The Prime Meridian

An Annotated List of Reference Books for the Antiquarian Map Collector

by Joel Kovarsky © 2005-2010


A beginner’s guide, while useful, is always a bit problematic. What does one include? What sort of space limitation should apply? How detailed and academic should the resources be? How many languages should be tackled? My own fascination with old maps developed for a number of reasons, including ties to history, science, art, cartography, astronomy, printing, typography, papermaking, how knowledge is used and distributed, and more. There are a myriad of approaches to take for both the collector and scholar.

The purpose of this brief paper is straightforward. It is to help one get acquainted. I have divided the references into four major categories: basic introductory texts (for collecting and the history of cartography), continental references, the art of cartography (not just aesthetics), and the science of cartography. I would urge the reader to take a close look at each category, as some of the regional material has references clearly applicable to the general history of cartography. There are other ways to organize or expand the list of subjects covered, such as adding references to mapping of individual cities, states, military cartography, or a number of other areas. The list of potential reference works, covering virtually the entire globe, is quite large and could accommodate a separate monograph. Journal articles are not considered here, although a couple of good online overviews include Matthew Edney's Recent Trends in the History of Cartography and Robert Karrow's Concise Bibliography of the History of Cartography. The former is limited to English language references and the latter was written in 1997, though still quite useful.

Due to space limitations, a significant number of intellectually valuable and interesting books have been omitted, and please accept my sincere apology for that. ISBNs have not been included, again to limit length. I have tried to include references that are easily accessible, in terms of language and scope, for the general reader. The specialists and experienced collectors can largely fend for themselves. Most of the selections are in English, to allow for broad general international use. It is understood that this approach may be subject to justifiable criticism, although several non-English publications are included. I have not focused on listing first editions. The books are listed with their titles first, which is intentional, though not the usual bibliographic convention.

You will notice that the materials presented represent a wide range of publishing houses. Some houses, however, appear more consistently than others: Theatrum Orbis Terrarum (Nico Israel; no longer active), The British Library, the University of Chicago Press, HES & DE GRAF, and Martino Publishing. Their ongoing involvement is quite impressive, and one hopes to be continued. This is not to slight the excellent works of other publishers.

Many of these listed books are modestly priced, and approximations are listed in parentheses. [Note: Some of the estimated prices for out-of-print items will undoubtedly be too low, given the changing marketplace.] As to finding the individual volumes, the two most likely places to obtain new or used copies would be Abebooks and Amazon. Most are readily available, even if a bit expensive. Developing an extensive personal reference library can become costly, and many of the finer, multi-volume editions may be beyond the budgets of most collectors. Still, it is important to know of their existence as reference sources.

A few of the references are quite scarce, but are included for reasons discussed below. This list is unquestionably subjective, but I hope and believe it covers enough to get people started. I have intentionally ignored most of the resources available on the Internet, but there are a couple of general sites that I will mention, due to their scope and ease of use, as a supplement to the texts below. These sites are: Oddens' Bookmarks, Map History, and A Digital Travelers' Guide for Map Collectors.

Introductory Texts

A. General Collecting

Collecting Old Maps ($200 ) by Frank Manasek: Terra Nova Press, 1998 – This readable text is nearly requisite for anyone interested in collecting old maps, both as an introductory and a reference text. There are sections on terminology, old paper, building a collection, market factors and more. This is now out of print, hard to find, and prices have risen substantially.

Collecting Antique Maps ($25) by Jonathan Potter: London, 2001 (revised edition, with price guide) – This is a pleasant book, originally issued in 1988, and containing many color illustrations, and a rough price guide in the rear. It would complement Manasek’s book. (As to the price guide itself, there are better references, particularly the Antique Map Price Record listed below).

Antique Maps ($20) by Carl Moreland and David Bannister: Phaidon Press Limited, 1993 (3d edition; first paperback) – At 326 pages, this is a heftier volume than the two listed above. It tends to focus on individual cartographers and their works, although there is a 60 page initial section on map-making, and a short section late in the book on forming a collection. It would also be a useful supplement to Manasek’s book, although as general list of map makers, it is not as comprehensive as the four volume revised edition of Tooley’s Dictionary of Mapmakers, listed below. There is a truncated online version

Antique Map Price Record ($149 initial; $50 annual updates) – This is the CD-ROM edition, continued and compiled by Jeremy Pool, and based on the Rosenthal’s earlier print publication (itself predicated on earlier volumes by Jolly). This is, in my opinion, the most useful of the price guides (includes both retail and auction records), keeping in mind its self-stipulated limitations. It also provides a list of international antiquarian map dealers. See MapRecord.

Tooley’s Dictionary of Mapmakers (revised edition; four volumes; $115-$150 each) edited by Josephine French, Valerie Scott, Mary Alice Lowenthal, Elisabeth Perry: MapCollector Publications and Early World Press, 1999-2004 – This set was issued serially, hence there is variation in publishers and editors across the set. These volumes are an invaluable general reference source. They are based on Tooley’s earlier, though much more limited, work.

British Map Engravers: A Dictionary of Engravers, Lithographers and Their Principal Employers to 1850 ($130) by Laurence Worms and Ashley Baynton-Williams: Rare Book Society, 2011. This is a valuable and detailed reference tool.

Miniature Antique Maps ($75) by Geoffrey King: Tooley, Adams & Co., 2003 (second, revised edition) – This has been extensively updated, and is really the only work of its kind on the subject.

Maps: A Historical Survey of Their Study and Collecting ($10) by RA Skelton: University of Chicago Press, 1975. This is the paperback edition. The hardcover, only slightly more expensive, was issued in 1972. These essays were originally given as the first series of Nebenzahl Lectures in conjunction with the Newberry Library. Skelton was a distinguished scholar and devotee of map collecting.

