Giving Birth in a Baby-Unfriendly Hospital

As some of you may know, I have a more than passing interest in Baby-Friendly hospitals and the certification process, as well as adorable YouTube videos on the topic:

Someone close to me recently experienced a baby-unfriendly birth (despite the protestations of two obstetricians, who didn’t know about Baby-Friendly certification and both ironically insisted, “we’re not baby unfriendly!”).

She and her partner filed a grievance with the hospital and, in the spirit of posting once a month, I thought I’d share excerpts from her letter with you (with names removed as a friendly gesture to protect the unfriendly). Apparently the delivering obstetrician repeatedly told her she was going to die, despite the fact that she was not in any risk of dying (well, any more so than any other low-risk, average laboring woman).

Her letter offers a glimpse into her experience of hospital culture. The experience came as a surprise to a fairly well-prepared couple, so I hope it helps others in their decision making process, or at least gives readers some nice tips on how to tell people off in  a professional tone.

Our baby was born at X Hospital. We are writing to express our gratitude for the efforts of several members of the hospital staff, and our appreciation for the excellent care we received both at prenatal visits and in the Moms & Babies wing.

We were pleased to fall into the capable hands of Dr. G for prenatal care. She was attentive and thorough at each of our prenatal visits, as was the nurse practitioner. Furthermore, the nursing staff was cheerful, pleasant, and encouraging. They all happily answered our many questions, and Dr. G was a positive presence in the delivery room before her shift ended. The front desk staff was courteous and friendly at each visit, as well, helpfully scheduling and rescheduling our many appointments.

As first time parents, we were similarly pleased with the baby care courses we attended. The two-day class on childbirth and her hospital tour was a useful and often hilarious introduction to labor, delivery, and parenthood. The breastfeeding class materials were useful and the classes were reasonably priced and conveniently scheduled.

Many of the nurses we encountered in Labor & Delivery were kind, supportive, and friendly. For the most part, they read and respected the “birth preferences” document that we had prepared. We felt confident and encouraged by many of the nursing staff members as well as the anesthesiologists. Even though we had wanted to avoid an epidural, the anesthesiologist’s detailed explanation of the procedure reassured us, and the epidural ultimately provided a much-needed rest in the labor process.

We credit one nurse in particular whose arrival and immediate proclamation, “I see hair!” definitely gave the room a positive push in the right direction, as our baby was born only half an hour later.

While in the Moms & Babies wing, we found the nursing staff to be friendly and helpful. We received excellent postpartum care, including encouragement and information regarding breastfeeding, answers to our many (more!) questions, a visit from Dr. G, and even surprisingly delicious hospital food (as promised in the childbirth preparation class!).

However, we are writing to inform you that we will never be delivering another child at X Hospital, and we are discouraging everyone we meet from ever delivering there, as the wonderful facilities and stellar support staff are still not enough to outweigh even the risk of once again encountering Dr. R (the OB who took over after Dr. G’s shift ended).

In the 8 hours we were under Dr. R’s care, we endured the following offenses:

  • While I was in labor, he came into our room and announced that he was there to deliver my baby. He then realized he was in the wrong room and left.
  • Dr. R returned a bit later and immediately took a very stern and condescending tone with me, my partner, and my doula. He urged me to take Pitocin, threatening that failure to do so would lead to hemorrhage, hysterectomy, and death without ever providing any explanation as to how or why. While researching Pitocin in anticipation of childbirth, we had learned that all of these were also side effects of taking Pitocin, as well, a fact that he neither mentioned nor discussed with us in any meaningful way. His recommendation to administer Pitocin came in spite of the fact that I had already made excellent progress during a perfectly normal, low-risk, natural labor.
  • After we declined the Pitocin, Dr. R sent in a high-risk specialist, Dr. L.  We had a refreshingly positive and respectful conversation with Dr. L, who walked us through all our treatment options and their associated risks and benefits. She remarked that she does not usually get called into “normal” labor and delivery cases like ours, which led us to believe that Dr. R had made an inappropriate use of her time, our time, and hospital resources.
  • Dr. R returned, and I agreed that I would sign the form indicating that I was going against his medical advice. He said that he respected my right to make the decision not to take Pitocin, but that it was the wrong decision.
  • Even after I signed the “Against Medical Advice” form, he continued to badger me about taking Pitocin, frequently trying to scare me with the threat of impending death. He asked me how long I planned to be in labor, and when I replied “As long as it takes,” he said, “You could be dead by then.” Such remarks are not only poor bedside manner, they brought unnecessary fear and distress into what is, on its own, a scary and stressful situation.
  • In probing me for my justification for my choice not to take Pitocin, Dr. R casually mentioned bringing in the hospital lawyers, needlessly questioned the credentials of my birth team, insulted my mother by questioning her competence as a medical professional simply for supporting my decision, was rude and condescending to my doula, and generally behaved in a completely unprofessional and unhelpful manner.

