June 12, 2021

Foundations of Modern Cartography Now Online and in Detail (A New Digital Collection from Ransom Center)

From a Ransom Center Announcement:

The Harry Ransom Center, a humanities research library and museum at The University of Texas at Austin, has introduced an online database for its entire Kraus map collection.

The 36–map collection, acquired in 1969 by Harry Ransom from the New York antiquarian dealer Hans P. Kraus, features a wide range of individual maps of Europe and America, atlases, a rare set of large terrestrial and celestial globes (ca. 1688) produced by the Italian master Vincenzo Coronelli and a group of manuscript letters by Abraham Ortelius.

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Because of size and conservation considerations—some of the maps are as large as 6 by 9 feet—some of these maps have only been seen by a handful of visitors. This digital collection makes it possible for a larger public to examine the collection via the Ransom Center’s website. The maps are all zoom-able, and users can view detailed close-ups of images.

Among the Kraus collection treasures are the maps, atlases and globes produced in the Low Countries during the 16th and 17th centuries by the accomplished cartographers Willem Blaeu (and sons), Gerard Mercator and Abraham Ortelius.

The single most important of these works is Joan Blaeu’s enormous world map “Nova Totius Terrarum Orbis Tabula,” completed in 1648. The Ransom Center’s copy, one of only two known to exist and the only colored copy, survives complete with an accompanying text.

The collection also contains a manuscript map of Virginia that was produced in the earliest period of English settlement in America (ca. 1610). The map’s written legends provide evidence of the attempts of the Virginia Company and the settlers to deal with the Native American tribes. The map is among the earliest of Virginia that survive; only three others from the period of the settlement are known.

Direct to the New Digital Collection

Read the Complete Announcement

About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.

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