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New Exhibit – Art of War: Illustrated and Military Maps of the Twentieth Century

 

Our latest exhibit, Art of War: Illustrated and Military Maps of the Twentieth Century, is now on display on the 1st floor of Falvey Library and in select cases at the Prince Family Veterans Resource Center. Both locations feature a selection of two types of imagery: maps that are illustrated, highly pictorial, and created for public distribution; and topographic maps that have been created by government war offices for use in military conflict. The juxtaposition forces a close analysis of the very nature of maps. Often assumed as truthful and accurate, maps lead and guide the way, provide direction, and help us make decisions. Yet as with anything that is human-made there are things to consider – the knowledge or bias of the creator, the intended audience, the purpose of the document.

These examples, largely drawn from the John F. Smith, III and Susan B. Smith Antique Map Collection, explore major conflicts of the twentieth century and emphasize the inherently ephemeral quality of maps. These maps have urgency and are very much “of the moment” – whether they are illustrating a political viewpoint or guiding military forces – they compel us to consider the control, reliability, and availability of wartime information.

The exhibit was co-curated by Rebecca Oviedo, Distinctive Collections Archivist, and Christoforos Sassaris, Distinctive Collections Coordinator, with graphics created by Joanne Quinn, Director of Communication and Marketing. Stay tuned for more information on a coordinating event and reception, to be held later this fall during the week of Veteran’s Day.

 

Military Mapping Maidens (3Ms) case in Falvey Library

 

Cases at the Prince Family Veteran’s Resource Center in Vasey Hall

 

 


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New Exhibit on Illustrated and Military Maps

Low, David, Caricature of Post-War Europe. [London]: Picture Post, 1952, SMITH VII-49.

Maps do far more than showing us the locations of places. They can persuade viewers and shape their perceptions of the world. They can also offer critical insight that leads to world-changing decisions, especially in times of war.

Art of War: Illustrated and Military Maps of the Twentieth Century, an upcoming exhibition co-curated by Rebecca Oviedo, Distinctive Collections Archivist, and Christoforos Sassaris, Distinctive Collections Coordinator, explores the creation and various uses of illustrated and military maps in the twentieth century. The maps are drawn mainly from the most recent addition of items generously donated to the John F. Smith, III and Susan B. Smith Antique Maps Collection. Several maps from this extensive collection have been digitized and can be viewed on Falvey’s Digital Library. You may also access an audio tour in which Mr. Smith comments on the maps’ significance.

Situation Map to Accompany Subj 5303/3. Münster. Central Europe 1:100,000. G.S.G.S. 4416 Published by War Office 1944. Revised, drawn and photolithographed at O.S. Army Map Service, U.S. Army, Washington, D.C., 1944. Reproduced at the U.S. Army Command and Staff College, 1947. SMITH VII-50.

The maps on view will range from strategic situation maps used by the US military to pictorial maps that implement satire and caricature to influence public perception of ongoing conflicts. Together, these maps shed light on how the spread of information—both textual and visual—took part in shaping major conflicts of the twentieth century.

Art of War: Illustrated and Military Maps of the Twentieth Century is co-hosted by Falvey Memorial Library and the Office of Veterans and Military Service Members, and will be viewable on both the first floor of Falvey Memorial Library and in the Prince Family Veterans Resource Center starting on September 8th through the remainder of the fall semester.

We hope to see you there!


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Travel the world through maps!

Many people’s summer travel plans have been canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but you can still get a taste of places near and far through our newly-launched website, Projecting the World: An Audio Tour of the John F. Smith, III and Susan B. Smith Antique Map Collection. This website provides a virtual tour of the Smith Antique Map Collection, pairing digital images of maps and illustrations with audio commentary from their collector, Mr. Smith. This trip also involves time travel as these materials span the 16th through the 21st centuries.

Map of the Bahamas and surrounding islands

A new chart of the Bahama Islands and the windward passage.

Set sail for the Bahamas in this beautifully colored map from 1749. Besides the islands, the map depicts the shallow areas of the Bahama Bank and the Grand Bahama Bank, which posed a danger to ships.

Map of Europe in the shape of a queen

Map of Europe as queen.

Take a flight of fancy to Europe in this image that rearranges the countries of that continent to resemble a queen. This may not be useful as a map for getting around, but it is certainly an eye-catching image!

Photo of Earth from space

The planet Earth.

You can even do some space travel in this collection! This 2004 image of the Earth from space is one example of how human spaceflight has drastically changed our perspective on our planet.

Map of Pennsylvania

A map of Pennsylvania exhibiting not only the improved parts of that Province, but also its extensive frontiers.

If you want to stay closer to home, take a road trip across this marvelous map of Pennsylvania from 1775. Watch out for the Great Swamp and the Endless Mountains!

These are just a few of the many places you can explore through Projecting the World, so be sure to visit the site for more virtual travel adventures near and far.

This project, like so many things, has been interrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic and, as a result, the website currently only presents selected materials from the collection for which both an image and a recording are available. To view all of the items in the Smith Antique Map Collection, view the records in the library’s catalog.


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Last Modified: July 27, 2020