We felt fortunate to be so prepared for our labor and delivery and were confident in our own choices regarding our medical care; we shudder to think of how anyone without the immense support and preparation we had on our side could endure the stress Dr. R brings to the labor and delivery room.

We will be going elsewhere for the delivery of our next baby, as we dread the possibility of having to once again cross paths with Dr. R, his grossly unprofessional behavior, and his appalling bedside manner.

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Guest Post: Jillian Klean Zwilling on Feminism

Jillian Marie Klean Zwilling was recently interviewed by a high school student on the topic of feminism. Her answers impressed me so much that I decided to share the full interview here:

Why do you think there is so much backlash with feminism compared to other civil rights movements?

The backlash really has been happening from the beginning of the movement, going back to suffrage, and the reasons given for the backlash have changed substantially over time. I think we have very short cultural memories and think that the backlash is a new phenomenon, but it really isn’t. Alice Paul and Lucy Stone were jailed for working for suffrage. Many people just don’t know that history. This has been true for every single civil rights movement in this country, there has always been a backlash to change. Post slavery, many freed slaves faced horrific conditions and the struggle for voting rights for black men was very fraught. We are more familiar with the history of some groups than others, and those groups often faced significant hardship to make that history more visible to the general public.

In terms of the very recent backlash, I think it is a confluence of many issues. I think Susan Faludi’s work on the backlash does a nice job of pointing out that many people had a vested interest in keeping women out of the upper echelons of the workforce and keeping them from attaining financial freedom in ways they hadn’t before. Women who wanted to achieve top positions and get top quality educations were assigned negative stereotypes and some media outlets were quick to pick those up and perpetuate them.   Any time there is a change in the cultural norm, it takes time for the general population to adjust. But I think most people would agree that getting the vote, and working for women to have more equality in society has had overall positive outcomes. The feminist movement in some ways is a victim of its own success- many younger women look around and feel like equality has been achieved so there is no reason to join the movement, but with the wage gap and other issues of inequality that plague our society there is still more work to be done. Also, there has been a very erroneous message on the part of some younger women who feel that if they claim they are feminists that means they hate men or are working for women to have special privileges, but that is not a tenet of the movement- instead its an argument used to downplay the importance of the movement. On it’s face, feminism is about equality for everyone and that helps both men and women.

Where do you think misconceptions of feminism originate from?

I think a lot of the misconceptions come from the fact that there is no one “type” of feminist- instead feminism is invoked in many different ways by different people, not always with a clear understand of the history of the movement or the theory. Feminism has been painted as a big scary thing by those groups opposed to it, and that message seems to get picked up more often then the messages of actual feminists. There have also been active attempts by some more conservative groups to paint anyone who wants equal rights for women or people of color as extremists who want “special privileges” or to take over society with special interests. I have had conversations about feminism with many, many people and the interesting thing is how many different ideas have about feminism and what is stands for. There is so much controversy about what feminism means, when really it is a very simple idea: equality for all people.

What can feminists do or are currently doing to battle misconceptions of feminism?

