“2e Mappe-Monde 1754,” from Jean Palairet, Atlas méthodique (London: J. Nourse and P. Vaillant, 1755).  41cm x 72cm. Courtesy of the David Rumsey Historical Map Collection.

The History of Cartography Project is a research, editorial, and publishing venture drawing international attention to the history of maps and mapping. The Project’s major work is the multi-volume History of Cartography series. The History is the flagship publication of an expanding, interdisciplinary field that brings together scholars in the arts, sciences, and humanities. Prepared for both scholarly and lay audiences, the series provides the interpretive structure necessary to assess, appreciate, and analyze maps from all periods and cultures. Designed specifically to facilitate the understanding and use of maps as human documents, the History is the only comprehensive and reliable work that studies the people, cultures, and societies that have produced and consumed maps from prehistoric times to the present. The History is the reference work of first resort for those interested in topics as diverse as geography, art history, or the history of science and for scholars, teachers, students, librarians, and the general public. As such, it stands as “one of the most sweeping academic undertakingsof a generation” (NEH 2015).

As a reference resource it pays special attention to the accuracy and completeness of its information, synthesizing narratives, and methodological insights. The volumes integrate existing scholarship with new research, examining an unprecedented range of artifacts from local maps to those of the cosmos. The books are extensively illustrated and contain detailed footnotes, appendixes, and reference maps. The award winning series, founded by J. B. Harley and David Woodward, is now edited by a team of scholars and published by the University of Chicago Press.

For information about current Project activities, read our most recently-published newsletter at our archive of Project newsletters.