Engaging Users through Social Media

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The AGSL Instagram hit 1,000 followers this December!

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The account began in February 2016, and has since made over 200 posts. Students and staff alike share photo and video content of maps, atlases, globes, nautical charts, historic images, library events, and occasional goings-on about digital data.

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Belle Lipton and Andrea Ballard bring energy and fun to the social media outreach.

The theme of the account reflects many of the prominent themes of the AGS Library’s Collections: travel, adventure, exploration, and the boundless world. Visitors of the page are delighted by celestial globes and atlases depicting the night sky, and artistic flourishes on maps which add embellishment and distinguish the documents as more than mere navigational tools; especially popular are “Map Monsters,” who are scary, or sometimes silly dragon-esque creatures adorning the seas of some of the older maps in the AGS Library’s Collection.

An exciting benchmark for the AGS Library’s social media is a post from this past summer (2017) about Abraham Ortelius’ Map Monsters. The post reached over 1,100 notes on Tumblr!

 

Visitors likewise seem to enjoy maps and graphics which convey messages in unique and beautiful ways; the post with the most love is an image depicting comparative elevation of mountains in North America, coming from the Johnson Family Atlas of the 19th century (155 likes).

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As promised, Stephen got the students an ice cream cake to celebrate reaching 1,000 followers at Instagram. December 20, 2017

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Follow us @agslibrary on Instagram and at agslibrary.tumblr.com on Tumblr.

Instagram Account:

https://www.instagram.com/agslibrary/

Tumblr Account:

https://agslibrary.tumblr.com/

 

And finally, we celebrate the graduation and successful employment of AGSL student cataloging intern Sam Balistreri. Congratulations and best luck as you embark on your career.

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Sam cataloged nearly 3,000 nautical charts while at the AGS Library.
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The 1913 State Highway Map of California

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by Judy Aulik

The moment I first saw this map, I knew it was something very special. California is a somewhat difficult state to map attractively because of its shape. There’s a lot of negative space to fill, and W. Elliott Judge used the expected list of cities and their population. But wait! There’s more! He added the graphic of an outline map with other states included to illustrate its size. Several eastern states’ outlines were twisted and turned to fill the space. It’s clever, and something I’ve never seen before on a road map.

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At first glance, it appears to be bicolored, but then the red highways and wagon trails become evident. [1913ca-legend.jpg] legendHighway scarcity is expected in a 1913 edition.  Confusion, however, is generated by railroad lines not using the convention of crosshatches to represent ties (sleepers). The region around Fresno illustrates how early highways tended to parallel the major railroads of the day, which also were planned to avoid the worst of California’s mountainous terrain. The 1916 edition (not shown) is remarkably similar, except the vast amount of red ink used on highways and proposed highways is clearly identifiable.

The Complete Map Works of San Francisco, Judge’s employer, appears to have only produced California highway maps for a relatively brief period.  The 1913 map appears to be one of the first. Maps drawn by Judge appear in WorldCat, with the last a 1949 Pacific North West edition co-authored with W. Campbell Judge, presumed to be his son. Another Complete Map Works’ map series is the Engineers Official Map of … , which also cover midwestern states into the 1930s.

 

 

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Click here to view this map in the AGS Library Digital Map Collection: https://cdm17272.contentdm.oclc.org/digital/collection/agdm/id/14269/rec/1

 

Polar Exploration and the Hollow Earth

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by Sam Balistreri-Daum

As I continued to catalog the British Admiralty charts this fall I was impressed by the way the AGS Library Nautical Chart collection in many ways shows the progress of exploration, especially in those last frontiers of the planet Earth, the Arctic and Antarctic Polar Regions.  In today’s age of Google Maps and satellite imagery it becomes hard for us to imagine a time when every corner of the Earth was not known or explored.  It still isn’t!  Just think of the deepest parts of the oceans.  So I decided I needed to learn more about what it was like in a time when polar exploration was at its most fervent if not urgent and theories, however crazy, were numerous as to what could be discovered at the poles.

