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A Year in Review: Newly Scanned Maps of 2017

Every month on our home page, we provide a monthly list of maps that have been scanned and added to the online collections of the Geography and Map Division. To celebrate the end of the year and to ring in the new, I took a look back at the lists of maps that have been scanned this past year and chose just a few to share with you!

In January, a copy of the first map engraved in New England was scanned and placed online. Made in 1677 with north oriented to the right, this map has been attributed to John Foster, who printed William Hubbard’s Narrative of the Troubles with the Indians, in which this map appeared. It is also the first map known to have been published in the English colonies of North America.

A map of New-England, being the first that ever was here cut... John Foster and William Hubbard, 1677. Geography and Map Division, Library of Congress.

A map of New-England, being the first that ever was here cut… John Foster and William Hubbard, 1677. Geography and Map Division, Library of Congress.

A map from the April scan list also grabbed my attention. In 1831, Joseph Hutchins Colton founded a map making company in New York City which became internationally renowned. I first paused at this map, published in 1855 by J.H. Colton & Company, due to the unexpected spelling of “Kanzas.” At the time, Kansas and neighboring Nebraska were newly established territories of the United States, with each of them becoming states in the 1860s. The name “Kansas” derives from the Kaw Nation, a Native American tribe indigenous to the region that is also known as the “Kanza.” In addition to this interesting toponym, as I looked closer at the map, I enjoyed looking at the fine details and the intricate shading of the map.

Nebraska and Kanzas. J.H. Colton & Co., 1855. Geography and Map Division, Library of Congress.

Nebraska and Kanzas. J.H. Colton & Co., 1855. Geography and Map Division, Library of Congress.

The collections of the Geography and Map Division have a global reach, as exemplified in the maps below that caught my eye. The beautifully illustrated Chinese Lighthouse Chart, published by H.C. Müller in 1894, was compiled from British Admiralty charts and shows not only the ranges of visible light from lighthouses along the China coast, but also the patterns of the light signals. The other map below, titled A New and exact mapp of the island of Jamaica, was published in 1684 by Charles Bochart and Humphrey Knollis. With the high-resolution scans available, I can zoom in close and appreciate the level of detail that can be seen in both maps.

Chinese lighthouse chart. H.C. Müller, 1894. Geography and Map Division, Library of Congress.

Chinese lighthouse chart. H.C. Müller, 1894. Geography and Map Division, Library of Congress.

A new & exact mapp of the island of Jamaica... Charles Bochart and Humphrey Knollis, 1684. Geography and Map Division, Library of Congress.

A new & exact mapp of the island of Jamaica… Charles Bochart and Humphrey Knollis, 1684. Geography and Map Division, Library of Congress.

No collection of highlights of this year’s newly scanned items would be complete without including the Codex Quetzalecatzin, an extremely rare Mesoamerican manuscript. Read all about this incredible piece in our Worlds Revealed blog post on the codex from November.

Take a look yourself through what has been scanned this year or check back every month of the new year for an updated list of the scanned items added to the online collections of the Geography and Map Division. With over 6 million maps in the collection, including the newly scanned panoramic map below, there is still plenty of scanning to do in the coming year!

Bath, N.Y., 1878, from Mossy Bank. W.W. Denslow and C.J. Corbin, 1878. Geography and Map Division, Library of Congress.

Bath, N.Y., 1878, from Mossy Bank. W.W. Denslow and C.J. Corbin, 1878. Geography and Map Division, Library of Congress.

The Codex Quetzalecatzin comes to the Library of Congress

Writing is a strange invention. One might suppose that its emergence could not fail to bring profound changes in the conditions of human existence…                                                                           –Claude Levi-Strauss, Tristes Tropiques Time and money are spent in collecting the remains […]

Celebrating Waldseemuller’s Carta Marina at 500: A Conference at the Library of Congress

Conference Celebrating the 500th Anniversary of Martin Waldseemüller’s 1516 Carta Marina. Keynote address by award winning author and historian of science Dava Sobel. A two-day conference hosted by the Geography and Map Division at the Library of Congress will celebrate the 500th anniversary of Martin Waldseemüller’s Carta Marina, one of the great masterpieces of Renaissance […]

Virtual Archaeology: Seeing the Kislak Pre-Columbian Collection in 3D

The following is a guest post by Helena Arose, Junior Fellow in the Geography and Map Division, who worked with the Pre-Columbian objects of the Jay I. Kislak Collection of the Archaeology and History of the Early Americas during the summer of 2016. Helena has done fieldwork on Cyprus and is currently an archaeology student […]

History of Cuba Through Maps Lecture at Library of Congress May 13

Today’s post is from Ryan Moore, a Cartographic Specialist in the Geography & Map Division. Architect and urban planner Julio César Pérez-Hernández will discuss the history of Cuba through cartography on May 13, 2016 at the Library of Congress. “Islands in the Stream: Cuban Maps from the Past to the Future” will take place from […]

What Shade the Stone: Some Late Night Thoughts on Color and Curation in Archaeology

The Jay I. Kislak Collection of the Archaeology and History of the Early Americas became part of the Geography and Map Division several years ago and contains Pre-Columbian archaeological objects, maps, like Waldseemüller’s famous 1516 Carta Marina, and manuscripts and rare books relating to the earliest history of America. The dates of the collection span […]

Rare Spanish manuscript map showing the western borders of the Louisiana Purchase arrives at the Library of Congress

Today’s guest post is by Anthony Páez Mullan, a cartographic reference specialist in the Geography and Map Division at the Library of Congress. He specializes in the historical cartography of Latin America, the Caribbean, and the Iberian Peninsula and is a co-author of the “Luso-Hispanic World in Maps.” The Library of Congress recently acquired an important […]

Name Your Poison: Glyphic Designs on Maya Miniature Flasks in the Jay I. Kislak Collection

Today’s guest post was written by Graham Atkinson, a Research Volunteer in the Geography and Map Division, who works with the Pre-Columbian objects in the Jay I. Kislak Collections. He received his doctorate in mathematics from Oxford University, and has spent most of his career applying mathematical and statistical techniques to health care. Graham also […]

Charting the Gulf Stream

Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790) noticed something odd as Deputy Postmaster General for the American colonies in London: mail took much longer travelling west across the Atlantic than it did travelling east. Several weeks longer, in fact. In a 1746 letter, Franklin ascribes this anomaly to an effect of the Earth’s rotation, making an eastward journey faster […]

In Maudslay’s Shadow: Imaging Pre-Columbian Mesoamerica

The Library of Congress’ Geography and Map Division is home to a large collection of Pre-Columbian archaeological artifacts donated by the collector Jay I. Kislak, many of which are on display as part of the Exploring the Early Americas Exhibit in the Thomas Jefferson Building here in Washington, DC. The artifacts that make up the […]