Wednesday, October 12, 2011

The History of Cartography Project @ UW

Among the many research projects residing at UW-Madison, the History of Cartography Project stands out as having produced the well-received multi-volume History of Cartography series of books about the history of maps, mapping, and mapmaking. Begun by J. B. Harley and David Woodward in the 1980s, the Project is now edited by an international team of scholars who are working on the next three planned volumes to be published by the University of Chicago Press.

Volume 3: Cartography in the European Renaissance, came out as a two-book set in 2007. Four previous volumes have been published (recently available online at : Volume 1: Cartography in Prehistoric, Ancient, and Medieval Europe and the Mediterranean (1987); Volume 2, Book 1: Cartography in the Traditional Islamic and South Asian Societies (1992); Volume 2, Book 2: Cartography in the Traditional East and Southeast Asian Societies (1994); and Volume 2, Book 3: Cartography in the Traditional African, American, Arctic, Australian, and Pacific Societies (1998).

These volumes have become a standard reference not only for their outstanding scholarship, but for their extensive illustrations (over 1,000 images in Volume 3; 80 in color), detailed footnotes, and reference maps. For information about the Project and these volumes, visit the Project’s web site at

As a graduate student who has worked at the Project for nearly 12 years as their Illustrations Editor, I’ve gained excellent experience and research skills in locating images needed for the volumes from archives and libraries worldwide. Given my own interests in this field, which pairs nicely with the history of science, I’ve made numerous professional contacts that will be beneficial to my current and future research.


  1. Thanks for this Dana! I really love these books. I first encountered them while writing a seminar paper on European and Native American mapping back at Montana State. Couldn't have written it without Vol. 2 Book 3!

  2. Thanks, Dana! This project is so cool.

    Vol 1 is where I'm starting research for my fifth diss chapter. @Megan: I'd really like to read your paper ~ whether or not to include Native American mapping practices is, of course, a big question for me. I'm also contemplating a spin-off paper that deals with those issues and presenting it at the AAGs.

  3. I'm little afraid to look at it again-- from my first semester as a history grad student. I had fun writing it, but it could be really bad. I'll try to find it for you.