Magazines for Map Collectors – The IMCOS Journal, currently edited by Valerie Newby, is the quarterly publication of the International Map Collectors Society, and is mailed to all members ($65 per year). There is a printed index, available by request, for the years 1980 (first year of publication) through 1994. The Portolan ($35 per year) is issued three times a year, and is currently edited by Tom Sander. This is the journal of the Washington Map Society. The subscription is included with membership. Back issues to 1984, when it first appeared, are fully indexed online. MapForum, Mercator’s World, The Map Collector and Map Collectors Circle are all out of print, though back issues may be available from a variety of sources.

B. History of Cartography

The History of Cartography ($150 and up; multi-volume) edited by David Woodward, JB Harley and others: University of Chicago Press 1987 (volume I) – This is an ongoing, multi-volume, multi-authored and scholarly collaboration. It is hard to overestimate the importance of this work, and it may be of use in virtually every category listed below. It is expensive (but a real value), as each of the volumes (currently four: one for vol. I and three for vol. II) is priced individually. This has generally replaced older histories as the most cited reference source of its kind, although admittedly some of the earlier histories are shorter and less expensive. Volume III (2 vols.), on the cartography of the Renaissance, is now available. Volumes I and II are now available online at no charge.

Imago Mundi ($66 per annum for personal subscriptions) is currently edited by Catherine Delano Smith: Taylor & Francis Ltd.– Although this is an academic journal, issued semiannually, I have included it here because it is the most widely recognized and quoted of the genre. There is an added benefit of individual subscription, which allows full search access to all back issues online via JSTOR, excluding the last 4 years. The quality of the ongoing bibliography included in the journal is very hard to match.

The Mapping of the World ($300 for 4th edition) by Rodney W. Shirley: Early World Press Ltd., 2001 – This nearly indispensable reference source was first issued in 1984, and those first edition issues have become collectors’ items. There are many illustrations, with extensive bibliographic notes. A listing of recent (through early 2011) Corrigenda & Addenda is accessible.

Maps in the Atlases of the British Library - A Descriptive Catalogue c. 850-1800 (about $400 for the two volume set plus the accompanying CD) by Rodney W. Shirley: British Library Publishing, 2004. This will immediately become a major reference source for all who have an interest in old maps. As with many newer reference works, this is not inexpensive, but certainly a major value for what it represents.

The Sovereign Map - Theoretical Approaches in Cartography through History. ($60) by Christian Jacob (translated by Tom Conley; edited by Edward H. Dahl): University of Chicago Press, 2006. This is a detailed and scholarly overview, based on Jacob's L'Empire des Cartes: Approche théorique de la cartographie à travers l'histoire published in 1992 by Bibliothèque Albin Michel Histoire.

The Bibliography of Cartography ($1500 ; 7 volume set) by the Library of Congress Geography and Map Division: GK Hall, 1973 (original 5 volumes) and 1980 (supplements). This is a standard and extensive reference source, particularly for the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Maps & Civilization – Cartography in Culture and Society, Third Edition ($25) by Norman JW Thrower: University of Chicago Press, 2008. This is an excellent single volume outlining the history of cartography.

Maps: Finding Our Place in the World ($55) edited by James R. Akerman and Robert W. Karrow Jr: University of Chicago Press (Co-published with the Field Museum), 2007. The is a thoughtful, readable, single-volume general introduction to the history of cartography. It is organized around the major themes of the exhibition at the Field Museum as part of the 2007 Chicago Festival of maps. The book is written for a general audience. Contributors, in addition to the editors, include Denis Cosgrove, Matthew H. Edney, Susan Schulten, Michael Friendly and Gilles Palsky, Ricardo Padrón, and Diane Dillon.

Geography and Vision: Seeing, Imagining and Representing the World (International Library of Human Geography) ($85) by Denis Cosgrove: I. B. Tauris, 2008. This collection of essays by the late Denis Cosgrove is an example of his extraordinary intellectual range. [Note: A less expensive paperback edition is available.]

A List of Geographical Atlases in the Library of Congress ($600 for 9 vol. reprint set) by Philip Lee Phillips and Clara Egli LeGear: Martino Publishing (1995; first volume). This is a very useful reference set detailing these extensive holdings. It is available in most major libraries. The first editions are increasingly scarce and expensive. Even the reprint is a limited edition.

The Power of Maps ($10) by Denis Wood: Guilford Press, 1992. This is an inexpensive, readable, and entertaining look at the utilities and biases of maps, with focus on their use as communicative devices and political tools.

Rethinking the Power of Maps ($27) by Denis Wood with John Fels and John Krygier: Guilford Press, 2010.

The Natures of Maps: Cartographic Constructions in the Natural World ($49) by Denis Wood and John Fels: University of Chicago Press, 2008. This attractive and interesting book emphasizes the social constructs--the agendas and intentions of the mapmakers--affecting maps of the physical world, i.e of nature. There is a good bit of discussion predicated on concepts arising from "cognitive linguistics," and in spite of the many colorful illustrations, this is no coffee-table book.

The Story of Maps ($8) by Lloyd Brown: Little Brown, 1949. This is an early, yet still useful and readable introduction to the history of cartography. It should not be substituted for familiarity with more modern and scholarly works. This is readily available, and a paperback reprint was done by Dover in 1979.

Tales from the Map Room - Fact and Fiction about Maps and Their Makers ($35) by Peter Barber and Christopher Board: BBC Press, 1993. This is predicated on the BBC series, and is a nice introduction to the subject. Peter Barber is now the Head Librarian for the British Library map collections.

Magnificent Maps - Power, Propaganda, and Art ($45) by Peter Barber and Tom Harper: The British Library, 2010. This is the companion volume for an exhibit of the same name. This is a well-conceived volume discussing the history of wall maps that were intended to be displayed vertically and intended to visually impress, whether for royal patrons, wealthy merchants, or schools.

Maps and History – Constructing Images of the Past ($10) by Jeremy Black: Yale University Press, 1997. This is a scholarly and readable treatise on the development and role of the historical atlas.

