WPC Map Society News

Thank you for visiting our web site. Would you like to be on the WPCMS email list? Do you have questions about an old map? To send us a message, please use the Contact link in the WPC Map Society drop down menu above, or you can scroll to the bottom of this page. Some upcoming events involving or of interest to WPC Map Society members are listed below.

  • No WPCMS-sponsored events are currently scheduled. However, several events of regional interest scheduled in 2020 are listed below.


  • February 11, 2020 – registration opens for September 11-12, 2020, MESDA map seminar; click here to register.


  • April 25, 2020 – Richmond, VAThe 2020 Alan M. & Nathalie P. Voorhees Lecture on the History of Cartography POSTPONED. Given the current situation with the COVID-19 virus, the Library has elected to suspend all public events through the end of April.  Unfortunately, this means the April 25th Voorhees Lecture Event is currently postponed.  In the coming weeks the Library of Virginia will explore rescheduling this event, and they will follow up with any new information. If you would like to request a refund at this time, please contact Dawn Greggs at 804-692-3813 or dawn.greggs@lva.virginia.gov.  Thank you.
    will be held at the Library of Virginia, 800 E Broad St. from 10AM to 4PM. Dr. Larry Tise and Andrew Lawler will be the speakers. Dr. Tise’s presentation, The First American Coloring books: Theodore de Bry’s Grand Voyages, 1590-1602 focuses on Theodore de Bry’s engravings. Andrew Lawler will present Uncharted Territory: How Maps Launched –And Nearly Sank–English Colonization of the New World. In the late sixteenth century, England lagged far behind other European powers such as Spain and Portugal in known what was where in the New World. The scramble to fill this gap played a central role in how, where, and why the English launched their first attempt to settle the New World. Box lunches are offered for advanced purchase only. Registration is required to attend the lectures. The schedule for this event and link to register are available via this link. Additional information from Dawn Greggs <dawn.gregs(at)lva..virginia.gov> at 804-692-3813.


  • September 11-12, 2020 – Winston-Salem, North Carolina The Museum of Early Southern Decorative Arts, 924 S Main St, will be hosting a two day conference, Cartography & Culture: Mapping the Early South. From the earliest mapping of North America by European navigators to campaigns during the French & Indian War and the American Revolution to further exploration through westward expansion, join us as we delve into how different communities used maps as tools to establish unique visions of the American South. Margaret Pritchard is helping organize this event and she has an impressive list of speakers signed up. Registration and program details are available on the MESDA Fall Seminar web site.


  • Check John Docktor’s Calendars for other map events and exhibits.

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  • An updated history of the 1807 Price-Strother map of North Carolina is available on line in the Journal of Early Southern Decorative Arts (aka the MESDA Journal). Much has been written about colonial era maps of North Carolina, but the very first state map published from actual surveys has received woefully inadequate attention. This article attempts to rectify that injustice. Quoting Jonathan Price’s eulogist“It is believed that neither the public utility and vast importance of the [map], nor the difficulty in executing it, have ever been reflected on by one in a thousand.” Why don’t you become one in a thousand? It’s real easy. Just follow this link

If that doesn’t satisfy your map history appetite, you will find supplementary information about the Price-Strother map in the following blog posts:
Petitions, loans, legislative stuff
Map advertisements and reviews
P-S map mentioned in contemporary letters
Jonathan Price’s stirring letter to the University trustees
Finally, you’ll find a brief story about Jonathan Price’s Plan of the Town of New Bern right here.

  • Please have a look at the WPCMS’s North Carolina Map Blog, where topics related to North Carolina’s cartographic history are being discussed. Would you like to contribute a blog entry? That would be awesome! Please use the contact form below to inform us of your interest.


  • Jonathan Crowe authors a superb general map blog, The Map Room.


  • Gary W. Thompson’s presentation in June 2014 at the State Library provided an overview of the history of the North Carolina-South Carolina boundary that determined how North Carolina got its shape. Information was provided on the research and survey work performed to complete the recent task of reestablishing the boundary. For those of us who couldn’t make it, many thanks to the NC Archives for making it available on theirYouTube channel.



  • Mike McNamara’s outstanding research on the 1737 Moseley/Cowley manuscript map of North Carolina, A New and Correct Map of the Province of North Carolina: The Discovery of a 1737 North Carolina Manuscript Map, is available on line in the Journal of Early Southern Decorative Arts.


  • Henry Taliaferro’s superb, scholarly research on the Fry-Jefferson map has been published in the Journal of Early Southern Decorative Arts, and is available on line. Congratulations to Henry for this outstanding contribution to cartographic history, and to Gary Albert for an equally outstanding job of editing and on line layout.


  • I have a bit of GREAT NEWS to help satisfy your philanthropic urges via any or all of the following 3 great choices….
    • The UNC-Chapel Hill Library has established The Cartographic History Fund to support acquisition, conservation, and associated educational programs in the Library’s North Carolina Collection and Rare Book Collection. The wonderful staff at the Wilson Library have hosted many of our map society events. You can contribute by mail or on line. You can mail your donations or direct any questions to:

Robert Anthony
Curator, North Carolina Collection
P.O. Box 8890
Wilson Library, CB 3930
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Chapel Hill, North Carolina 27515-8890
Telephone: 919-962-1632

If you prefer to make your UNC donation on line, here are some instructions to get you started…

Go to this web site: http://giving.unc.edu/gift/lib/  Click the “Search Funds” tab. Enter CARTOGRAPHIC in the keyword search field and click “Search“. The search results will return The Cartographic History Fund. Enter the amount of your gift in the “amount” window, then click the  “plus sign” in the green box to the right of that window.  The remainder of the process is self-explanatory.


  • The Museum of Early Southern Decorative Arts (MESDA), located in Old Salem, has been a wonderful host for several WPCMS meetings. You can show your support by joining at the level of your choosing. Join on line here. Alternatively, if you’d prefer to direct your donation to MESDA’s Cartographic Arts Fund, please use snail mail (there is not yet a mechanism to direct on line donations to a specific fund). Make a check payable to MESDA-Cartographic Arts Fund and mail it to:

Robert Leath – MESDA

924 South Main Street

Winston-Salem, NC 27101

The fine people at MESDA have been actively conserving, displaying, and adding to their superb collection of maps. The Cartographic Arts Fund will support those endeavors and map-related educational programs such as the superb series of Mapping the Early South seminars.


  • Donations to the Geography & Map Division, via their friends group, the Philip Lee Phillips Map Society of the Library of Congress, are also an excellent means of supporting the preservation of cartographic history. You can join by using the “Join or Donate Online” button on the Phillips Society Membership Options web page. If you prefer to mail a check, use the “Membership Form” button on the same page to print the form to mail with your donation.  Past issues of the PLPS newsletter, as well as the Occasional Papers series, are accessible on line from the PLPS Publications web page.

If anyone has an interest in organizing and/or hosting an event for the William P. Cumming Map Society, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

We welcome comments or questions.

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