History of geographical exploration
Society for the History of Discoveries
Cartography, maps and mapping
About the Society
SHD History
How to Join
Terrae Incognitae
Student Prize
SHD Fellows
SHD News
Members Area
Society Shop
Society Newsletter
Annual Meeting

59th Annual Meeting of the
Society for the History of Discoveries.

Great Mountains of the American West.
Golden, Colorado September 20-23, 2018.


2018 Annual Meeting

Arranged Alphabetically By Author

Once Upon a Time When Jesuits Mapped the Gold Fields

Mirela Altić

Institute of Social Sciences, Croatia

Though they did not participate in the exploitation of the mineral resources of New Spain, the Jesuits were present at the sites of mining activities, witnessing the participation of military and colonial authorities in this lucrative business. Being in charge of the local nations, whose members were enslaved to work in the mines, the Jesuits were well acquainted with gold and silver fields near their missions. Mining, with its high income and its need for a (free) labour force, strongly influenced not only the surrounding missions, but also the military organization of the borderlands. Due to the importance of the mines, the presidios, which used to be located on the outskirts of the province, were later moved closer to the mines. The tensions in gold mining in northern New Spain reached their peak in the first decades of the eighteenth century, which resulted in frequent uprisings of the local population and subsequent military inspections with attempts at reorganization of the borderland.

A recently discovered Jesuit map, created just after the military inspection of northern New Spain carried out by Pedro de Rivera, provides us with a detailed presentation of the royal mines, and with their exact position in relation to the missions and presidios. The inclusion of military and economic information into a missionary map reflects the close connection of these issues. The increasingly frequent uprisings of the native people, who were forced to work in royal mines, and the need for their military control, required closer relations between the Jesuits and military authorities. That led to the intensified exchange of knowledge and direct cooperation in mapping activities. Jesuit (and Franciscan) missionary maps of New Spain contained more and more military information, while military maps of the same region provided more detailed information on missionary activities.

Note on contributor: Dr. Mirela Altić is a chief research fellow at the Institute of Social Sciences in Zagreb, Croatia. In the Department of History, University of Zagreb, Dr. Altić holds the rank of full professor and lectures on the history of cartography and historical geography. Besides her specialization in South Eastern and Central European map history, during the last few years she has published extensively on the Jesuit cartography of Americas and conducts research in European and American Jesuit archives and libraries. She is the author of twelve books, numerous scholarly papers and a contributor to The History of Cartography Project. She is Vice-Chair of ICA Commission on the History of Cartography and Vice-President/President Elect of SHD.

Reconceptualizing Discovery and Exploration History: New Pathways and Methods

Lauren Beck
Mount Allison University

On the occasion of Terrae Incognitae’s 50th anniversary in print, the subject of celebrating such an anniversary also raises some thought-provoking questions regarding our journal’s mission and scope, particularly as a vehicle of knowledge. Over the course of these five decades, we have seen significant growth in scholarship on the history of discovery and exploration. Once a Eurocentric field of study nearly entirely concerned with the movements of Europeans, scholarship now focuses on the experiences of non-Europeans. How do these events raise broader questions about the human condition and its quest for power through knowledge, wealth, and territory; what sort of methodologies allow us to better understand first and early contact between peoples, nations, and technologies; which sources and research questions will provide us with better knowledge about the history of discovery and exploration; aside from textual and cartographic sources, what other material evidence documents intercultural encounter and the itinerancy of humanity?

And then there is the definition of discovery, its outmoded use in scholarship to describe European arrivals to places that were known to other people, and its replicants. We observe the scarce use of the term to describe the experiences of non-Europeans. Many vocabularies for European expansion rely on terms such as conquest whereas incursions by non-Europeans are characterized as invasions. This terminology matters, more so because the subtitle for this journal is complicit in maintaining the Eurocentrism that we are trying our best to challenge in our pages.

This presentation will contextualize some of these problems and propose possible solutions and ways forward, in particular for our journal, its title, and scope.  

