Saturday, October 29th

Mapping American Presidents and Politics

By:Meghan Angelos

Meghan Angelos is a recent University of Chicago graduate with a master’s degree in Art¬ History and a former MacLean Collection intern.  During her time at the MacLean Collection, she discovered the artistic beauty of maps and was one of the curators for the exhibitions at the 2014 and 2015 Chicago International Map Fairs.  This year she returns as the curator for American Presidents and Politics: Selections from the MacLean Collection.  

Land has always been an ¬important part of American history, and American concerns about land are reflected in numerous maps of the developing nation.  Most notably, maps were used in the mid-nineteenth century to both promote and protest political parties and their agendas.  On the eve of the Civil War, these political maps helped Americans visualize information about specific, divisive issues, primarily regarding slavery.  The late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries also saw a rise in government-sponsored mapping projects and the reactions they inspired, including maps of a wide range of topics like the transcontinental railroad, newly formed National Parks, and the so-called Indian Territory.

Meghan will elaborate upon the importance of maps within American political history, in conjunction with the accompanying exhibition.  

The Similarities and Differences Between Restoration and Conservation of Antiquarian Works on Paper

By: The Green Dragon Bindery

Wes and Christine Carpenter, along with a staff of dedicated craftspeople, continue the tradition started by founder “Skip” C. Allen Carpenter. Since 1964, the Green Dragon Bindery has been restoring and conserving all manner of bound and printed material. Over the years, the bindery has expanded its restoration services to include wall maps, globes, instruments and ephemera. Paper, cloth, vellum and leather are naturally perishable materials. It is the bindery’s goal to restore and preserve their beauty and longevity by the most scientific and proven traditions.

Wes Carpenter has worked in paper restoration /conservation for over thirty years. He trained at the Harcourt Bindery in Boston Ma. and studied paper restoration and conservation with Allan Thennan. He has transitioned from apprentice to teacher at the Green Dragon Bindery.


Christine Carpenter has worked at the bindery since 1991. She apprenticed under Wes and Skip Carpenter and currently does the bindery’s wall map restoration along with the day-to-day administration of the business.

Wes and Christine will give a brief talk on the basic definitions and accepted processes on restoration and conservation of paper items and the balance of the two approaches. A question and answer period will follow.

From Plaster to Pixels: Relief Models in Historical Context

By: Melanie McCalmont

Melanie is a University of Wisconsin-Madison graduate with a M.Sci. in Geography and a M.Sci. in Life Science Communication. She is internationally certified in UX, or user experience research and analysis. Additionally, Melanie has over 25 years of practical work experience as a technology designer and science writer in fields of aerospace, utilities, education, and geographic information systems.

Her first book “A Wilderness of Rocks: The Impact of Relief Models on Data Science” (2015) explores the role of relief models in the early formation of modern data science. Her second book (in progress) is a biography of relief map modeler Edwin E. Howell (1845-1911). Other current projects include research with articles for the Library of Congress Map Division, the National Park Service, museum collections, and individual map collectors.

A relief model is a three-dimensional map of a landscape. This lecture focuses on the 19th century beginnings of U.S. commercial relief modeling, an important but overlooked type of mapping that was propelled forward by new cartographic practices, tools, and systematic data collection. Crafted in a time before computers, electricity, or airplanes, relief models were our first realistic three-dimensional view of our home from space. Their beauty also helped a 19th century public to make sense of an ocean of complex new science, and encouraged us to seek patterns and build relationships to the land. The lecture will also cover the chief relief modelers of the time, how their models are being restored and conserved, and show the important connections between historic relief models and today’s computerized geo-spatial imagery.

Mountain Tall, River Long - Comparative Views Come to Life

By: Peter Roehrich

Peter is an author and researcher on comparative views, charming Victorian maps showing the heights of mountains and lengths of rivers. Peter published his first book earlier this year and is working on his second and third now. In his research, he relies on his unique skill set, combining a bachelor's in finance with a master's in biology, along with a passion for data visualization. Peter and his husband live in Maryland.

Comparative views are charming, detail dense, 19th century maps found tucked into many an atlas of the day. And yes, they are maps, even though they're like none you've seen before! They hold answers to the questions above, but their story doesn't end with that. They tell the story of Victorian exploration. They tell us about the world and, just as important, they tell us about our ancestors’ interests. They tell us about the evolution of survey techniques and they ride the wave of early data visualization. Just as relevant today as they were when printed, these little known and underappreciated cartographic wonders don't disappoint.

Walk with me through a survey of some of the key comparative maps, tracing their origins, rise in popularity, and eventual decline. I'll cover the context in which they emerged, the innovative cartographers behind them, the discoveries and feats they document, and how we benefit from them today.

Sunday, October 30th

Map Collecting for Beginners

By: Ashley Baynton-Williams


Ashley Baynton-Williams is a third-generation map-dealer, researcher and author from London, active in the map trade for nearing forty years. In 1999, Ashley and Miles Baynton-Williams co-founded, an internet and print magazine for antique map collectors. Ashley has written numerous books relating to the fields of cartographic history and map collecting, and is a well-respected expert amongst antiquarians worldwide. His talk on map collecting for beginners has received high praise from attendees at the London Map Fair and we are honored to have him speak here in Chicago.


His talk will be conducted as an informal workshop, with question-and-answer, aimed specifically at for new collectors to introduce and explain the basic fundamentals of collecting old maps, so that the collector has the underlying confidence to understand the array of maps on display at the map fair (and elsewhere).


As an informal meeting attendees will have the opportunity to actually handle a selection of original maps, dating from the sixteenth to nineteenth centuries, and throughout, ask questions of an acknowledged expert in the field.


The workshop will be geared towards giving an introduction to the physical "feel" and "look" of old maps: discussing the various printing processes most commonly encountered, notably copper- and steel-engraving, woodcut and lithography, and how to distinguish the them, the types and feel of old paper, including watermarks, platemarks and so on, with particular emphasis on telling the difference between original maps and reproductions; also colouring, print-runs, significance of rarity and so on.

What's My Map Worth?  How to Value Antique Maps

By: Eliane Dotson

Eliane Dotson is the owner of Old World Auctions, an auction house specializing in antique maps.  In her role, she researches, catalogs, and values 2000 maps each year, and also writes a monthly newsletter on various topics related to antique maps.  Eliane is the Vice President of the Washington Map Society and a member of the steering committee of the Fry-Jefferson Map Society at the Library of Virginia.  She has an undergraduate degree in German Literature from Pomona College and an MBA from the Darden Graduate School of Business at the University of Virginia.  

Most of us have maps, either in drawers, framed on a wall, or even in our attics.  Have you ever wondered what your maps are worth?  Join guest speaker Eliane Dotson as she shares secrets of the trade on how to value antique maps.  Learn the difference between various types of values, such as insurance appraisals, dealer prices, and auction estimates.  Discover which key factors most affect the value of a map, such as color, state/edition, published format, and condition.  Find out where to find information on current and historical prices for maps and how to evaluate the validity of the data.  Although valuing antique maps is part art and part science, this lecture will guide collectors, both new and experienced, in better understanding how maps are valued and why some maps are worth more than others.