Maps and Politics ($35) by Jeremy Black: University of Chicago Press, 1997. There is a less expensive paperback version issued later. This is another scholarly work by the author, dealing with the intersection of politics and cartography.

How to Lie with Maps ($10) by Mark Monmonier: University of Chicago Press, 1996. This is one of a number of thought provoking books by this author, most of which focus on twentieth century mapping.

The New Nature of Maps – Essays in the History of Cartography ($20) by JB Harley (edited by Paul Laxton with an introduction by JH Andrews): The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2001. This is quite a nice set of Harley’s influential essays, which drew on an extensive background of art, philosophy, literature and more. In addition to the individual essays, Andrews' introduction is excellent, giving added perspective to what might be called Harley's "cartographic philosophy".

A History of Spaces - Cartographic Reason, Mapping and the Geo-Coded World ($40) by John Pickles: Routledge, 2004. This intellectually wide-ranging work links the worlds of cartography and social theory.

Envisioning the City: Six Studies in Urban Cartography ($50) edited by David Buisseret: University of Chicago Press, 1998. This is another in the series of Nebenzahl Lectures, this time covering the cartographic history of the city plan from ancient China to an early 20th century plan of Chicago. The relationship between military architecture and urban design is discussed.

The Commerce of Cartography: Making and Marketing Maps in Eighteenth-Century France and England ($40) by Mary Sponberg Pedley, University of Chicago Press, 2005. This newly released book detail the commercial elements of map production in Europe are an extension of Pedley’s earlier writings, and based on her 2001 presentation at the Nebenzahl Lectures (Newberry Library). This crosses several disciplines including history, cartography, geography and economics.

Cartographies of Travel and Navigation ($55) edited by James R. Akerman, University of Chicago Press, 2006. This is based on the 1996 Nebenzahl Lectures (Newberry Library). The essays examine the historical relationship between travelers, navigation, and maps. Contributors include James R. Akerman, Catherine Delano-Smith, Andrew S. Cook, Jerry Musich, Ralph E. Ehrenberg, and Robert L. French.

Mapping Time and Space – How Medieval Mapmakers Viewed Their World ($75) by Evelyn Edson: The British Library, 1997. There is a less expensive paperback edition. This is an extensive review, ranging from the eighth through the fourteenth century.

Medieval Views of the Cosmos ($25) by Evelyn Edson and Emilie Savage-Smith: Bodleian Library (Oxford): 2005. This is based on the Bodleian’s fall 2004 exhibit, which was subtitled: Mapping Earth and Sky at the time of the 'Book of Curiosities' ". (Note: The Bodleian Library in collaboration with The Oriental Institute, University of Oxford, has published an online version of The Book of Curiosities of the Sciences and Marvels for the Eyes.)

The World Map, 1300–1492: The Persistence of Tradition and Transformation ($50) by Evelyn Edson: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2007. Published in cooperation with the Center for American Places, Santa Fe, New Mexico, and Staunton, Virginia. This important book traces the history of the world map during a period of major transformations in mapping technologies, and concluding with the early era of the printed map.

Sea Charts of the Early Explorers – 13th to 17th Centuries ($200) by du Jourdin and La Roncire: Thames and Hudson, 1984. This is a scarce but scholarly work, well referenced. This is the first English edition, of a work originally issued in French in the same year (Les Portulans – Cartes Marines…), but published in Switzerland.

Finding Their Way at Sea: The Story of Portolan Charts, the Cartographers Who Drew Them and the Mariners Who Sailed by Them ($59.95) by Richard Pflederer: HES & DE GRAAF Publishers BV, 2012. This is a well-produced general reference by an acknowledged expert. The US distributor is Oak Knoll Press.

Portolan Charts: The Medieval Representation of a Ploughed Sea (Les Cartes Portolanes: La Representació Medieval d’una Mar Solcada) ($135) by Ramon J. Pujades: Institut Cartogràfic de Catalunya; Institut d’Estudis Catalans, Institut d’Estudis de la Mediterrània, 2007. This is a new and academically detailed study of these charts, written in Spanish and English, with an accompanying DVD.

A Critical Re-examination of Portolan Charts with a Reassessment of Their Replication and Seaboard Function by Tony Campbell. This is a freely accessible online monograph, initially mounted on the web in March 2011, with periodic updates.

Encyclopedia of Exploration ($200 per vol.; 3 vols. to date) by Raymond Howgego: Hordern House 2002 for vol. 1, 2004 for vol. 2, 2006 for vol. 3. This is an extensive reference source dealing with various explorers and more. Volume 1 goes to 1800, volume 2 covers from 1800 to 1850, and volume 3 from 1850 to 1940.

Historical Atlases - The First Three Hundred Years 1570-1870 ($65) by Walter Goffart: University of Chicago Press, 2003. This is quite a detailed and scholarly presentation, not aimed at the casual reader. It actually begins earlier, with an early 15th century translation of Ptolemy.

Ancient Perspectives: Maps and Their Place in Mesopotamia, Egypt, Greece, and Rome ($65) edited by Richard A. Talbert: University of Chicago Press, 2012. This is another of the Newberry Library's Nebenzahl Lecture series.

The Continents

A. Africa

Norwich’s Maps of Africa – An Illustrated and Annotated Cartobibliography ($200) by Oscar Norwich: Terra Nova Press, 1997. This is the current reference standard for the subject, based largely on the author’s own collection. It is not an encyclopedic work.

Collector`s Guide to the Maps of the African Continent and Southern Africa ($125) by RV Tooley: Carta Press, 1969. This is a relatively early, uncommon, and detailed reference work.

Africa on Maps Dating from the Twelfth to Eighteenth Century ($500) by Egon Klemp: Rudolf Uhlisch 1968. This is a richly illustrated reference work, and very hard to find. The English editions are even more expensive (the one quoted here is the German issue). There are 77 maps with bibliographic details in this volume.