I think it is very important for women and men to think about how sexism impacts them personally, and why they might have different expectations for the behavior of men and women. It is important to think about why we are so quick to accept less than full change in this country, as opposed to pushing for full equality. Every year the ERA has been presented to congress since the 1970s and it still has yet to pass. We still have a wage gap in this country, and we are in the very bottom half of the industrialized world when it comes to maternal/fetal health care. The same groups who are espousing “family values” messages are the same groups who opposed paid maternity leave or universal pre-school, why is that? Why are women still evaluated on their attractiveness as opposed to their ideas or contributions to society? Why do women continue to be actively objectified in our mainstream culture? I am very encouraged to see many young women taking up the mantle of equality and women who are in positions of power critiquing the systems they live in. I think women like Beyonce and Taylor Swift are starting some great conversations in feminist circles, and in the general public about how they view themselves and their industry. I am encouraged that men are continuing to publically identify with equality as well. Mark Ruffalo playing the Hulk and also standing for equality is such a great thing!

It seems the word feminism has a bad reputation. Do you think feminists should consider a different name?

Personally, I don’t think changing the name of the movement does much more then further fracture people’s understanding of the movement. Historically, there have been different groups who have claimed different sub-feminist group names (radical feminist, liberal feminists, eco-feminists), but just like any other living movement, there are disagreements between how the movement should proceed and what the important issues are and how to make changes. I don’t think the label is as important as the work that feminists do to ensure equality for everyone, regardless of sex, gender, race, creed, religion, etc.

Where do you see sexism in your day to day life?

I primarily work with college students, and I have to say that many of them are very cognizant of gender and race discrimination, but I still see issues on campus related to race, gender and sexuality discrimination. I still see a lot of pressure on young women to dress and act in particular ways, and the issue of sexual assault is one that affects women disproportionately.   Men do experience sexual assault as well, but historically women who experience sexual assaults are blamed for their assaults in cases of acquaintance rape. This leads to message that women need to stay indoors after dark, that women who drink are responsible for their assaults because they had a drink, that dressing in particular ways is responsible for sexual assaults. Messages like this are not usually aimed at men. That said, men who do experience sexual assault also face significant problems and their masculinity is questioned if they report. In some countries, the way that the laws are written there is no recognition that a man could be sexually assaulted at all. So in the case of sexual assault, victims of either sex face significant stigma and that is very problematic. Anyone who has been assaulted should be able to come forward without facing these types of issues.

There are also studies that show that women who teach are treated differently by students and colleagues than men who teach. People of color who teach are treated differently then white professors. We have inherent biases in behavior that mean we have different expectations for how to treat people and what behavior we expect from them. Women professors are more likely to be thought of as “shrews” when they are assertive, but that same behavior is encouraged in men. Women are not encouraged to negotiate when they are offered jobs but we always expect men to negotiate for more money. Women who do negotiate are often perceived more negatively and it can influence their job opportunities. The expectation that women teachers in general are supposed to be nurturing and maternal effects how women are treated in the classroom both as the teacher and the student. Women also tend to drop out of higher education when they have children and are more likely to be in contingent faculty positions as opposed to tenure track positions because of the biological realities of child bearing. This is bad for both men and women as they work to combat those stereotypes, but it does disproportionally affect women in terms of career and economics.

What form of sexism do you see the most?

I think that most women have experienced micro-aggressions at some point in their lives. Micro-aggressions are when sexism is veiled, so instead of overt sexism, when women are made to feel less than by comments or treated poorly, and then told to “lighten up!” or “it’s a just a joke!”. Micro aggressions are the reason women politicians are discussed in terms of their hair or wardrobe by the media, as opposed to their ideas. It is when a group of people have a meeting and everyone assumes the women will make cookies or coffee without a thought about asking if the men should bring the cookies. Or the expectation that women are supposed to clean or maintain the office kitchen or other roles that aren’t really part of their job descriptions, but are just expected. This is true in terms of many areas of a woman’s life- and often women are made to feel that if they protest these types of things they are being overly sensitive, because it’s not overt sexism, but it does have an impact.