John Blake, in The Sea Chart: The Illustrated History of Nautical Maps and Navigational Charts (2016) gives a concise summary of the attempts to explore and reasons for the exploration of both poles.  Exploration of the northern Polar Regions has a longer history than that of the South Polar Region, which is due to the “discovery” of America and the obsession of European explorers to find a Northwest Passage to Asia and India.  Although a Northwest Passage does technically exist (during certain seasons), it is not a viable and profitable trade route.  Interestingly, much of the exploration of both Arctic and Antarctic regions was made possible by an increased availability of British Naval vessels in the period following the Napoleonic Wars.  Many of the names of ships and personnel responsible for these voyages such as William Parry, Commodore John Ross, Captains George Lyon and Frederick Beechey and His Majesty’s Ships Victory, Investigator and Enterprise to name a few can be found on the British Admiralty charts in the AGS Library collection.  The Antarctic region around the South Pole, though explored much later, inspired much anticipation and excitement among explorers and colonizers as many European nations had far-flung colonial empires.  Many early world maps and atlases, including Ortelius’ Theatrum Orbis Terrarum (1570) depicted large continents at the poles, especially the massive “Terra Incognita Australis” in the South Polar Region.  There was even speculation that this large southern continent would have a temperate climate and would be populated with indigenous plants, animals and people.  Imagine that!  Realistic attempts at coastal exploration of what is today Antarctica did not occur until the Mid-19th Century and was often a byproduct of whaling and seal hunting expeditions.

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Remember how I said there were many theories about unexplored regions of Earth “however crazy”?  Enter John Cleves Symmes (1780-1829), a military captain and veteran of the War of 1812.  A timely listen to an episode of American history / comedy podcast The Dollop introduced me to Symmes and his theory. Symmes even spoke to the AGS in New York about his theory! Here at the AGSL we actually have a copy of The Symmes Theory of Concentric Spheres: Demonstrating That the Earth is Hollow, Habitable Within, and Widely Open about the Poles (1878) compiled by Symmes’ son Americus Symmes. They sure didn’t skimp on the title.  The theory posits that the Earth is “globular, hollow, and open at the poles”, with a northern opening 2,000 miles in diameter and a southern opening that is “somewhat larger” (because why not, right?). The elder Symmes took his theory on the road, beginning in 1818 with an open letter calling for the exploration of the Arctic Polar Region to look for an opening, touring and lecturing until his death in 1829.  Much like the speculation that a southern continent would have a temperate climate and be teeming with plant and animal life, the supposed hollow interior of the Earth according to Symmes would have a moderate climate and an abundance of flora and fauna.  To Symmes and those convinced of his theory, the hollow Earth and its openings explained several phenomena including climate variation among various regions occupying the same latitude (for example temperate Europe vs. cold U.S. and Canada in winter), the Auroras (Borealis and Australis) and the counterintuitive migration patterns of various fish, bird and mammal species and groups of people.  Want proof?  Symmes claimed that looking at the example of Saturn’s Rings (discovered in 1610) proves that concentricity can exist.  He also advanced the notion that not only Earth, but the rest of the planets in the solar system were probably hollow too.  Including the sun!  Needless to say Hollow Earth Theory doesn’t have much traction these days, except on the fringe where theories such as flat earth and the hollow moon (Aliens stole our moon and replaced it with a hollow one to spy on us?! Makes sense…) among others are alive and well.

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The AGS Library is home not only to maps like the nautical charts that I have been working on cataloging during my time here, but a multitude of books, atlases and print materials that can be just as surprising as discovering the Earth is hollow.

 

Sources:

Blake, John. The Sea Chart: The Illustrated History of Nautical Maps and Navigational Charts. Conway/Bloomsbury, 2016.

Symmes, John Cleves. The Symmes Theory of Concentric Spheres: Demonstrating that the Earth is Hollow, Habitable Within, and Widely Open about the Poles/ compiled by Americus Symmes from the writings of his father, Capt. John Cleves Symmes. Bradley & Gilbert, 1878.

