Mapping Texas: A Cartographic Journey, 1561 to 1860

Image courtesy of Carlye Thornton, Senior Specialist, Marketing & Communications for University Libraries and ITS.

by Rachel DeShong, Special Event Coordinator and Map Curator

On November 14th, The Texas Collection hosted its annual fall lecture which focused on the newly published book Mapping Texas: A Cartographic Journey, 1561 to 1860. This project, published by Baylor University Press, was a collaborative work written by John S. Wilson, Baylor’s Interim Dean of Libraries and Director of The Texas Collection, Sierra M. Wilson, Print Production Coordinator for the University of Chicago Press, and Rachel DeShong, the Map Curator at The Texas Collection. Mapping Texas features 44 full color maps from the Frances C. Poage Map Room in the style of a large, coffee-table book. At the lecture, the authors explored the origins of the iconic boundary of Texas, highlights from some of the more prominent maps, and the practical and artistic aspects of map cartouches.

The first map the speakers analyzed was Nueva Hispania Tabula Nova[1], 1561. This is one of the earliest maps in our collection and is one of the first maps that accurately depicts the Texas coastline. The map is notable because of the various editions – also referred to as “states” – that exist. The third edition, which The Texas Collection owns, is distinguished by the introductions of new place names and the illustration of a ship in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.Continue Reading