Note on contributor: Lauren Beck specializes in the visual culture of the early-modern Atlantic world, with interests in text-and-image relations, historical cartography, and marginalized voices. She holds the Canada Research Chair in Intercultural Encounter and is Associate Professor of Hispanic Studies at Mount Allison University and editor of Terrae Incognitae. Her recent publications include Visualizing the Text: From Manuscript Culture to Caricature (co-edited with C. Ionescu, University of Delaware Press, 2017); Canada before Confederation: Maps from the Exhibition (co-authored with C. Van Duzer, Vernon Press, 2017); and Transforming the Enemy in Spanish Culture: The Conquest through the Lens of Visual and Textual Multiplicity (Cambria Press, 2013). Her articles have appeared in several journals, including most recently Renaissance Quarterly and Journal of Women’s History. She currently holds several external grants from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, the Canada History Fund, and the Canada Foundation for Innovation.

Discovery by Steam:
Exploring the Early American West Using the First High Technology

John Laurence Busch
264 Oenoke Ridge, New Canaan, CT 06840  USA

In 1807, the American Robert Fulton ran the first practical, commercially successful steamboat in history.  With his North River Steam Boat, Fulton broke through an important psychological barrier: it was, in fact, possible for humans to use an artificial power to alter time and space to practical effect.  As such, steam-powered vessels represent the first “high technology” in history. But Fulton and his financial partner, Robert R. Livingston, weren’t really thinking about the Hudson (or North) River when they built this steamboat—instead, they were thinking about the West.
This paper and presentation will argue that the American Age of Discovery should be split into two distinct phases: the first relied entirely—by necessity—on natural means of movement; the second benefited greatly from the use of steam-powered vessels to either support or even carry out expeditions into the American West. This will be supported by an analysis of efforts to penetrate deeper and deeper into the American West using steamboats from ~1811 to ~1830.  Both private and publicly funded expeditions will be included.  The primary tool for analysis will be a thorough review of historical American newspapers from the period.  The analysis also will set the objective of seeking out patterns of exploration using steam vessels.  The result will be a more detailed, comprehensive understanding of how this first high technology dramatically accelerated the act of discovery in the American West. Finally, the presentation will “zoom out,” and analyze how steamboats served as the vanguard of a succession of high technologies that furthered humanity’s ability to discover.

Note on contributor: John Laurence Busch was born in 1963 in Parkersburg, West Virginia, in the United States. He entered The Ohio State University in June 1981, and graduated in March 1984 with a major degree in International Studies and a minor degree in Economics, and included studies at New College, The University of Oxford, United Kingdom. He is an independent historian, focusing upon the interaction between humanity and technology, particularly in the early 19th century.

Art and History of the West on Twentieth-Century Texas County Maps

Mylynka Kilgore Cardona
Texas A&M University - Commerce
PO BOX 3011, Commerce, Texas 75429   USA

This paper is an investigation into the history depicted on the twentieth-century county maps of Texas drafted and illustrated by Texas General Land Office (GLO) draftswoman Eltea Armstrong. Armstrong worked for the GLO for 37 years and drafted 70 official county maps for the state.  Several of her maps are embellished with beautiful renderings of state symbols, flags, people, and even animals. A selection of her county maps feature vignettes of history for that particular county.  Beautifully rendered in colored ink, each map is a piece of art in its own right. However, these official records also depict dark times in Texas and United States history.  This paper analyses the included county historical events of the nineteenth century as rendered through the lens of a mid-twentieth century artist and mapmaker.

This presentation is part of a new project I am undertaking about Eltea Armstrong and her maps. The research is new and is based on selections from the maps and other works by Armstrong housed in the archives at the Texas General Land Office in Austin, Texas. The larger project, depending on where the sources lead, will either be one about Armstrong herself or as part of a work on twentieth-century women mapmakers.

Note on contributor: Mylynka Kilgore Cardona is an Assistant Professor of History and Public History at Texas A&M University-Commerce in Commerce, Texas.  She holds her PhD in Transatlantic History, with work in historical cartography under Dr. Imre J. Demhardt. She recently worked as a map curator for the Texas General Land Office (GLO) in Austin, Texas where she discovered Eltea Armstrong and her art.  Cardona curated cartographic exhibits for the GLO at the Witte Museum in San Antonio, Texas, the Houston Museum of Natural Science, in Houston, Texas, and most recently an exhibit of Eltea Armstrong’s Texas county maps at the Bullock Texas State History Museum in Austin, Texas.