I would say that men face sexism as well. Our culture tells men to suppress their emotions and to act in particular ways that are harmful for men as well. Sexism doesn’t just impact women, it also impacts men in negative ways. We continue in this culture to have a very rigid gender binary and that is harmful to anyone who doesn’t conform to the binary.

Do you think feminists can succeed in gaining equality if people do not understand what feminists are trying to accomplish?

Any time a movement is working toward something, there is always a need for awareness and advocacy. I think as people learn about the movement and what feminism actually stands for, it is hard to argue for continuing inequality for anyone. Again, I don’t think it is so much the label, as the work for equality.

What motivated you to go into academia and address issues of gender?

In terms of motivation, I was working on my M.A. degree in communication studies, and I started to notice that there were many examples of gendered representations in the media that I was examining for my thesis and that those representation were very interesting! I wasn’t planning to research gender specific topics, but it ended up emerging because I couldn’t talk about my work without including these important representations. I research medicine and women’s health, and so gender has to be a part of how I talk about my research, and I also think it has to be a way that we think about the world that we live in. Intersectionality (thinking about issues of race, gender, class and privilege and how they overlap) is very important in both my work and my life.

Do you have any final thoughts?

I think it would be great if more people were exposed to the history of the women’s movement in this country, and if people would do the research to learn about the movement as opposed to listening to the negative hype. If you want to disagree with something, take the time to learn about it. Be an educated dissenter!

Jillian Klean Zwilling is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Communication and an instructor in the Department of Gender and Women’s Studies at the University of Illinois. Her research is centered in the medical humanities and rhetorical theory. She examines women’s health issues through the medium of advertising.

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Hiatus

Hello, readers!

The blog will be on hiatus for approximately 12 months, with intermittent posts when possible.

Have fun in the archives!

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Norman Rockwell Swipes

Not sure that I would actually classify this as a “swipes file,” since it’s mostly the same image, but I give you:

1956

“Happy Birthday, Miss Jones,” Norman RockwellSaturday Evening Post, 17 March 1956.

New York Times, 9 November 2001

New York Times, 9 November 2001

 

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California Map Society Conference, May 2015: “Ghosts of Former Indigenous Inhabitants of Stanford University”

CMSAs a new student member of the California Map Society, I was delighted to have the opportunity to attend the Society’s conference at Stanford University on 2 May 2015. The speakers covered a range of fascinating topics. For the next few weeks, I’ll be sharing my notes from each talk from the event in separate blog posts.

Ghosts of Former Indigenous Inhabitants of Stanford University – John West

atlas

John West spoke about his “Ohlone Stanford Lands” map published in An Atlas of Stanford Counter Maps. I noticed this map during our lunch time tour of Branner Library:

counter map4West explained that part of the inspiration for his cartographic creation came from the mission architecture style on the campus of Stanford University:

arch

He noted that the red tile roofs, stone arches, and fountains are a part of the “Stanford brand” that stands in contrast to the gothic architecture of East Coast ivy league schools. Despite positioning itself as some sort of “ahistorical techno-utopia” (focused on technology, innovation, and novelty), the Spanish mission architecture style, as West argued, actually celebrates colonialism in a visual tribute to the genocide of three quarters of the people on this continent. He pointed out the contradiction between unoccupied land (that was never “in use”) and emptied land (that Indigenous inhabitants have left), noting that these myths work together in support of colonialism and ongoing dispossession.

West used a 1950s survey map (measuring 4 feet by 5 feet) as the base map for his project in an effort to the visual contradiction between an authentic / outsider perspective. Working with Dr. Laura Jones of the Stanford Archeology Department, West initially planned to use his map to show how the Ohlone peoples had densely occupied the Stanford campus, based on the extensive archeological excavations all over the campus.

