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About the Society

The Society for the History of Discoveries was formed to stimulate interest in teaching, research, and publishing the history of geographical exploration. Founded in 1960, the Society includes members from several academic disciplines as well as archivists, non-affiliated scholars, and laypersons with an interest in history. Fellows (or Honorary Fellows) of the Society will have distinguished themselves by scholarship or service; those honored thus far are John Parker, David Beers Quinn, Norman J. W. Thrower, Virginia Garrett , Jenkins Garrett, Arthur Holzheimer, Barbara Backus McCorkle, Louis De Vorsey, David Buisseret, Carol Urness, Sanford Bederman, Ralph E. Ehrenberg, Peter van der Krogt, John Logan Allen, Dennis P. Reinhartz, Francis Herbert, Carla Rahn Phillips and Thomas F. Sander.

Click here for recollections of the founding and growth of the Society from early members Sanford Bederman, Thom Goldstein, Barbara Backus McCorkle, John Parker, Norman J. W. Thrower, and Carol Louise Urness.

The scope of the Society's activities encompasses the discovery, exploration, and mapping of the earth's land and sea surface from earliest times to the present - the explorers and the explored. Fields of specialization thus include the history of European expansion, cartography, navigation, colonial settlement, biography, and bibliography.

The Society's program of publications includes Terrae Incognitae, a journal of research papers and book reviews published annually from 1969 through 2010, and semiannually beginning in 2011, and five volumes in the series Studies in the History of Discoveries published jointly with the Newberry Library. For a listing of past editors and publishers of Terrae Incognitae, click here.  In addition, the spring Newsletter reports current and planned activities of the Society's members and general news related to the history of cartography, discovery, and exploration. The Annual Report is issued in December.

Annual Meetings (sometimes held jointly with kindred societies such as the Hakluyt Society), are generally held in the fall and are two or three days in duration. They afford members an opportunity to present, hear and discuss papers on subjects in their fields of specialization; most also include visits to, or participation in, nearby points of interest and events. Click here for information on past and future meetings.

The records of the Society are kept at the University of Texas at Arlington. Click here for a SHD Records Finding Aid in A GUIDE TO ARCHIVES AND MANUSCRIPT COLLECTIONS in the Special Collections Division at The University of Texas at Arlington Libraries.

Click here for the Society's Articles of Association

OFFICERS FOR 2015-2017

PRESIDENT– Dr. James Matthews
Associate Professor of French/Dean of Students
Buck 207
Illinois Wesleyan University
Bloomington, IL 61702-2900

VICE PRESIDENT –Dr. Marguerite Ragnow
Curator, James Ford Bell Library
University of Minnesota
309-19th Avenue South, 472 OMWL
Minneapolis, MN  55455

1140 Domain Drive, #5104
Austin, TX 78758 USA

TREASURER – William Brandenberg (through Jan 2017)
Position is currently open.  Please contact Lauren Beck, chair of the nominating committee, if you are interested in serving: 

COUNCIL 2015-2017

Mirela Altic   
Imre Demhardt (ex-officio)
Tiago Jones  
Anne Good 
Dennis Reinhartz
Charles Sullivan
Ray Wolf

Click here for past officers and council members.


This position is currently open.  Please contact Marguerite Ragnow, vice president, if you are interested in serving: 


Editor: Lauren Beck, Dept Modern Languages and Literatures, Mount Allison University,
Associate Editors: Dr. Gayle Brunelle (California State University, Fullerton), Anthony Mullan (Library of Congress)
Book review editor: David Buisseret, Newberry Library

Editorial advisory board

Mirela Altić, Institute of Social Sciences, Croatia
Imre Demhardt, Arlington, Texas
Ralph Ehrenberg, Falls Church, Virginia
Barry Gough, Alexandro Malaspina Research Centre, Vancouver Island University, Canada
Donald Harreld, Provo, Utah
Francis Herbert, London, England
Gregory McIntosh, Piri Reis University, Turkey
Bruce Solnick, Lenox, Massachusetts
Carol Urness, Minneapolis, Minnesota

All original content, translations and code
Copyright © The Society for the History of Discoveries 1999 - 2015. All rights reserved.