Demystifying Desolation: A Cartographic History of the Atacama Desert, 1700 – 1900

Richard Francaviglia
Willamette University, Salem, Oregon
3117 Lakeview Drive NW, Salem, Oregon 97304

This presentation examines 18th and 19th century maps of western South America to show how the Atacama Desert became part of the scientific and popular imagination. Although the name “Atacama” originally referred to Spain's sparsely populated political province in southern Peru and northern Chile, that changed beginning about 1700 when climate and landscape began to be factored into depictions of this arid region. Among the important cartographicmilestones, Guillaume Delisle’s Carte du Paraguay, du Chili… (Paris, 1703/1708 - 1718) appears to be the first published European map delineating the “Desert d’ Atacama.” Delisle's map soon influenced others. By 1775, Juan Cruz de la Cano's América Meridional set a new standard in mapping this region. In the early 19th century, the Atacama Desert was becoming common on maps of South America.  The Geographical, Statistical, and Historical map of Chili (sic) by Carey and Lea (Philadelphia, 1822) calls it the “Great Desart [sic] of Atacama.”  A French version of this American map was published in Paris three years later (1825).  In 1835, Charles Darwin traversed and mapped a portion of this "very desolate" region whose mineral wealth was now luring investors. Ironically, designating this region as "desert" appears to have steered early natural historians away from it as they were then searching for places with more abundant flora and fauna.  However, by mid-century (1849-52), Lt. J. M. Gilliss directed the U.S. Naval Astronomical Expedition to the Southern Hemisphere, making some observations about natural history and producing a map of Chile that depicted the “Desert of Atacama” in considerable detail.  In 1853-54,the German naturalist Rudolph A. Philippi explored the region and subsequently (1860) published the first scientific report on the “Wüste Atacama” (Atacama Desert), which included a map. Actually, about three years earlier (1856-57), German mapmaker August Petermann had already published a map of the Atacama Desert, and attributed the information on it to Philippi's expedition. Petermann also published maps of Bolivia that included a section of this desert.  One of the most highly detailed maps of the region's mineral resources ever prepared  -- Petermann's remarkable Karte der Salzwüste Atacama und des Grenzgebietsswischen Chile, Bolivia & Peru -- was published a year after his death (1879). Following the War of the Pacific (1879-1884), the Atacama Desert and its mineral riches now belonged entirely to Chile, and detailed mapping of the region was conducted by private and governmental expeditions aimed at further encouraging mining ventures. Noteworthy among these is Francisco J. San Román’s majestic Carta Jeográfica del Desiertoi Cordilleras de Atacama (1892), which represented state-of-the-art late 19th century mapping.  By then, the Atacama was well fixed in the popular imagination, the scientific world-view, and the minds of foreign investors.

Originality of Research. To my knowledge, this will be the first SHD presentation to address the cartographic history of the Atacama Desert, and perhaps even the first covering this remote part of South America.  It builds upon maps and other cartographic devices discussed in my 2016 article in Terrae Incognitae, which covered a longer time period in less depth. It also presents maps in my personal collection, including those associated with Petermann's Geographische Mitteilungen. One map mentioned in the abstract  -- Francisco J. San Román's 1892 Carta Jeográfica del Desiertoi Cordilleras de Atacama -- is discussed in considerable detail as it comprehensively depicts natural and cultural features following the War of the Pacific. With copies of these maps in hand, I have field-checked portions of them and offer insights on the challenges faced by mapmakers in the Atacama.  Secondary sources include journal articles and reports such as Toribio Medina’s encyclopedic Mapoteca Chilena. The presentation also acknowledges more recent scholarship, including Mélica Muñoz-Schick's "Viajes de Philippi a la Región de Atacama" (2008), the chapter by Karl Offen titled "Minerals and War" (in Mapping Latin America, Jordana Dym and Karl Offen, eds., 2011), as well as current work by cartographic historian José Antonio González Pizarro (Universidad Católica del Norte, Antofagasta, Chile) on the role of mining and railroad development in stimulating 19th and early 20th century mapping in this region.

Note on contributor: Geographer and historian Richard Francaviglia is Professor Emeritus and former Director of the Center for Greater Southwestern Studies and the History of Cartography at University of Texas at Arlington. During his academic career, he also served as President of the Society for the History of Discoveries (SHD) and the Association for Arid Lands Studies (AALS).  He is author of several books addressing cartographic history, including The Cast Iron Forest: A Natural and Cultural History of the North American Cross Timbers (2000), Mapping and Imagination in the Great Basin: A Cartographic History (2005), and The Mapmakers of New Zion: A Cartographic History of Mormonism (2015). He conducts independent research in Salem, Oregon, and is an Associated Scholar at Willamette University.  His book manuscript titled Imagining the Atacama Desert: A Five Hundred Year Journey of Discovery is currently in press and scheduled to be published shortly before this presentation is given at the 2018 SHD meeting.