However, under state (and federal) law, active archeological digs must remain confidential to avoid vandalism and looting, so West instead chose to highlight historical resources, such as waterways, wildlife, and forests–with evidence regarding the latter derived as well as possible from 1940s ariel photos. The river and forests extend beyond the arbitrary boundaries of private boundaries. To avoid having his map show merely a collection of natural resources, West included contemporary sites to show that the Indigenous presence is not gone from the territory. Some of the present-day campus locations of importance to the Native American community and Ohlone peoples that West included on his map are:

1) Cantor Arts Center, which houses many Native American art materials and objects

2) Stanford Powwow, an annual event with roughly 30,000 attendees

3) Stanford Stadium, where alumni attempt to reclaim the inaccurate “Indian” mascot

4) Stanford Archeology Department, which conducts studies and digs on campus

5) Native American Cultural Center, which supports Indigenous students on campus

6) Muwekma-Tah-Ruk, an on-campus house for Indigenous students

7) Field Conservation Facility, which is affiliated with the Archeology Department and houses some of Dr. Jones’s findings from campus

8) Jasper Ridge, which is closed to the public but occasionally used for Ohlone ceremonies

9) Petroglyphs and bedrock quarries, both important to Ohlone peoples and archeological digs. Since these are already publicly known, their locations did not have to remain secret like the active digs.

10) Mount Diablo, which is considered a creation space by many Ohlone peoples

With his map and his talk, West strove to problematize history as it is learned in schools (through celebrations of Columbus Day) and urged us to unlearn lessons about the supposedly “virgin territory” of the United States (and the Stanford campus) by highlighting continuous occupation by Ohlone peoples along the riverbed, as well as use of oak groves for shelter, acorns, and hunting.

Although the present-day Stanford campus that is most broadly accessible includes the quad, residences, and classroom buildings, these are mainly in the precolonial swampy area. While the public can access much of the campus and the Stanford Dish hiking trail, access to much of the 8,000 acres (or 24 square miles) of the campus remain restricted. West used the technique of blacking out names to showcase the physical redaction of names from the historical record and indicate that Ohlone names for the territory may be unknown to contemporary cartographers, but despite this erasure from history, the area was richly labelled and named, densely occupied, and lived in by the Ohlone peoples.

West concluded: “genocide doesn’t disappear just because we’re not talking about it.”

His map was an excellent launching point for further conversations about genocide and colonial dispossession on the Stanford University campus, in California, in the United States, and in the Americas.

Further Reading:

– Joe Bryan and Denis Wood, Weaponizing Maps: Indigenous Peoples and Counterinsurgency in the Americas, 2015.

– CBC News, “First Nations learn to map territories using Google Earth,” 25 August 2014.

– Sacred Land Film Project, “U.S. Laws & Court Cases Involving Sacred Lands

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California Map Society Conference, May 2015: Branner Library Tour

CMSAs a new student member of the California Map Society, I was delighted to have the opportunity to attend the Society’s conference at Stanford University on 2 May 2015. I have been sharing my notes from the event, but this post is mainly photographs from our lunch time tour of Branner Library.

card catalog

On our tour of Stanford University’s Branner Library, we saw a small portion of the maps collection carefully selected for our perusal by the super-awesome staff librarians. Here are photographs of the items that interested me the most:

– “A New American Terrestrial Globe” by James Wilson (1811), the “first dated globe issued in the United States.”

wilson

– “Official map of the city of San Francisco, California” by Josiah J. Lecount (1859):

SF

– “The Exposition City, San Francisco” (1912):

expo

Reminds me of views of Chicago on maps in the Newberry Library collection, and reminds me that lots of cities had expos (a fascinating topic that one sister did her Chicago History Fair project about!).

– This Sanborn fire insurance map of San Francisco (volume 8, from sometime after 1914!):

vol 8

These remind me of the Sanborn fire insurance maps of Chicago in the Newberry Library collection (as well as the maps in the Champaign, Illinois, Cattle Bank museum), and are a great example of why digital maps are so useful. This is volume 8, which weighs a lot but still doesn’t cover the entire city! Plus, updates had to be done manually, with paper and glue and scissors, making the albums even more unwieldy. As an added bonus, the fire insurance maps were not fire proof, so you could lose all of that work in just the type of incident they were insuring against!