Africa: A Guide to Reference Material ($80) edited by John McIlwaine: Hans Zell, 1993. This has extensive references pertaining to maps, albeit inherently more recent as the focus is not solely on antiquarian material.

The Mapping of Africa: A Cartobibliography of Printed Maps of the African Continent from 1508 to 1700 ($220) by Richard Betz: HES & De Graaf Publishers B.V., 2007. This cartobibliography systematically categorizes and describes all printed maps showing the entire African continent to 1700. This includes a detailed review of 150 distinctly different maps of Africa, with 300 illustrations and an extensive review of the literature. The introduction includes information about the mapping of Africa before 1508, important world maps which include Africa, and a discussion of the major cartographic models developed for this book. Corrigenda and Addenda for this work are posted online.

B. Americas

The Mapping of North America – A List of Printed Maps 1511-1670 ($240) by Philip Burden: Raleigh Publications, 1996. This has become one of the standard references on the subject. This is well illustrated (all 410 entries) with extensive bibliographic details. Volume two, encompassing maps from 1671-1700, was published in 2007. Mr. Burden is now posting Corrigenda and Addenda online for volumes one and two.

A Carto-Bibliography of the Maps in Eighteenth-Century British and American Geography Books by Barbara McCorkle: KU ScholarWorks (University of Kansas), 2009. A PDF file of this book may be downloaded at no charge via "This cartobibliography contains descriptions of approximately 6700 maps found in 470 books."

The Mapping of America ($30) by Seymour Schwartz and Ralph Ehrenberg: Harry N. Abrams, 1980. This is also a standard, if slightly aged, reference. Given its more narrative style, it would complement Burden’s work. The availability of a reprint edition has helped keep the price down.

Mapping a Continent - Historical Atlas of North America 1492-1814 ($75) by Raymonde Litalien, Jean-François Palomino, and Denis Vaugeois: Septentrion (McGill-Queens University Press), 2007. This is very well-written and colorfully illustrated, and also issued in French. The sections are divided chronologically by century. There is a bit of material, including John Melish's 1816 map of the United States, that extends past the 1814 cutoff date in the title, but that is not a criticism. Although one might wish for a more extensive bibliography, there are lists of "main sources" and this is more than a coffee-table book.

The Geographic Revolution in Early America - Maps, Literacy, & National Identity ($22 for paperback) by Martin Brückner: The University of North Carolina Press, 2006. Published for the Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture; jointly sponsored by the College of William and Mary and the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation. The author is an associate professor of English at the University of Delaware. This is an impressive cross disciplinary study that tackles the interrelated nuances of geographical literacy, map use and national identity from 1690 to 1825.

Maps and Charts Published in America before 1800 – A Bibliography ($80) by Carl Wheat and Christian Brun: Yale University Press, 1969. A reprint edition is also available. This is a standard reference focused just on those maps done by American publishers.

Maps and Charts of North America and the West Indies 1750-1789 ($80) by John R. Sellers and Patricia Molen van Ee: The Library of Congress, 1981. A reprint edition is also available. This is another standard reference for the period maps of this region.

Mapping the Trans-Mississippi West ($750) by Carl Wheat: Martino Publishing, 1995. This is the reprint of the original 5 volume set, here in 6 volumes. The earlier and original edition (1957-63) is quite pricey. This is a standard reference work on its subject, extending from the first Spanish explorations through various government geological surveys.

American Maps and Mapmakers – Commercial Cartography in the Nineteenth Century ($250) by Walter Ristow: Wayne State University Press, 1985. This is a readable and careful history of the subject.

A List of Maps of America in the Library of Congress ($75) by Philip Lee Phillips: Theatrum Orbis Terrarum, 1967. This is an extensive (1137 pp) reference list of these holdings, and is a reprint of the 1901 edition. Obviously, the library’s holdings are much larger now. (**Note: Although no longer an active publishing firm, Theatrum Orbis Terrarum/Nico Israel had issued many fine facsimiles and reprint volumes pertaining to the history of cartography and exploration. A comprehensive list of these publications is beyond the scope of this brief work.)This is a minimalist list, in terms of the details of provided, and is in sore need of extensive revision, something not likely to occur in the near future. The reprint of Phillips and Le Gear's nine volume Geographical Atlases in the Library of Congress is a bit more useful and up to date, with a handy index in volume nine.

A Catalogue of Maps of Hispanic America Including Maps in Scientific Periodicals and books and Sheet and Atlas Maps ($130) issued by the American Geographical Society, 1930. This is an extensive reference source, issued in four volumes.

Views and Viewmakers of Urban America: Lithographs of Towns and Cities in the United States and Canada, Notes on the Artists and Publishers, and a Union Catalog of Their Work, 1825-1925 ($65) by John Reps: University of Missouri Press, 1984. This is an exhaustive review of the subject.

Charting Louisiana - Five Hundred Years of Maps ($95) edited by Alfred Lemmon, John McGill and Jason Wiese: University of Chicago Press (Distributed for the Historic New Orleans Collection), 2003. This has 193 high quality of important regional maps dating from the sixteenth century onward. It was a collaborative effort between the Historic New Orleans Collection and the Library of Congress, with John R. Hébert acting as consulting editor from the latter institution.

Degrees of Latitude – Mapping Colonial America ($85) by Margaret Pritchard and Henry Taliaferro: Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, 2002. This is based on the collections in Colonial Williamsburg. It is a very detailed historical discussion, with many wonderful illustrations.

New England in Early Printed Maps 1513 to 1800 ($200) by Barbara McCorkle (with forward by Edward Dahl): The John Carter Brown Library, 2001. This is a detailed and authoritative reference work, listing nearly 800 maps.