Albert Einstein and the Fringe Scholars: Immanuel Velikovsky and Charles H. Hapgood

Ronald Fritze
Athens State University
300 Beaty Street, Athens, AL 35611

Albert Einstein has a well-deserved reputation as the greatest scientist of the twentieth century.  He was also a true humanitarian and a scholar who kept his mind open to new ideas.  Many people approached Einstein for advice and support.  Some of them were people engaged in what seemed at the time was dubious scholarship and now is almost universally considered pseudo-science or pseudo-history. Velikovsky and Hapgood both fall into this category and both approached Einstein for support. Velikovsky is best known as the author of Worlds in Collision while Hapgood is best known as the author of Maps of the Ancient Sea Kings, a classic of the pseudo-history of cartography.  This paper will examine Einstein’s relationship with these two men.  It is based on their correspondence which can be found in the Velikovsky archives and in the Einstein papers at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

Note on contributor: Ronald Fritze is the author of New Worlds: The Great Voyages of Discovery, c.1400-1600.  Stroud, Gloucestershire: Sutton Publishing/Westport, CT: Praeger, 2002; Invented Knowledge: False History, Fake Science, and Pseudo-Religions.  London: Reaktion Books, March 2009; Egyptomania: A History of Fascination, Fantasy, and Obsession.  London: Reaktion Books, 2016 and is currently working on Alternative Histories and Popular Culture: Myths, Distortions, and Fantasy.  Under contract with Reaktion Books for publication in 2020.  

Clarence King & His Friends: On Mountaineering in the American West

Matthew Green
614 E. Chamberlin Street
Dixon, IL 61021

Clarence King was a pioneer of nineteenth century American mountaineering. With an unrestrained imagination and irrepressible will, he boldly pushed into high alpine regions and wrote colorful narratives of his explorations. However, his is no simple story of pure self-reliance. Friendships are a vital part of King’s mountaineering. King’s bold mountain leadership was made possible through powerful relationships and with the support of intrepid friends. The friendships of a small collection of rugged mountaineers in the American West, and the web of ties linking them with the broader society, offer unique perspectives into nineteenth century American culture.

I conducted extensive primary source research to complete this master’s thesis paper at multiple archives, including the following:Federal Archives Consulted- National Archives, Washington, D.C.; Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.; United States Geological Survey, Office of Scientific Publications, Reston, VA. I also read and researched many of the works of Clarence King, particularly his book, Mountaineering in the Sierra Nevada, originally published in 1872.

Note on contributor: On August 1, 2017, I left a thirteen-year military career after resigning my officer’s commission as a major in the United States Marine Corps. I saw and experienced enough in the military to give me a sense of how much historical questions can and do impact the present. My purpose in pursuing history doctoral studies is to engage with other students and professors in refining and advancing my understanding of history. My professional goal is to find work as a professor of western history in order to enable others in their pursuit of a similar purpose.

Master of Arts in History, George Washington University. Applied and offered admission to the history doctoral programs at the University of Utah and Montana State University, pending response from the University of Colorado, the University of California-Santa Barbara, and the University of California-Riverside.

Mapping an Arctic Life:  Discovering Robert Abram Bartlett of the Canadian Arctic Expedition and Peary’s 1909 North Pole Expedition

Maura Hanrahan
Department of Indigenous Studies
4401 University Drive, University of Lethbridge
Lethbridge, Alberta, T1K 6T5

The word ‘discover’ implies the unexpected and newness, something that is not yet known and carries with it an element of surprise. Captain Robert Abram Bartlett (1875-1946) set out for the North Pole with Admiral Peary and later went in search of undiscovered realms in the Western Arctic, leading the Northern Party of the Canadian Arctic Expedition after Vilhjalmur Stefansson left the Karluk in 1913. Bartlett was one of many larger than life figures who felt drawn to what was considered meta incognito, the unknown land of the Arctic. He went beyond navigating to taking on the mantle of explorer and, while he was an innovator, he might also be seen as a throwback to Captain James Cook. But what do we really know of the explorers as people and, I ask, of Bartlett in particular?

