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Constellations in Bronze

Below is an image of the constellation Perseus holding the head of Medusa, famous for her serpentine hair.  This chart is from a Russian celestial atlas published in 1829.  I became aware of this unusual atlas while searching for new acquisitions for the collections of Geography and Map Division.  This led me to learn more […]

U.S. Bases in Thailand During the Vietnam War and Agent Orange

Over the years of this writer’s service at the Library of Congress, veterans and their families have sent me questions about maps that show the locations of U.S. forces in Thailand during the Vietnam War. Chief among the reasons that they have sought this information is because some American personnel were exposed to Agent Orange […]

The Los Angeles Oil Boom Through Maps

Los Angeles is world famous for its sunny beaches and Hollywood glamour, but did you know that the California metropolis has a long history as a booming oil city? At both large and small scales, maps help tell the stories of this often forgotten part of the Los Angeles’s past and present. The first commercially […]

Millard Fillmore: Lawyer, President, and Map Collector!

President Millard Fillmore (1800-1874) was elected to the Office of the Vice President of the United States in 1848 and, due to the untimely death of President Zachary Taylor in 1850, Fillmore became the 13th President of the United States. From the standpoint of the Geography and Map Division, however, Millard Fillmore’s most important contribution […]

Map Helps Uncover Civil War Battlefield Tunnels at Petersburg, Virginia

The Union ambitiously tunneled 511 feet to reach the Confederate lines during siege of Petersburg, Virginia, in 1864. Unique to this Civil War battle, they set off a massive explosion that created a 170-by-120-feet crater beneath the Confederate lines and stormed the defenses in a failed effort, known as the Battle of the Crater. Thereafter, the Confederates worried […]

A Cartographic Memento From a Small War

Most historians consider the Italo-Ottoman War, 1911-12, as a prelude to World War I. Although it has fallen into obscurity, some relics, such as this compelling panoramic map of the war’s first major engagement, may revive our interest. Italy’s claims to North Africa were rooted in Roman times. Over the millennia, the provinces of Tripolitania […]