That being said, I did get a little lost on the way to the Map Society meeting, digital maps and all. In the end, I resorted to using an old school campus map (supplemented by searching my inbox for the event invitation) and made it in time for coffee.

– My absolute favo(u)rite map was John West’s “Ohlone Stanford Lands” map in An Atlas of Stanford Counter Maps (2013):

BgYcp9aCMAALPoRHe was one of the student speakers in the afternoon session, so I’ll blog more about his map soon!

– The worst thing that I saw was this terrible, terrible, terribly compelling case to which I did not have the key:

lock

I’ll have to go back sometime and find out what’s in there!

In conclusion:

star

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California Map Society Conference, May 2015: “Opening Up the Data Vault”

CMSAs a new student member of the California Map Society, I was delighted to have the opportunity to attend the Society’s conference at Stanford University on 2 May 2015. The speakers covered a range of fascinating topics. For the next few weeks, I’ll be sharing my notes from each talk from the event in separate blog posts.

Opening Up the Data Vault:
Developing Interactive Maps to Engage and Inform the Public
– David Vautin

Among other issues, David Vautin explained how on might answer the question “How many pot holes are in the Bay Area?” As the Senior Transportation Planner / Analyst for the Metropolitan Transportation Commission, Vautin presented some of the useful maps and charts showcasing regional data available for planning around transportation, land use, housing, and infrastructure needs in the greater Bay Area. In the interest of transparency and accountability, this interactive data set is available online at “Vital Signs: Taking the Pulse of the Bay Area.”

Vautin spoke about comparing the charts and maps available to Bay Area planners to the type of interactive tech provided to the public by other metropolitan regions, such as Sandag in San Diego, CMAP and MetroPulse in Chicago, Transport for London, the New York City Regional Planning Association, Measure of America, and the Urban Observatory Project (which allows you to compare information about cities around the world).

Some of the information available on the “Vital Signs” website includes Pavement Condition Index maps (that may be of interest to some of the more engineering-minded readers of this blog!), bridge conditions, historical traffic data, geospatial tools, environmental changes over time, multi- and single-family housing statistics (such as home prices), and interactive graphs regarding transportation details (on ferries, trains, busses–including 26 transit operators).

“Vital Signs” was a massive undertaking, involving challenges from data gathering and sharing to affordability. However, turning complicated spreadsheets into accessible, transparent, palatable maps and diagrams for public use should help in greater support and understanding for short- and long-term planning in the region, which covers 9 counties and 7 million residents. Furthermore, as Vautin noted, “Vital Signs” supports California Senate Bill 375‘s mandate to coordinate living, working, and transit initiatives:

The Sustainable Communities and Climate Protection Act of 2008 supports the State’s climate action goals to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions through coordinated transportation and land use planning with the goal of more sustainable communities.

[An aside: all this talk of planning reminded me of the Parks and Recreation episode “Sister Cities” (15 October 2009), where a visitor from Venezuela tells the City Planner of Pawnee, Indiana: “This city was planned? On the drive in I saw a tattoo parlor next to a school, next to a Taco Bell. It looks like it was designed by a very stupid rodent.” It is easy to see what he meant in some (many?) U.S. cities.]

Further, if tangentially related, reading:

– Kerry Klein, “Largest U.S. roadkill database highlights hotspots on Bay Area highways,” San Jose Mercury News, 6 May 2015.

– Cassie Owens, “New Maps Size Up Transportation Poverty Risks in 4 Cities,” Next City, 4 February 2015.

– Kyle Shelton, “What Old Transit Maps Can Teach Us About a City’s Future,” City Lab, 10 October 2014.

– Rebecca Solnit, Infinite City: A San Francisco Atlas, 26 November 2010. (Suggested by SK.)

– Kristin Miller, “Mapping Our Disconnect,” Boom: A Journal of California, Vol. 4, No. 2, Summer 2014.