Virginia in Maps - Four Centuries of Settlement, Growth, and Development ($90) edited Richard Stephenson and Marianne McKee: The Library of Virginia, 2000. This is an excellent, multiauthored production, literally ranging from "saddlebags to satellites" (borrowed from chapter title in book). This is a major resource regarding early colonial mapping.

The Southeast in Early Maps ($95) by William Cumming (3d edition, revised and enlarged by Louis DeVorsey Jr.): The University of North Carolina Press, 1998. The first edition appeared in 1958. This is a standard reference for the region, beginning with De Soto’s 1544 map, and ending in 1775 with the Fry-Jefferson and Mouzon maps.

Cartography of the Northwest Coast of America to the Year 1800 ($120) by Henry Wagner: Martino Publishing, 1998. This is a reprint of the 1937 issue, and covers cartographic history from the 16th to the 18th centuries. It is a detailed and scholarly book.

Early Printed Maps of Canada ($350 for 4 vol. set) by Kenneth Kershaw: Kershaw Publishing, 1993-98. The price is for the reprint edition. This is an exhaustive reference work, with many illustrations and detailed bibliographic entries.

Mapping Latin America: A Cartographic Reader ($39 for paperback) edited by Jordana Dym and Karl Offen: University of Chicago Press, 2011. This multi-authored work deals with over five centuries of mapping activities.

Mapping the Nation: History and Cartography in Nineteenth-Century America ($45) by Susan Schulten: University of Chicago Press, 2012. The focus is on the 19th century USA and the advance of thematic mapping. The author has also developed a useful companion website that hosts high resolution, maneuverable images of the maps in the book, along with a detailed cartobibiliographic entry for each map.

Another America – Native American Maps and the History of Our Land ($20) by Mark Warhus: St. Martin’s Press, 1997. There is a less expensive paperback edition issued in 1998. This is a well-researched and documented discussion of a frequently neglected subject.

C. Antarctica (**Note: Several references below also contain information pertaining to Arctic areas.)

Shackleton, An Antarctic Map Primer ($25) by Earl McElfresh: McElfresh Map Co. LLC, 2004. This was done in conjunction with the television special on Shackleton, in conjunction with the A&E network. It reproduces six historical maps of the area, from the Library of Congress and private collections, along with other cartographically pertinent material.

The Gerald F. Fitzgerald Collection of Polar Books, Maps, and Art at the Newberry Library: A Catalog ($40) compiled by David C. White and Patrick Morris: The Newberry Library, 2000. This is an extensive catalogue (not simply maps), which includes nearly 60 maps of this region between 1630 and 1960. As expected, this is hard to find.

Keyguide to Information Sources on the Polar and Cold Regions ($120) by William Mills and Peter Speak: Mansell Publishing, 1998. An extensive resource, only a small part of which deals with cartographic material.

Topographical survey and mapping of British Antarctic Territory, South Georgia and the Sandwich Islands 1944-1986 ($60) by M. Barbara McHugo: British Antarctic Survey, 2004. This is a very detailed history of this region, although it covers a time-frame that is later than most of the references included here. It is a limited edition, and contains a list of all period surveyors and equipment used.

(Also see Tooley’s reference book, The Mapping of Australia and Antarctica, in the Australia section below.)

D. Asia

Early Mapping of Southeast Asia ($60) by Thomas Suarez: Periplus Editions, 1999. This is a nicely written and well-illustrated narrative, ranging from ancient times to the 19th century.

Japan: A Cartographic Vision – European Printed Maps from the Early 16th to the 19th Century ($70) edited by Lutz Walter: Prestel-Verlag, 1994. This is the English version of this basic and scholarly reference work.

Japoniæ Insvlæ: The Mapping of Japan ($230) by Jason Hubbard: HES & DE GRAAF Publishers BV, 2012. This is an extensive and elegantly illustrated cartobibliography focused on European maps of Japan from the scholarly perspective of a major collector.

A List of Japanese Maps of the Tokugawa Era ($2000) by George Beans: Tall Tree Library, 1951. This is the most authoritative work of its type, and the price includes the initial volume and all 3 supplements. There was also an addenda prepared by Woodward and Gannami in 1979. Finding all these together is very difficult, and even the initial volume, if commercially available, can easily run $500 . The set is based on Beans’ personal collection.

Japanese Maps of the Edo Period ($300) by Kazumasa Yamashita: Kashiwashobo Publishing Ltd, 1998. This is a nicely illustrated, but hard-to-find work, with paired texts in English and Japanese.

Chinese Maps – Images of “All Under Heaven” ($30) by Richard Smith: Oxford University Press, 1996. A nice, short introduction to a complex subject.

China in Ancient and Modern Maps ($150) by Sotheby’s Publications (multiauthored): Philip Wilson Publishers Limited, 1998. This is a very nicely done, though hard to find, historical catalogue (not one of Sotheby’s auction catalogues) with 166 map images, mostly in color, of maps of various dynasties represented in China’s history. There is extensive commentary, and many of the maps pictured are under state protection. This display was organized with the help of China’s Research Institute of Surveying and Mapping.

China in European Maps A Library Special Collection ($150) edited by Min-min Chang: Hong Kong University of Science and Technology Library, 2003. This was a limited edition, divided into eight sections, dealing with various aspects of maps, prints and books. Annotations and descriptions are paired in English and Chinese.

Early Maps of India ($75) by Susan Gole: Sanskriti, 1976. This is a standard reference work on the subject.

Russia in Maps - A History of the Geographical Study and Cartography of the Country by Alexi Postnikov: Nash Dom - L'Age D'Homme, 1996. This is one of the few texts of its kind, and it is in English. It is very difficult to find.

Maps of the Holy Land -Cartobibliography of Printed Maps, 1475-1900 ($900) by Eran Laor: Alan R. Liss, 1986. This is a well-known, and very expensive, reference for these maps. It is a bibliography, and the image quality is not high, but it still remains the most comprehensive list of its kind, and a rather scarce work. In 1975, after Laor's death, his extensive collection was donated to the Jewish National and University Library in Jerusalem. The Laor Collection Jerusalem maps is accessible online.

