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Category: 19th century cartography

Photo of a hand holding a copper plate engraved with a map of Chicago, showing a side view of the thin plate

Fabricating the World: Copperplate Printing

Posted by: Amelia Raines

Copperplate printing was a major method of map production for several hundred years. This post explores the history of printing maps with engraved copper plates, featuring several example maps and photographs of copper plates from the Geography and Map Division collections. This is the first post in a new series about map printing and creation, Fabricating the World.

Detail of manuscript map of part of Henrico and Chesterfield Counties showing topography and some landowners' names.

More Places in Civil War History

Posted by: Amelia Raines

This post is a compilation of┬áthe Places in History series written by G&M staff in 2011 and 2016, which explores maps produced during the Civil War, their creation, and the geography they depict. Previous blog posts based on that series can be seen under Places in Civil War History. Mapping Slavery According to the 1860 …

Southern Lands, Explorers, and Bears – Oh My!

Posted by: Amelia Raines

The story of the naming of America has been told before – not surprisingly considering the object central to the story, Martin Waldseemüller’s 1507 world map, is one of the most important treasures in the Geography and Map Division. The name was bestowed by the mapmaker to show his support for Amerigo Vespucci’s argument that …

Photograph of a small book showing a map unfolded while still attached to the binding of the book. A ruler on the table shows that the unfolded map is longer than 12 inches.

Reading between the Gridlines

Posted by: Amelia Raines

A few weeks ago, I had the wonderful opportunity, thanks to generous funding from the Philip Lee Phillips Society and the Library of Congress Professional Association, to attend the Material Foundations of Map History, 1450-1900, course held by the Rare Book School at the University of Virginia. The course was taught by Matthew Edney, Osher …

Detail of manuscript map of the Bamum kingdom showing mountains, rivers, and roads labeled with Bamum text

Competing Cartographies in Cameroon

Posted by: Amelia Raines

In 1884-85, a group of European dignitaries met in Berlin and delineated the boundaries of French, British, Belgian, Portuguese, Italian, Spanish, and German colonies on the continent of Africa. Lines drawn on the map became administrative reality, and over the next few decades European governments busied themselves with exploring, surveying, and conquering their new territories. One …