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UTA Libraries’ cartography lecture series draws scholars for 10th biennial celebration

Friday, November 4, 2016

Media Contact: Bridget Lewis

News Topics: faculty, history, lectures, staff

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Map enthusiasts and scholars will chart a course to The University of Texas at Arlington Nov. 11-12 for the Tenth Biennial Virginia Garrett Lectures on the History of Cartography and the fall 2016 meeting of the Texas Map Society.

The event is hosted by UTA Libraries Special Collections and the Texas Map Society.

“We are delighted to host the 2016 Garrett Lectures. This event showcases the depth of the cartography collections at UTA Libraries. It is a true area of excellence, supporting the research and learning of faculty and students across disciplines,” said Rebecca Bichel, dean of UTA Libraries, who acknowledged that the work aligns with the University’s Strategic Plan 2020: Bold Solutions | Global Impact.

Herman Moll, To the Right Honourable John Lord Sommers ... This Map of North America According to ye Newest and most Exact Observations is most Humbly Dedicated by your Lordship's most Humble Servant Herman Moll Geographer, engraving and etching (with hand-colored outlines), 58.5 x 97.5 cm. Cartouche engraved by George Vertue after a design by Bernard Lens, included in Moll, The World Described (London: Moll, 1720).  UTA Libraries Special Collections 103/8 220024.

“The rich historical data available in primary sources such as those in the Virginia Garrett Cartographic History Library support UTA scholars as they pursue bold solutions to manage global environment impact and create sustainable urban growth,” Bichel said.

Scholars from Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Oregon, and Mexico will speak at the Garrett Lectures. This year’s theme, “Profiles in Cartography: Mapmakers and the Greater Southwest,” examines the work of various cartographers who mapped “the Southwest” – a slippery term as this encompassed a shifting geographic concept that drifted across the continent during the United States’ westward expansion.

The Garrett Lectures will feature an accompanying exhibit of more than 80 original 18th century maps illustrating the conference’s theme. Entitled “Enlightenment Cartographers and the Southwestern Borderlands,” the exhibit will be on display in UTA Special Collections Oct. 3 through Jan. 15, 2017.

Highlights include maps by the Delisle family, Jean Baptiste Bourguignon d’Anville, Robert de Vaugondy, Thomas López y Vargas Machuca, Herman Moll, Emanuel Bowen, Thomas Jefferys, and Aaron Arrowsmith, as well as a rare 1756 French copy of John Mitchell’s 1755 map of North America.

Maps depicting the Southwest by lesser-known Dutch, German, Austrian and Italian mapmakers round out the selection.


Since 1998, UTA has hosted the Virginia Garrett Lectures on the History of Cartography, which are underwritten in part by the Jenkins and Virginia Garrett Cartographic Endowment.

The Garrett Lectures  have a dual purpose: to explore the history of cartography and to promote the use of the map collections at UTA Libraries Special Collections, where Mrs. Garrett donated her extraordinary personal map collection in 1997.

Previous Garrett Lectures topics have included maps created by soldier-engineers of the American Southwest, mapping of the Gulf Coast and Caribbean, the art of maps, religious-themed maps, maps depicting westward U.S. expansion and manifest destiny, and maps relating to chartered companies.

From the beginning, the UTA Special Collections map collections, while partly intended to illustrate the history of cartography, have had a regional focus with particular strength in maps of Texas, the American Southwest, and Mexico, including the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean. Through the generosity of the Garrett Endowment and other gifts, Special Collections continues to collect in these areas.

Meeting attendees are also invited free of charge to attend the North Texas Book and Map Show Nov. 11-13, at the Arlington Convention Center.

The Texas Map Society is a nonprofit, member-based organizations dedicated to the study, understanding, preservation, restoration, and collection of historical maps.

Supporting the University and the community, the UTA Libraries empowers knowledge creation, idea exploration, and learning innovation through transformative virtual and physical spaces, collaborations, collections, services, partnerships, and experiences. Special Collections focuses on the history of Texas, Mexico, and the Southwest, and includes one of the finest cartography collections on Texas and the Gulf of Mexico in the world.

--written by C.D. Walter

About The University of Texas at Arlington

The University of Texas at Arlington is a Carnegie Research-1 “highest research activity” institution of about 55,000 students in campus-based and online degree programs and is the second-largest institution in The University of Texas System. U.S. News & World Report ranks UTA fifth in the nation for undergraduate diversity. The University is a Hispanic-Serving Institution and is ranked as the top four-year college in Texas for veterans on Military Times’ 2016 Best for Vets list. Visit www.uta.edu to learn more, and find UTA rankings and recognition at www.uta.edu/uta/about/rankings.php.

For more on the UTA Strategic Plan 2020: Bold Solutions | Global Impact, see www.uta.edu/strategicplan/.

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The University of Texas at Arlington is an Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action employer.