General Maps of Persia 1477-1925 ($260) by Cyrus Alai: Brill, 2005. This is volume eighty of the Handbook of Oriental Studies. This is a profusely and well-illustrated work, by a recognized expert in the history of cartography of Persia. It is currently the only publication of its kind, and a welcome edition to the field, with a foreward by Tony Campbell.

E. Australia

A Guide to Maps of Australia in Books Published 1780-1830 ($70) by TM Perry and Dorothy Prescott: National Library of Australia, 1996. This is an excellent reference, with over 600 annotated maps and charts that were published in English and foreign language books.

Australia Unveiled ($200) by Gunther Schilder (translated by Olaf Richter): Theatrum Orbis Terrarum, 1976. This is the first English edition of this excellent reference on the early Dutch discoveries in Australia, from 1606 to 1644. It is a well-illustrated and scholarly work.

The Mapping of Australia and Antarctica ($400) by RV Tooley: New Holland Press, 1985. This is the 2nd and revised edition. It is a collector’s item, hence hard to find, but still an exceptionally valuable reference on the subject.

Early Mapping of the Pacific- Including Australia and New Zealand ($35) by Thomas Suarez: Tuttle Publishing, 2004. This recent work is nicely illustrated. There is also some material pertaining to Australia in Suarez’s book on Asia, in the previous section.

F. Europe

Koeman’s Atlantes Neerlandici – New Edition ($600 and up, per volume) compiled by Peter van der Krogt: HES Publishers, 1997-. This is available by subscription only, and is projected to 10 volumes. Koeman’s original (and shorter) edition was issued between 1967 and 1985. While that original is a collector’s item, this new publication is a completely new bibliography, with more exacting standards and a new setup. Though expensive, there is no questioning the quality and importance of the revision, which will be a signal reference work for years to come. The work is an encyclopedic bibliography of terrestrial, maritime and celestial atlases and pilot books, published in The Netherlands from 1570 up to the 20th century. (**Note: This is a major, scholarly work. Along with several others, it could easily be moved into the category pertaining to the general history of cartography. The price may be prohibitive for many potential enthusiasts, but this should be a reference work for any major library with significant related interests.)

Institut Cartogràfic de Catalunya
- This institute has an 11 volume monograph series (Cicle de conferències sobre història de la cartografia), based on an annual lecture series, pertaining to the history of European (and American) cartography. Each volume is by a different author. The publication dates range from 1990 to 2001. The language of issue varies from one monograph to the next, depending on the author, and several are in English.

Monumenta Cartographica Neerlandica series
($140 and up per volume) by Gunther Schilder: Canaletto, 1986-. This is an ongoing compilation of significant and uncommon Dutch maps and charts ranging over two and a half centuries (1550-1700). The text is often in both Dutch and English, and the set is projected to go to 10 volumes. Volume 8 has just been published (2008). The map folders contain full-size facsimiles, and tend to be organized by publisher. As with van der Krogt’s publication just above, this is also under the umbrella of Explokart (Utrecht Research Program in the History of Cartography).

Pläne Und Grundrisse Von Städten Kapitalistischer Länder Europas (1500-1850) ($100) by Wolfram Klaus and Egon Klemp: Kartographische Bestandsverzeichnisse, 1980-85. A massive effort, describing over 13,000 European city and town plans, issued as four volumes in two.

Bel et Utile: The World of the Robert de Vaugondy Family of Mapmakers ($90) by Mary Pedley: Map Collector Publications Ltd., 1992. This is a limited and numbered edition, scholarly and readable, with a great deal of information not only about this family, but also about the business of mapmaking during the French European Enlightenment. There is extensive bibliographic information about applicable maps and atlases.

Monarchs, Ministers and Maps: The Emergence of Cartography as a Tool of Government in Early Modern Europe ($55) edited by David Buisseret: University of Chicago Press, 1992. This is one of the published series of the Nebenzahl Lectures, held in conjunction with the Newberry Library. Sections deal with Italy, Austria, England, Spain and Poland. This is a scholarly and readable treatise.

The Cadastral Map in the Service of the State: A History of Property Mapping ($50) by Roger Kain and Elizabeth Baigent: University of Chicago Press, 1992. This is an extensive and impressive scholarly treatise that links politics, property and cartography. This was the winner of the 1991 Kenneth Nebenzahl Prize for the best new manuscript in the history of cartography. The historical scope ranges from ancient Rome through the nineteenth century, predominantly focused on Europe and its later colonies.

The History of Topographical Maps - Symbols, Pictures and Surveys ($25) by PDA Harvey: Thames and Hudson, 1980. This is a standard reference work on the subject, and is quite readable.

Ortelius Atlas Maps – An Illustrated Guide, 2nd edition (€79.50) by Marcel van den Broecke: HES Publishers, 2011. This is an updated illustrated guide to all the maps in Ortelius’ Theatrum Orbis Terrarum. It has hundreds of illustrations, and provides translations of the texts appearing on the maps. It references various states of the maps, and various editions of the atlas.

Mapmakers of the Sixteenth Century and Their Maps - Bio-Bibliographies of the Cartographers of Abraham Ortelius, 1570 ($125) by Robert Karrow, Jr.: Speculum Orbis Press, 1993. This is an uncommon and very detailed biographical reference, expanding Leo Bagrow's earlier work (1928-30).

British Map Engravers: A Dictionary of Engravers, Lithographers, and Their Principal Employers to 1850 ($200) by Laurence Worms and Ashley Baynton-Williams: Rare Book Society, 2011. This collaborative effort is a major reference work.

English Maps: A History ($20) by Catherine Delano-Smith and Roger Kain: University of Toronto Press, 1999. This excellent and scholarly summary ranges from the 7th to the 20th centuries, and ties the maps of England to other contemporaneous European cartographic developments.

