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Preliminary Reading List

Introduction to Printed Maps

Alice C. Hudson, assisted by Joel Kovarsky

Preliminary Advices

Maps have been collected, studied, described and used in libraries for centuries, but they remain a mystery to many. Geography and cartography, or just the simple history of maps, have not been taught to a great extent in the U. S. educational system. Awareness and appreciation of maps as information tools, as collectibles is not widespread. The texts below will introduce maps and their history, their description and their use.

A review of the literature supporting the collection and preservation of maps in library and personal collections will provide underpinning for any future responsibility for maps in wider rare books or special collections. All of these will introduce mapping concepts/history to the novice.

As for the multi-volume History of Cartography series, and the Voet online text, available in larger research libraries, or focused collections, please skim the volumes purposefully. Focus only on areas of particular personal/professional interest.

History of Cartography

  1. The History of Cartography. (Chicago, U.P., 1987+) A multi-volume grand and detailed history of the field. Edited currently by Mark Monmonier, and previously by J. B. Harley and David Woodward. Browse purposefully. Available in larger research libraries.
  2. Thrower, Norman J. W. Maps and civilization: cartography in culture and society. (Chicago UP, 2008) 3rd. ed. Paperback
  3. Bricker, Charles. Landmarks of mapmaking. (Lausanne, Elsevier, 1975, and numerous later reprints.) A “coffee table book,” invaluable for its introductory text, glorious fold out maps, and many illustrations. Text by Ronald Vere Tooley, noted London-based dealer and map historian.
  4. [Items # 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8 – read through one of the five only]

  5. Brown, Lloyd. The Story of Maps. (New York…1949) Reprinted and available in paperback from Dover.  Dated, but accessible overview of the history of cartography to World War II.
  6. Bagrow, Leo. History of cartography. (Chicago, Precedent, 1985)Revised and enlarged by R. A. Skelton. 2nd. Ed.
  7. Tooley, Ronald Vere. Maps and Map-makers. (London, Batsford, 1987) 7th ed.
  8. Lister, Raymond. Old maps and globes…(London, 1979); also printed as How to identify old maps and globes.  
  9. Moreland, Carl and David Bannister. Antique Maps. Oxford, Phaidon, 1986. Also available in paperback.

Maps: Printing History

  1. Woodward, David. Five centuries of map printing. (Chicago 1975) in paperback; updated by his chapter, “Techniques of map engraving…” p. 591-610 in The History of Cartography, v. 3, 2007, ch. 22.
  2. Several online sources for printing history:
    1. From Tony Campbell, former map dealer, former curator of maps at the British Library: http://www.maphistory.info/LetterPunches.html and http://www.maphistory.info/understanding.html
    2. From George Ritzlin, Illinois map dealer: http://www.ritzlin.com/learn/printing.html
    3. From Philadelphia Print Shop, Ltd.: http://philaprintshop.com/whataprt.html
  3. Voet, Leon. The Golden Compasses. A history and evaluation of the printing and publishing activities of the Officina Plantiniana at Antwerp. (Amsterdam, Van Gendt: New York, Abner Schram, 1969-72) 2 vol. Especially Deel/vol. 2 on printers’ materials, techniques, working conditions.  
    Full text:  http://www.dbnl.org/tekst/voet004gold01_01/index.htm

Collecting Maps

These readings may be skimmed

  1. Manasek, Francis J. Collecting Old Maps. (Norwich, Vt., Terra Nova, 1998) This text has an invaluable chapter on fakes and forgeries.
  2. [Read #1 or 2]

  3. Potter, Jonathan. Collecting Antique Maps, an introduction to the history of cartography.  (London, 1999) From an important antiquarian dealer, filled with glorious color illustrations.
  4. Skelton, R. A. Maps: a historical survey of their study and collecting. Chicago UP, 1972) Maps as collectibles from military, strategic, decorative and scholarly perspectives. Available in paperback.

Maps in general, introductory texts

These readings may be skimmed

  1. Southworth, Michael. Maps. (Boston, 1982) An excellent introduction to 20th century maps for those new to the field. Especially useful overview to pre-GIS mapping techniques and paper maps, which in the 21st c. are less common…
  2. Akerman, James R. and Robert W. Karrow, Jr.,eds.  Maps, finding our place in the World. (Chicago UP, 2007)  Terrific new survey published in  concert with the Festival of Maps exhibitions held in Chicago and Baltimore in 2007-8.
  3. Wood, Denis. The Power of Maps. (New York, 1992) Landmark text about maps, accompanying an exhibition held at the Cooper-Hewitt and Smithsonian museums in New York and Washington.  Not your Mama’s book on maps!

Online and electronic resources

For an introduction to the online history of cartography community, students should familiarize themselves with the following resources:

  1. Maphist - a list serv maintained by Peter van der Krogt at the University of Utrecht
  2. Map History / History of Cartography - a website maintained by Tony Campbell, retired chief of the map division of the British Library. It justifiably bills itself as THE Gateway to the Subject.