This paper presents my work in discovering an explorer, Robert Abram Bartlett, and deconstructing his public image to understand his inner life. It is based on my book, Unchained Man: The Arctic Life and Times of Captain Robert Abram Bartlett, to be published early in the summer of 2018. Like most explorers, Bartlett collected awards, including the Hubbard Medal. Bartlett was wildly popular on the 1930s lecture circuit, and did numerous commercial endorsements, including for Coopers long johns and Remington guns. Bartlett’s writing and writing about Bartlett are rooted in the great man school of history. Yet Bartlett’s efforts were collective, involving Inuit like Claude Kataktovik, patrons like publisher George Putnam, and many others.

While Bartlett aimed to discover new Arctic islands and reach untrodden places, it is difficult – but not impossible – to discover him. As an individual, Bartlett wanted to remain undiscovered. As his biographer, I had to dig deep to find him and understand him. His public persona fits the mold of Arctic explorer and was easy to access and, for pragmatic reasons, he built and maintained it as he did. But Bartlett the man was an introvert who had few close friends, never married, and lived most of his adult life alone in a messy room in the Murray Hotel in New York. Although introversion does not necessarily correspond to loneliness, Bartlett experienced long bouts of loneliness. He was passionate about wildflowers and the poetry of Omar Khayyam. He felt at home only in the Arctic. Although, in 1927, the British journalist Sir Philip Gibbs wrote of him as an “unchained man,” Bartlett was hardly that, as I have discovered.

Note on contributor: Maura Hanrahan is Board of Governors Research Chair & Associate Professor in the Department of Indigenous Studies at the University of Lethbridge, Lethbridge, Alberta. She is also an adjunct professor with the Environmental Policy Institute, Memorial University, Corner Brook, Newfoundland and Labrador. She has a PhD in Sea-Use Law, Economics and Policy from the London School of Economics and Political Science, where she was a Rothermere Fellow and an LSE Fellow. Like Bob Bartlett, the subject of her forthcoming book, Maura grew up in Newfoundland and Labrador. Her 12th book, Unchained Man: The Arctic Life and Times of Captain Robert Abram Bartlett, is forthcoming.

Transits, Timbers, and Tunnels: The Legacy of Colorado Inventor David W. Brunton

Ginny Kilander
American Heritage Center, University of Wyoming.
University Ave., Laramie, WY 82071

In September of 1894, a Canadian born inventor and mining engineer living in Aspen, CO, patented a device that would revolutionize geologic and mining fieldwork. Having grown tired of hauling multiple measuring devices into the field, David Brunton invented the vest-sized handheld surveying compass known as the “Brunton Pocket Transit” or more simply “the Brunton.”  Described as “the most convenient, compact and accurate instrument for preliminary surveying on the surface or underground,” the compass was in use from Australia to Alaska.  Brunton continued to improve the device, eventually holding six patents, and over 60,000 of the devices were manufactured in the first thirty years of production. The U.S. Geological Survey adopted use of the transit for geologic and topographic work, and numerous engineers, geologists, and mine managers assumed use of the invention, too.

Manufactured exclusively by Denver’s William Ainsworth & Sons Company beginning in 1896, this precision instrument firm also was the first Western U.S. manufacturer of surveying balances. Ainsworth & Sons ceased production of the transit in the 1960s when the company was purchased by a Texas firm. A Riverton, Wyoming company, purchased the compass manufacturing rights and the Brunton name in 1972, and the Brunton Company is still in production today.

During World War I, David Brunton served multiple roles with the U.S. Naval Consulting Board, chaired by Thomas Edison, and the U.S military manufactured four of his inventions to support the war efforts. During World War II improvements were made to the existing inventions and again produced for military use.  Brunton is most well-known for his Pocket Transit, but he also invented numerous other devices and held twenty patents, including those for mining pumps, ore roasters, ore-sampling machines, and mining timbers.  He also held patents for a circular slide-rule, car-coupling, and for improvements to the velocipede-car.

Brunton focused his professional life in Colorado with mine surveying, mine examinations, ore sampling, and tunnel work, supplemented with worldwide mining and engineering consulting work based out of his Denver office. His pioneering work as an engineer and supervisor of multiple Colorado tunnel projects resulted in the publication of a book and articles on his innovative techniques.