Les Atlas Français, XVIe-XVIIe Siècles : Répertoire Bibliographique et Etude by Mireille Pastoureau (in collaboration with Frank Lestringant), Bibliotheque Nationale (Dép. des cartes et plans), 1984. This is an exhaustive study of French atlases and their maps, only available in this French edition, and hard to find on the commercial market. It is available in many major libraries.

Maps in British Periodicals (Parts I and II) ($200) by David Jolly: David C. Jolly, 1990-91. These are the standard reference volumes on the subject. Part I deals with major monthlies before 1800; Part II relates to annuals, scientific periodicals and miscellaneous magazines mostly before 1800.

Portugaliae Monumenta Cartographica ($750 for the 6 vol. set) by Armando Cortesao and Avelino da Mota: Imprensa Nacional-Casa Da Moeda, 1987. This is the reprint (smaller folio volumes) edition of the 1960 original set ($5000). Even with the smaller set, it is a remarkable production detailing the remaining records of maps by the Portuguese nation. The original issue has 626 plates, plus many other reproductions. The text is both in English and Portuguese. The original set was issued to commemorate the death of Prince Henry the Navigator, issued five hundred years after his death.

History of Portuguese Cartography ($450 for the 2 volume set) by Armando Cortesao: Junta de Investigações do Ultramar, 1969. An extensive and scholarly history by a master of the subject. It is also quite important for the general history of cartography.

La Galleria delle Carte geografiche in Vaticano - The Gallery of Maps in the Vatican ($550 for the 3 vol. set) edited by Lucio Gambi and Antonio Panelli: Franco Cosimo Panini, 1994. There is a smaller and later reprint, much less expensive, with less text and fewer illustrations. This original version has paired text in English and Italian, and is a remarkable commemoration of The Vatican’s map gallery, created in the 16th century.

Printed Maps of Scandinavia and the Arctic 1482-1601 ($110) by William B. Ginsberg: Septentrionalium Press, 2006. A scholarly cartobibliography of the arctic regions including Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, and Iceland.

Covens & Mortier. A Map-publishing House in Amsterdam 1685-1866 ($250) by Marco Van Egmond: HES & DE GRAAF Publishers, 2009. A major work about this prominent Dutch publishing house.

A Catalogue of Printed Maps of Greece 1477-1800 ($225) by Christos G. Zacharakis: Sylvia Ioannou Foundation, 2009. This is the third edition, expanded and with corrections, of this major work.


The Finest Atlas of the Heavens = Der Prächtigste Himmelsatlas = L'Atlas Céleste le Plus Admirable. ($125) edited by Robert Harry van Gent: Taschen, 2006. This is a very nice tri-lingual reprint of Andreas Cellarius' Harmonia Macrocosmica of 1660. While it has the features of a coffee table book, the expert commentary takes it beyond that category. There is a brief bibliography at the rear, along with a glossary and an overview/brief history of the constellations as depicted in Cellarius' work.

Star Maps: History, Artistry, and Cartography, 2nd edition ($44.95) by Nick Kanas: Springer Praxis Books, 2012. This recently published book is the most detailed of its kind for the subject, as noted by Norman Thrower's forward. The revised 563 page book has over 200 illustrations, many in color, and sections devoted to both non-European and European cosmology.

Illustrating the Phaenomena: Celestial Cartography in Antiquity and the Middle Ages ($135) by Elly Dekker: Oxford University Press, 2012.

The Sky Explored – Celestial Cartography 1500 to 1800 by Deborah Warner: Allen R. Liss Inc., 1979. This is a very scarce bibliography of celestial charts. It might be easiest to find a library with a copy. It is very hard to find examples to consistently price, but this is relatively costly.


Terrestrial and Celestial Globes – Their History and Construction Including a Consideration of their Value as Aids in Study of Geography and Astronomy ($95): by Edward Stevenson: Martino Publishing, 1998. This is the reprint edition (2 volumes in 1) of the original 1921 edition, which as a collector’s item is much pricier. This is still a standard reference on the subject.

Globes at Greenwich – A Catalogue of the Globes and Armillary Spheres in the National Maritime Museum ($250) by Elly Dekker: Oxford University Press, 1999. This is one of the few expansive reference books on the subject.

Globes from the Western World ($200) by Elly Dekker and Peter van der Krogt: Zwemmer, 1993. This is a standard reference work on the history of globes.

Sphaerae Mundi: Early Globes at the Stewart Museum ($50) by Edward H. Dahl and Jean-François Gauvin: Septentrion and McGill-Queen's University Press, 2000. This is a very well-illustrated addition to the field. Collaborators included Eileen Meillon, Robert Derome and Peter van der Krogt. There is a general bibliography at the end of the text.

Art & Cartography

Art and Cartography – Six Historical Essays ($80) edited by David Woodward: University of Chicago Press, 1989. This is a well-known work, taken from a series of Nebenzahl Lectures. It stops short of analyzing cartographic elements of modern art, and the bulk of the focus deals with aesthetics.

world views: Maps & Art ($25) by Robert Silberman, in collaboration with Patricia McDonnell with an essay by Yi-Fu Tuan: University of Minnesota Press, 1999. This is quite an eye-catching and informative monograph intended to accompany the exhibit at the Frederick R. Weisman Art Museum. The tribal imageries created for the KNOWMAD game (by the KNOWMAD Confederacy) are particularly striking. While the monograph can be hard to find, it should be a welcome addition to any library with interests in art and cartography.

Five Centuries of Map Printing ($50) edited by David Woodward: University of Chicago Press, 1975. This is a very handy reference work dealing with relief, intaglio and lithographic printing history, with particular focus on map production.

Engraving and Etching 1400-2000: A History of the Development of Manual Intaglio Printmaking Processes ($225) by Ad Stijnman: HES & DE GRAAF Publishers BV, 2012. This is a detailed general reference work, not specifically about maps.