– Stamen Design, “Mapping What Is,” Boom: A Journal of California, Vol. 4, No. 2, Summer 2014.

– “Draw the Shape of the Bay @ The Exploratorium in SF,” 3 March 2015.

– “San Francisco Is Not Very Big And We Have The Visualization To Prove It,” 14 May 2015. (Suggested by LK.)

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California Map Society Conference, May 2015: “Ancient Orientations”

CMS

As a new student member of the California Map Society, I was delighted to have the opportunity to attend the Society’s conference at Stanford University on 2 May 2015. The speakers covered a range of fascinating topics. For the next few weeks, I’ll be sharing my notes from each talk from the event in separate blog posts.

“Ancient Orientations: Roman Maps of India” – Grant Parker

Professor Grant Parker spoke about Roman maps of India despite the lack of visual records and evidence from classical times. In other words, the maps from the time are missing, but Roman understandings of India as a place may be reconstructed through available textual records.

Some of the available texts for this effort that he touched upon included:

1) Periplus Maris Erythraei (“Voyage around the Erythraean Sea”), a transcript of practical considerations for traveling from Egypt to India that lists trade goods to carry and details weather conditions during monsoon season (from circa 40-70 CE):

The ships lie at anchor at Barbaricum, but all their cargoes are carried up to the metropolis by the river, to the King. There are imported into this market a great deal of thin clothing, and a little spurious; figured linens, topaz, coral, storax, frankincense, vessels of glass, silver and gold plate, and a little wine. On the other hand there are exported costus, bdellium, lycium, nard, turquoise, lapis lazuli, Seric skins, cotton cloth, silk yarn, and indigo. And sailors set out thither with the Indian Etesian winds, about the month of July, that is Epiphi: it is more dangerous then, but through these winds the voyage is more direct, and sooner completed.

2) Strabo’s The Geography

3) Pliny’s Natural History

4) Ptolemy’s Geographical Guide (a “recipe of how to make maps”)

"[Map of India]," Ptolemy, Cosmographia, 1482.

“[Map of India],” Ptolemy, Cosmographia, 1482.

5) The Peutinger Map, an itinerary showing land connectivity, or how all roads lead to Rome:

peutinger-map

As Parker explained, this seven meter map scroll was not for travel but rather for display and, likely, propagandistic uses.

6) The Vicarello Goblets, engraved with an itinerary listing distances between Rome and Cadiz (as well as other cities):

gobelets-de-vicarello

Like the Peutinger Map (but unlike AAA highway guides), these were not used for travel, although they did offer a practical representation of space and serve as a travel guide.

7) Cosmas Indicopleustes, written by a trader who became a monk:

CosmasIndicopleustes

He was also a flat-earther who thought the world was shaped like the tabernacle.

8) Artemidorus Papyrus

9) Roman classroom maps, as mentioned in a speech by Eumenius:

…[N]ow at last it is a delight to examine a picture of the world, since we see nothing in it which is not ours.

In conclusion, Parker noted, “It’s clear that there are many Indias here.” He urged wariness for scholars, particularly around questions of local knowledge, intended audiences for map, and the provenance of source material. For example, he said, “the Artemidorus papyrus, with its many puzzles, poses intriguing questions about the nature of Roman map-mindedness.”

Further Reading:

– Richard J.A. Talbert, Rome’s World: The Peutinger Map Reconsidered, Cambridge University Press, 2010.

–  David N. Livingstone, The Geographical Tradition: Episodes in the History of a Contested Enterprise, 1992.

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California Map Society Conference, May 2015: “The Arbuckle Illustrated Atlases”

CMSAs a new student member of the California Map Society, I was delighted to have the opportunity to attend the Society’s conference at Stanford University on 2 May 2015. The speakers covered a range of fascinating topics. For the next few weeks, I’ll be sharing each talk from the event in separate blog posts.

