before my family started serving it for holiday meals, European fishing boats traveled all the way to the edge of the world (as they knew it), searching for cod f ..read more
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The Battle of Forts Jackson and St. Philip Through Maps
Library of Congress » Geography and Map
by Tim St. Onge
3w ago
As a vital channel for commerce and travel, it is impossible to overstate the importance of the Mississippi River in 19th century America. As part of the river’s history, this week marks 162 years since a pivotal Union victory in the Civil War: the Battle of Fort Jackson and Fort St. Philip, and the capture of New Orleans and the lower Mississippi River. Several fascinating maps drawn at multiple scales provide us with an in-depth view of this battle and its aftermath. The Mississippi River passes through New Orleans and meanders a further 100 miles southeast before emptying into the Gulf of M ..read more
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The Geography of Buffalo Bill’s Irrigation Misadventures
Library of Congress » Geography and Map
by Meagan Snow
1M ago
At the end of the 19th century, William Frederick Cody, more popularly known as “Buffalo Bill,” achieved global celebrity through his “Wild West Show,” which toured the United States and Europe, presenting a romanticized portrayal of the American West.  Before his touring shows, Cody was infamous for his skill hunting buffalo to feed railway workers during the construction of the Kansas Pacific Railroad. His “Wild West Show” cemented his celebrity, allowing him to perform for England’s Queen Victoria and meet the Pope. Beginning in 1892, his European tours took a decade-long hiatus, and h ..read more
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Finding the Direction of Mecca: A Qibla Compass from the Ottoman Era
Library of Congress » Geography and Map
by Cynthia Smith
1M ago
This week’s post features the qibla compass pictured above. This remarkable geographical instrument was recently added to the Geography and Map Division’s collections. The qibla is the direction of the Sacred Mosque in Mecca where Muslims turn for prayer. A qibla compass, also known as a qibla indicator, is used to find the direction of the Kaaba, a stone building located in the courtyard of the Sacred Mosque. Mekka : View of the holy mosque from the east minaret. In the foreground the Zamzam house, behind that the Kaaba. B. (Bernhard) Moritz. 1916. Prints and Photographs Division. The qibla c ..read more
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Spring Presentation on Indigenous Cartography
Library of Congress » Geography and Map
by Carissa Pastuch
1M ago
Join us online May 2, 2024, for a Spring Presentation with two conversations on indigenous cartography. At 3:00pm Lauren Beck, Canada Research Chair in Intercultural Encounter and Professor of Visual and Material Culture Studies at Mount Allison University, Canada, will discuss Extractive Place Naming Practices in Early Modern North America. At 5:00pm S. Max Edelson, Professor of History, University of Virginia, will discuss Catawba Cartographies: Remapping the Indigenous Southeast, ca. 1670-1733. The Spring Presentation is held in support of the Geography and Map Division mission to expand en ..read more
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Fabricating the World: Copperplate Printing
Library of Congress » Geography and Map
by Amelia Raines
1M ago
Last summer, I attended a course at the Rare Book School entitled Material Foundations of Map History, 1450-1900. Taught by distinguished map scholar Matthew Edney, the course explored the materiality of maps in all their forms. I found the course fascinating, educational, and stimulating; since attending, I’ve been inspired to delve deeper into the physical and material aspects of maps as objects, and to improve my understanding of common – and less-common – methods of map printing and production. Fortunately, I couldn’t ask for a better vantage point to explore the history of mapmaking ..read more
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From Mauka to Makai: The Ahupua’a of Hawai’i
Library of Congress » Geography and Map
by Abraham Parrish
2M ago
Ahupua’a are types of land divisions from ancient Hawai’i that typically ran from the mountains (mauka) towards the sea (makai) containing a cross section of island resources needed to support a community led by an ali’i ‘ai (chief) and managed by a konohiki (overseer and tax collector). Alexander, W.D., Map of the Island of Hawaii, Hawaiian Islands, 1886, Geography and Map. In the above, ahupua’a can be identified in large capital letters on land in the mauka to makai orientation (generally from a coastal point toward the center of the island). Ahupua’a were the main type of land division alt ..read more
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