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Mapping Alpinist Elephants

As one of the curators of the largest map library on the planet, there are times when one comes across a map that just strikes you as unique, not only as piece of cartography, but also as a monument to the obsessions of antiquarians of the past, the present, and the future. Several days ago […]

Mr. Dürer Comes to Washington

In  the cool summer of 1901,  a Jesuit priest named Joseph Fischer was searching through the small libraries found in the country houses and ancient castles of the old noble families that dot the German hinterlands. One day, in the tower of one of those castles, tucked deep into the forest outside the tiny village of Wolfegg, he happened upon a book that […]

Of Maps and Data

There is no rule saying that maps need to be flat. Or on paper. Maps can be just about anything. They can take any shape, size, or form. They can be drawn, printed, carved, built, traced, tattooed, remotely sensed, or exist completely in your head. They can be a snapshot of a moment in time […]