Brunton’s long-term impact in the geologic and mining fields has been particularly significant. U.S astronaut training for the Apollo moon missions used his Brunton transit, and today, one hundred and fifteen years after the original patent was granted, countless geologists and surveyors, archaeologists, students, and outdoor enthusiasts still use the device.

This talk will draw from research in primary sources related to David Brunton and William Ainsworth held by the Colorado School of Mines, Denver Public Library, Colorado Historical Society, and the University of Wyoming’s American Heritage Center. Brunton’s patents, publications and personal papers will be included in the study, with assorted secondary sources that discuss the impact of his contributions to multiple fields of research and development.  The article was published as a chapter in the 2011 book, Enterprise and Innovation in the Pikes Peak Region (Pikes Peak Regional History Series). Pikes Peak Library District with Dream City Vision 2020. Colorado Springs, CO, pp. 65-101. Editors:  Tim Blevins, Dennis Daily, Sydne Dean, Chris Nicholl, and Michael L. Olsen.

Note on contributor: Ginny Kilander is a faculty reference archivist at the American Heritage Center at the University of Wyoming. Currently the head of reference services, her work at the AHC also includes the acquisition of mining, petroleum and energy collections, and she serves as the manager of the Center’s 1.8 million Anaconda Copper Mining Company Records.  This topic was first inspired by her research in the Center’s own William Ainsworth papers.  She is a board member of the Mining History Association, and currently serves on the Mining Heritage Award Committee.

Crossing the Sierra Nevada Mountains into California:
from Jedediah Smith to the Interstate Highways

J. C. McElveen
121 Madison Place, Alexandria, Virginia 22314

Jedediah Smith is generally credited as being the first American to cross the Sierra Nevada Mountains of California, in 1827.  When only a few fur trappers and settlers were crossing into Mexican California from the 1820s until the late 1840s, convenient and well-maintained passes were not critical.  However, when the Donner party disaster occurred in the winter of 1847, gold was discovered in California in early 1848, and California became a part of the United States later in 1848, the necessity of establishing reliable passes through the Sierras became very important.  Routes to California, such as sailing around the tip of South America; sailing to Central America, crossing the mosquito-infested isthmus and taking another ship; or crossing the Mojave Desert all presented considerable difficulties.

This presentation will examine the evaluation of various routes across the Sierra Nevada Mountains, discuss their suitability for travelers on foot, with wagons, on rail and by car.  Certain ill-advised journeys, such as that of the Donner Party will be examined, as will the discovery of the Yosemite Valley and efforts to make it accessible.

The presentation will identify which of the multiple passes through the Sierra Nevada Mountains are suitable for what types of conveyance, and what modifications needed to be made, to make certain routes passable. 

Note on contributor: I practiced law for 40 years, and I retired in 2012.  I have volunteered at the Geography and Map Division of the Library of Congress, at the National Museum of the American Indian and at the Folger Shakespeare Library.  I am a member of the Society for the History of Discoveries, the International Map Collectors Society and the Washington Map Society.  Over the years, I have served the Washington Map Society as Vice-President and Program Chair, and as President. From late March through May of 2018, I will be curating an exhibit of my maps and books entitled 'Westward the Course of Empire’: Exploring and Settling the American West 1803-1869, at the Grolier Club of New York.  In conjunction with that exhibit, I have prepared a 155 pages catalogue.  I have also written and spoken on map-related topics.

The Native American Explorer Moncacht-Apé:
His Round Trip Transcontinental Journey Across North America, Circa 1700

Donald McGuirk
1011 South Valentia Street Unit 32, Denver, CO. 80247

Moncacht-Apé was a member of the Yazoo Indian Nation living near Natchez, Mississippi. His journeys to both the Atlantic and Pacific coasts where recorded by Antoine-Simon Le Page du Pratz, a member of the Louisiana Colony from 1718 to 1734. On returning to Paris, du Pratz published Moncacht-Apé’s purported journeys in the work, Histoire de la Louisiane, 1758. Parts of these journeys were reiterated by Samuel Engel (1763) and Didier Robert de Vaugondy (1768). Other presentations of this work in English include: History of Louisiana (1763 and 1774, English translations of du Pratz’s work) and The Journey of Moncacht-Apé’, by Andrew McFarland Davis, 1883. Moncacht-Apé’s travels to the Pacific coast were documented on several maps, 1758 – 1792.  It is likely that the story of his travels impacted both Thomas Jefferson’s instructions to Meriwether Lewis and the route taken by the Lewis and Clark Expedition.

