Hermon Dunlap Smith Center for the History of Cartography Programs | Newberry

Hermon Dunlap Smith Center for the History of Cartography Programs

Detail from T.D. Parkinson

Detail from T.D. Parkinson. Map of the Comstock Lode and the Washoe mining claims… 1875. Graff 3200.

The Hermon Dunlap Smith Center for the History of Cartography offers a variety of programs, including lectures, conferences, workshops, seminars, institutes, fellowships, and occasional exhibitions. These activities advance the study of the history of cartography and promote the use of the Newberry’s extensive cartographic collections by a diverse constituency of scholars, teachers, and the general public.

Held every three years since 1966, the Kenneth Nebenzahl, Jr., Lectures bring together scholars from a wide variety of fields for a series of lectures examining emerging themes in the history of cartography and in 2016 the Smith Center celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Nebenzahl Lectures. This November the Newberry Library is hosting the 20th Nebenzahl Lectures on 1919 and the history of cartography.

The Newberry also hosts the monthly meetings of the Chicago Map Society. Founded in 1976, this independent society of map enthusiasts is the oldest map society in North America.

To explore digital and gallery exhibitions at the Newberry, see Exhibitions on the History of Cartography.

The Smith Center frequently organizes summer institutes and seminars for K-12 teachers or college and university faculty, supported by the National Endowment for the Humanities. Summer scholars participating in these programs explore themes in the history of cartography and related fields through programs of lectures, reading, seminar discussion, and research. In summer 2016, the Smith Center hosted an NEH Summer Seminar entitled “Mapping, Text, and Travel” and in summer 2018, the Smith Center hosted the seminar “Reading Material Maps in the Digital Age.” This summer, the Smith Center will host an NEH Summer Seminar aimed at college and university faculty, “Material Maps in the Digital Age. To learn more, visit the page NEH Summer Programs. Center staff also lead workshops in map study under in collaboration with the Newberry’s Programs for Teachers.

Upcoming Programs

Thursday, November 7, 2019Saturday, November 9, 2019
Center for the History of Cartography Programs
Free and open to the public. Registration required.
1919 was a year of heightened map production around the world. ‎Among the many maps produced immediately after the First World War were new maps drawn to preserve the peace. These maps reflect the instability and the experimentation of a world attempting to solve the problems that had led to four years of devastating war.
Thursday, November 21, 2019
Center for the History of Cartography Programs
The Chicago Map Society's November Meeting
It’s all about “Location, Location, Location” and the word ‘Chicago’ has referred to at least three geographic locations, multiple rivers and creeks, and two portage routes, begging the question, What if our Chicago isn’t really Chicago?
Thursday, December 19, 2019
Center for the History of Cartography Programs
The Chicago Map Society's December Meeting
We hope that you will join us for our annual Holiday Gala, which will feature an especially full smorgasbord of holiday treats for your dining and drinking pleasure. We will continue our tradition of pairing this party with our “Members’ Night,” which allows our members to showcase a special item in their personal collections.
Thursday, January 16, 2020
Center for the History of Cartography Programs
The Chicago Map Society's January Meeting
Take a trip around the planet to discover the cultural and historical backstories behind some of the most unusual international and interstate borders on the map!
Thursday, March 19, 2020
Center for the History of Cartography Programs
The Chicago Map Society's March Meeting
George Ritzlin, a founding member of the Chicago Map Society, will return with the second half of his two-part presentation on map collecting. In his first presentation, George explained how to determine the authenticity of an antique map and explored the process of paper production, printing, coloring and atlas assembly.
Thursday, April 16, 2020
Center for Renaissance Studies Programs
The Chicago Map Society's April Meeting
Please join us for a special joint presentation between the Chicago Map Society and The Center for Renaissance Studies at the Newberry. The Newberry Library owns a copy of the 1550 edition of Sebastian Münster’s Cosmographia. This book is a groundbreaking description of the world that was published in Basel from 1544 to 1628 by Münster’s stepson Heinrich Petri and his sons.
Thursday, May 21, 2020
Center for the History of Cartography Programs
The Chicago Map Society's May Meeting
The Midwest is a region that’s difficult to define, especially to those that reside outside of America’s heartland. What states are included? Does the idea of the Midwest change over time? What does it mean to be Midwestern? Fellow CMS member Amanda Murphyao explores possible definitions of the region in her presentation on carto-caricatures of the Midwest.
Thursday, June 18, 2020
Center for the History of Cartography Programs
The Chicago Map Society's June Meeting
In June, we will take our annual field trip to the MacLean Collection in Lake Forest, Illinois. The MacLean Collection is one of the premier map destinations in the United States, with close to 40,000 individual items, and we’re grateful for their generosity in sharing their collection.