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.”


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


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


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:


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

In conclusion:


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One Response to California Map Society Conference, May 2015: Branner Library Tour

  1. Pingback: California Map Society & Stanford Lecture Series Notes | This dissertation is going to be fun, like dessert

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