“Hollow Earth.” The Dollop from SoundCloud, 14 May 2015, https://soundcloud.com/the-dollop/80-the-hollow-earth

Century of Progress Maps

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by Judy Aulik

Chicago, celebrating an ill-defined centennial, hit the 40th anniversary of its 1892-1893 World’s Columbian Exposition with the Century of Progress fair of 1933-1934. Map publishers went into overdrive to commemorate the first large World’s Fair of the auto tourism era. Oil companies which commissioned these road maps for their gasoline brands include Barnsdall, Conoco, Deep-Rock, Diamond, Gulf, Lubrite, Pennzoil, Pure, Shell, Standard (Indiana), and Vacuum Oil. Both H.H. Gousha and Rand McNally produced many road maps for the occasion: some were essentially Chicago vicinity maps with an inset of the lakefront fair grounds. Some bore specially designed covers, such as those from Barnsdall and Pure. Others showed routes with a symbol celebrating each exhibit hall. Even post card manufacturer Curt Teich published a commemorative road map for its hometown!

But not every attendee drove. Many used the railroads instead. The Chicago & Northwestern Railroad was an obvious choice for those west of the city. However, five electric line stations plus the Illinois Central’s Central Station served the Century of Progress and the museums.

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Although Chicago is a well-planned city, a city map and exhibit map would be welcomed by the tourist. In 1934, Illinois Central Railroad issued a Rand McNally map for this purpose.
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Oddly, this is oriented east-west as opposed to a road map. By this time, the convention of using the top edge of the sheet being north was nearly universal. Lake Michigan comprises its top edge.

The Century of Progress Deco exhibit buildings do not survive, with the exception of a House of Tomorrow, on Beverly Shores, Indiana. Since 1997, the IC rail yards are greatly reduced, and Millennium Park occupies some of the area shown on this map. IC’s Central Station is demolished, but Chicago’s lakefront was returned to the people.

Click here to view the AGS Library copy in the Digital Map Collection

Pikes Peak-Ocean to Ocean Highway

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by Judy Aulik

It’s early days in auto travel. How successful would you believe a transcontinental highway spanning the continent would be? Now, what if you learned that New York City, Baltimore, Columbus, Indianapolis, Salt Lake City, and San Francisco were some of the cities the fledgling highway was routed through? Sounds great, doesn’t it? However, Pikes Peak-Ocean to Ocean Highway (PPOO) emphasized connecting state capitals and county seats.  ppoo-purposeAnd despite the route shown in the 1915 map, it bypassed many of the above.

According to http://www.ppoo.org, the route was so poorly planned that only US 36 overlaid any significant part of the PPOO: Ohio, Illinois, Missouri, and Kansas had sections which later became part of the federal highway system. From the July, 1919 issue of Automobile Journal, we learn that associations  that contributed to the PPOO included the William Penn Highway Association, the Hannibal-Springfield Highway Association, the Hannibal and St. Joseph Cross State Highway Association, The Rock Island Highway Association (Kansas), the Lincoln Highway Association (Colorado), the Overland Trail Club (Nevada),  and the Feather River Route Association (California).
ppoo-illIn its original Illinois routing of the PPOO, only Decatur, an agricultural industry center, and the capital, Springfield, lay on the route. By 1924, both Danville and Urbana wooed the PPOO highway officials into using SBI (State Bond Issue; an early designator for Illinois highways ) 10 as its local path. Since its PPOO days, SBI 10 has had multiple changes to its route. By 1927, Urbana appeared completely prepared for tourism, according to articles in the Urbana Courier and the Daily Illini. There was a significant cluster of automotive service providers on Urbana’s Main Street, now mainly residential. A 1923 tourist camp underwent improvements to its Crystal Lake park location through 1927.

A 1927 map shown on “The Appian Way of America” web page shows how the final route deviated from design. Columbus, Indianapolis, and even San Francisco no longer appeared on the PPOO. Instead, it terminated in Los Angeles. By that time, a motorist could use the straightforward US 66 instead from Chicago westward.

Like so many of the highly logical routes proposed by the National Highway Association, the Pikes Peak-Ocean to Ocean Highway was swerved by civic boosters and emotional appeals. However, the final product never rivaled either the Lincoln Highway or the National  Old Trails Road, later encompassed by US 30 and US 40, respectively, east of the Rockies.