“The Arbuckle Illustrated Atlases” – Leonard Rothman

First up, I’d like to share notes from Dr. Leonard Rothman’s talk. Dr. Rothman has an appreciation for map neckties, Holy Land maps, and coffee. He spoke about the atlases of John Arbuckle, compiled from advertisements distributed in coffee sold by the Arbuckle Brothers Coffee Company.

ariosa

1890. Image links to source: David Rumsey Historical Map Collection. This will be relevant in a later post! :-)

As Rothman explained, Arbuckle’s “Ariosa” Coffee was named for Arbuckle (A), bitter coffee found along the river (RIO), and the mild coffee found in Santos, Brazil (SA). The combination of bitter and mild gave Ariosa its distinctive taste.

Arbuckle’s coffee was successful because, prior to the introduction of his packaged coffee product, consumers had to roast and grind their own beans. This meant they had to use their beans relatively quickly. Arbuckle patented a process for preserving roasted beans to “seal in the flavor and freshness.”

His was the first nationally marketed brand, and Arbuckle used strategies like adding peppermint to the packaged coffee to appeal to children. He also added pedagogical cartoons and maps (accompanied by text praising coffee!) to the packages, and ran a promotional program that involved saving copies of his signature to exchange for items of varied value (a la the Kool Aid label rewards program, or Canadian Tire money).

Ad

koolaid

There were some pretty hilarious items available, as Mark Pendergrast details in Uncommon Grounds: The History of Coffee and How It Transformed Our World:

2010, page 70.

Mark Pendergrast, Uncommon Grounds, 2010, page 70.

Rothman focused excerpts from two atlases:

Arbuckles’ Illustrated Atlas of Fifty Principal Nations of The World (1889)

world

Image links to the David Rumsey Historical Map Collection.

– Arbuckles’ lllustrated Atlas of the United States of America (1889)

usa

Image links to the David Rumsey Historical Map Collection.

Along with maps, entries showcased images of local industries (such as mining and farming, or maple syrup in Vermont and grapes in California!), Indigenous peoples (in some cases), population statistics, and sang the praises of the hearty residents of a given state or country whose heartiness was derived–at least in part–from their daily dose of coffee.

territories

Image links to the David Rumsey Historical Map Collection.

CA

Image links to the David Rumsey Historical Map Collection.

Rothman pointed out that not every atlas entry was particularly accurate, as the penguins mistakenly placed alongside the map of Greenland attest:

greenland

Image links to the David Rumsey Historical Map Collection.

He also explained Arbuckle’s role in dismantling the sugar cartel, evading anti-trust laws, and inventing nation-wide marketing in the United States.

Overall, it was a fascinating discussion of some very interesting maps!

Further Reading:

– “Maps from the Arbuckle Bros. Coffee Company,” The Philadelphia Print Shop Ltd.

– “Before Starbucks: Arbuckle Coffee,” New York History Walks, 9 January 2012

– “Coffee as a Disinfectant,” Boston Herald, nd.

The Coffee That Won the West by Francis L. Fugate (1994)

book

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“Everything and everyone serves history’s single purpose.”

A similar tale from two Bills:

5 Nov 1989

Bill Watterson, Calvin and Hobbes, 5 November 1989 Text: PANEL 1 “I’ve been thinking, Hobbes.” PANEL 2 “On a weekend?” “Well, it wasn’t on purpose…” PANEL 3 “I believe history is a force.” PANEL 4 “Its unalterable tide sweeps all people and institutions along its unrelenting path. Everything and everyone serves history’s single purpose.” PANEL 5 “And what is that purpose?” “Why, to produce ME, of course! I’m the end result of history.” PANEL 6 “YOU?” “Think of it! Thousands of generations lived and died to produce my exact, specific parents, whose reason for being, obviously, was to produce ME.” PANEL 7 “All history up to this point has been spent preparing the world for my presence.” “Hmm, 4.5 billion years probably wasn’t long enough” PANEL 8.” Now I’m here, and history is vindicated.” “So now that history’s brought you, what are you going to do?” PANEL 9 “Ooh, you wascawwy wabbit!”

Bill Bryson

Bill Bryson, A Short History of Nearly Everything, 2003

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