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Capturing the Past through Maps

Capturing the Past through Maps

(p.41) Chapter 2 Capturing the Past through Maps
Mapping the Nation
Susan Schulten
University of Chicago Press

When the American educator Emma Willard traveled to Europe in September 1854, she met Johann Georg Kohl, a German cartographer and geographer who had spent years compiling an archive of maps related to the history of North American discovery. Kohl traveled to the United States to continue his research, and was eventually commissioned by the State Department to copy nearly 500 maps related to the discovery of America. The US Coast Survey also hired him to map the history of coastal exploration. This chapter examines the rise of historical mapping in America, with particular focus on the efforts of Kohl. It first looks at the history of antique maps before turning to Kohl's role in promoting the history of American discovery and in the creation of a national archive of maps. It then considers how historical maps have sparked the evolution of territorial knowledge in America and the growth of national history before concluding with a discussion of historical cartography in the early twentieth century.

Keywords:   historical maps, Johann Georg Kohl, history, United States, State Department, discovery, Coast Survey, historical mapping, national archive

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