Representing Place - Landscape Painting and Maps ($35) by Edward Casey: University of Minnesota Press, 2002. The price noted is for the paperback. The author is a professor of philosophy, and this book is the third in his series looking at the way space is conceived in world thought. It is an informative and scholarly presentation, but not a simple read. He ranges from prehistoric petroglyphs to 19th century landscape painting.

Urban Images of the Hispanic World, 1493-1793 ($65) by Richard Kagan (with the collaboration of Fernando Marias): Yale University Press, 2000. This is a scholarly and well-illustrated work that links art and cartography in Hispanic world-views of the times. There are references to old world and new, and the differing conceptions of urban space.

Image of America ($400 ) by Elektra Momprade and Tonatiúh Gutierrez: Prologue Elias Trabulse Mex., Transportacion Maritima Mexicana, 1996. This is a visually stunning work on the early iconography of America. Only 1500 copies were produced, 300 of which were in English. It begins with descriptions of the earliest images, including the drawing of Albrecht Durer in Emperor Maximillian’s Book of Hours.

The Marvel of Maps: Art, Cartography, and Politics in Renaissance Italy ($60) by Francesca Fiorani: Yale University Press, 2005. The book's introductory segment is titled "Interpreting Renaissance Map Cycles", with the rest of the text divided in two major parts: Maps as Worldly Art, Maps as Sacred Art. This is heavily referenced and clearly written, by an established art historian.

Earth-Mapping: Artists Reshaping Landscape ($20 for paperback) by Edward S. Casey: University of Minnesota Press, 2005. This book explores the convergence of mapping and painting, hence cartography and art, within the past 50 years. The focus here is not on conventional cartography.

"Art and Cartography" is a special issue of Cartographic Perspectives edited by Denis Wood and John Krygier, in the winter 2006 issue (number 53). There is an introduction by Denis Cosgrove, with thought-provoking, featured articles by Denis Wood, Dalia Varanka, kanarinka and John Krygier.

The Map as Art: Contemporary Artists Explore Cartography ($45) by Katharine Harmon, with essays by Gayle Clemans: Princeton Architectural Press, 2009.

Prints and the Pursuit of Knowledge in Early Modern Europe ($60) edited by Susan Dackerman, Harvard Art Museums, 2011. This remarkable illustrated catalog discusses the working relationship between sixteenth century artists and scientists. This is a detailed companion volume for an exhibition organized by the Harvard Art Museums in collaboration with the Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art, Northwestern University.

Printing a Mediterranean World: Florence, Constantinople, and the Renaissance of Geography ($50) by Sean Roberts, Harvard University Press, 2013. This is an art historian's detailed perceptions of Francesco Berlinghieri's 1482 manuscript (poem and maps) Geographica, including an analysis of the fascination of Renaissance humanists with Ptolemy's work.

Science & Cartography

Mapping ($5) by David Greenhood: University of Chicago Press, 1964. This is the older paperback edition of this readable introduction to the subject. It has elements of map reading, projections and drafting. Obviously, this predates GIS material, but it is still a valuable reference book.

Early Thematic Mapping in the History of Cartography ($100) by Arthur Robinson: University of Chicago Press, 1982. This is an invaluable introduction to this subject, although it is increasingly hard to find.

The Nature of Maps – Essays Toward Understanding Maps and Mapping ($50) by Arthur Robinson and Barbara Petchenik: University of Chicago Press, 1976. This is a basic and well-written reference work.

Cartographical Innovations - An International Handbook of Mapping Terms to 1900 ($180) edited by Helen Wallis and Arthur Robinson: Map Collector Publications, 1987. This can be difficult to find. It is a standard and authoritative reference work.

Flattening the Earth – Two Thousand Years of Map Projections ($25) by John Snyder: University of Chicago Press, 1997. This is a detailed review of the history and development of map projections. This listing is the paperback edition (the original hardbound edition was published in 1993).

Ptolemy’s Geography – An Annotated Translation of the Theoretical Chapters ($50) by J. Lennart Berggren and Alexander Jones: Princeton University Press, 2000. This includes a detailed analysis of what Ptolemy expected his readers to know, and a scholarly commentary on the maps and plates. There is a less expensive paperback edition.

Maps, Myths, and Men - The Story of the Vinland Map ($25 for paperback) by Kirsten Seaver: Stanford University Press, 2004. This is the most recent and scholarly publication focused on the Vinland map controversy, with a step-by-step evaluation of the problems that have developed. It may not be the last word, but it is an interesting mix of scientific analysis, history and academic politics. It could just as well be listed in the general history of cartography section above.

Science and Civilization in China – Volume 3 Mathematics and the Sciences of the Heavens and Earth ($175) by Joseph Needham: Cambridge Univ. Press, 1959. This is part of Needham’s stunning series, this particular volume containing sections on cosmography and cartography. It is very hard to find, but an extremely valuable resource.

Papermaking – The History and Technique of an Ancient Craft ($7) by Dard Hunter: Dover Publications, 1978. This is the paperback reprint of the 2nd edition (1947). It is the standard reference for the field. It does not directly deal with maps per se, but is a wonderful resource.

From the Hand to the Machine: Nineteenth-century American Paper and Mediums: Technologies, Materials, and Conservation ($65) by Cathleen Baker: The Legacy Press, 2010. This is an expansive consideration of the topic, and will likely become the standard reference for its area of coverage, much as the Hunter work on papermaking noted above.

Acknowledgments: I would like to thank a number of people for their helpful comments in the initial development of this section: Richard Betz, Tony Campbell, Simon Dewez, Francis Herbert, Bert Johnson, Robert Karrow, Jay Lester, Jeremy Pool and Tom Sander.

Last Modified: 30 January 2013

  Copyright 2000-2010 © by The Prime Meridian: Antique Maps & Books® (All Rights Reserved)
  Web site design, development and hosting by ammonet