Map from the AGS Library Digital Map Collection
Link to the map in the AGS Library Digital Map Collection: http://cdmprod.uits.uwm.edu/cdm/ref/collection/agdm/id/7054

 

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Link to the FHWA 1927 map: https://www.fhwa.dot.gov/infrastructure/pikes02.cfm

 

 

Planisphere physique by Philippe Buache, 1756

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by Angie Cope

The AGS Library recently acquired a map of the world on a north polar projection.  The map was made by French geographer Philippe Buache (1700-1770) who was one of the first to recognize the importance of watersheds.  Buache trained under the geographer Guillaume Delisle and was married to Delisle’s daughter.

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Planisphere physique, où l’on voit du pole septentrional ce que l’on connoît de terres et de mers avec les Grandges Chaines de Montagnes… vigies / dressée par Phil. Buache ; gravé par Desbruslins. 1756

This map shows mountains and how each flows via rivers to the seas. Buache correctly identified the existence of Alaska and the Bering Strait, years before they were officially discovered.

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On the map he depicts an Antarctic Sea which turned out to be inaccurate.

agsmap023780 antarctic ocean

The AGS Library copy of this map is larger than other known copies at 56 x 74 cm in size (compared to 34 x 46 cm of other maps). The AGS Library map also has “Xs” in the top right and left corners on both the front and back of the map.

agsmap023780 x

The text along the edges describes various expeditions and includes mention of Bouvet de Lozier’s 1738-1739 discovery of icebergs between 200-300 feet high and half a league to 2 or 3 leagues in circumference.

The AGSL copy of this map is available at the UWM Digital Map Collection. Click here to view it in more detail including zoom, pan, etc.

Library of Congress copy can be viewed in more detail here. 

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The 1931 Wadham Road Map

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by Judy Aulik

wad31fcOne of the author’s favorite oil companies to issue road maps is Wisconsin’s own Wadham Oil Company. Founded in 1888, early on it specialized in oils and greases: gasoline had a very limited market in the day.  As highways were built and auto travel became commonplace, an obvious place to advertise was on the road maps nearly every traveler carried.

From the beginning of its gasoline marketing, Wadham produced a superior product called “straight run gasoline,” i.e., the hydrocarbon fraction obtained strictly by distilling petroleum. Compared to other fractions such as kerosene and heating oils, the gasoline suited to automotive use was rare in many oil feedstocks. Petrochemical tricks such as catalytic cracking and reforming were yet to come into use. Therefore, Wadham had to charge a small premium for its gasoline, considered to be a premium product. Indeed, the original gas was designed for a colder climate, and before the mid-1920s, was lead-free.

Wadham capitalized on its reputation by featuring images of country club life and fancy autos on its map covers. Its stations were distinctive even before architect Alexander C. Eschweiler designed his famous “Pagoda” gas stations, outstanding in their exotic nature, yet blending harmoniously in Wisconsin towns and cities.

By the time this map was issued in 1931, Wadham had been purchased by Vacuum Oil Company, precursor to Socony-Vacuum (which eventually became Mobil Oil, and culminated in ExxonMobil)  However, the first three map issues under the new parent remained truer to the Wadham red, black, and yellow color scheme than to its new parent’s. Some Road Map Collectors Association members would debate whether the map shown is a Wadham map or a Milwaukee Journal Tour Club wad31legendtcmap issue. It was obtainable at the Tour Club’s Branch Stations. Fewer would opine that, as the cartographical information is that from the Wisconsin State Highway Commission, it should be considered a state official map.

Wadham’s first reported map was a 1925 issue, which was issued inside a small cardstock cover. At this point, Wadham gasoline stations were part of a Wisconsin Independent Oil Jobbers Association, and photographic evidence shows limited use of the association’s spread eagle trademark and signage. The next map considered by the RMCA to be a Wadham issue dates to 1932. The 1933 map used Langwith cartography; the 1934 cartographer is unknown; and the remainder, issued from 1935-1940, used General Drafting cartography, as did the Socony-Vacuum maps of the era. By 1935, the Mobil Pegasus had replaced the chemical industry imagery of the Wadham signage.

Does anyone else know of Wadham maps from the 1926-1930 range? If so, the author would like to know of their existence in detail.

View this map at UWM’s AGSL Digital Map Collection