Note on contributor: Dr. Donald L. McGuirk Jr. is a retired physician with a keen interest in early world maps, cartographic myths, and early exploration of the New World. He is a founding member and former president of the Rocky Mountain Map Society. He has been a member of the Philip Lee Phillips Map Society since its inception, and now sits on its steering committee. McGuirk has also been a member of the Society for the History of Discoveries for over thirty years. Additionally, he is a member, in long standing, of the Washington Map Society and the Texas Map Society. A summary of his cartographic publications can be found at: https://independent.academia.edu/DonMcGuirk

Recovery of Ancient Identity through Literature in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains

Ann M. Ortiz and Tiago Jones
Campbell University
Buies Creek, NC 27506

The Sangre de Cristo Mountains are the southernmost mountain range of the Rockies.They sprawl over 200 miles of snow-capped peaks from Santa Fe, to Salida, Colorado just southwest of Colorado Springs. Their natural divisions fall between the Blanco region in the South, the Middle cluster, and the Northern areas which cross the border between New Mexico and Colorado. Stories and legends have been somewhat preserved, although always changing, through oral traditions since ancient times. Such stories have moved in part toward journalistic and literary venues beginning with the mid 1800s expansion of US printing presses.

Newspapers such as the Rocky Mountain News and the Cherry Creek Pioneer, the first two published in Denverin 1859, and the Wet Mountain Tribune in 1912, often printed Spanish and Native American legends centering around the regions of the Sangre de Cristo and the San Luis Valley. Narratives of modern life in areas known and spoken of in ancient epochs are thrust into a superficial and contradictory cultural setting of the 20th and 21st centuries. In such writing there is evidence of a recovery in parts of ancient knowledge. The telluric literature of the Great American Southwest reveals a mosaic of such old yet new discoveries.

Note on contributors:
Dr. Ann Ortiz is a graduate of The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with her PhD in Spanish American Literature.  Her earlier graduate degree was an MA in Latin American Studies at the University of Arizona in Tucson. Her undergraduate degree was from East Carolina University School of Music where she received her BA degree with a specialization in Music Therapy and minors in Psychology and Latin American Studies. Ann directed the Honors Program at Campbell University from 1998-2018 and is currently working in curriculum development for the new Biomedical Humanities program there.  She also leads students on yearly trips to Tucson, Arizona for Medical Interpreter training at the National Center for Interpretation at the University of Arizona. Recent projects include a book on the Naufragios of Cabeza de Vaca and an upcoming course in the Literature of the Southwest that includes a student and faculty trip to Santa Fe.
Dr. Tiago Jones is currently Associate Professor of Romance Languages and Chair of the Foreign Language Department at Campbell University, Buies Creek North Carolina. He is the academic adviser for the Campbell Hispanic Association (CHA) and also for the Catholic Student Association (CSA). He taught Portuguese at the University of Puerto Rico-Río Piedras 1999-2003. He obtained his doctorate in Romance Languages from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He has interviewed, presented conferences, and published a review on Nobel Prize winning author José Saramago. He has published articles in the MIFLIC Review, The Romance Language Annual and Hispania, as well other reviews, and journals. Most recently, he has completed translations of Lauro López Beltrán’s “La persecuciónreligiosaen México” and María Helena Azevedo’s “A Hora Branca.” He was president of The Association of Academic Programs in Latin America and the Caribbean (AAPLAC) 2016-2018.

Colorado Territorial Gold Coinage in the Pikes Peak Gold Rush

Ed Raines, Collections Manager
Colorado School of Mines Geology Museum
1310 Maple, Golden Co 80401

The Frederick Mayer Collection of Colorado Territorial Gold Coins has recently been loaned to the CSM Geology Museum. These coins are without question the most important artifacts extant that are directly linked to the Pikes Peak Gold Rush. And even more important to the world of mineralogists and geologists, they are the only metallurgical remnants with a legitimate provenance that is tied to the frontier mines.
The origins of the Colorado Gold Rush were born in the hard times of the Panic of 1857, and most 59ers came west with empty pockets. As Elliot West put it in “The Contested Plains” the average 59er didn’t have to think his way through a long series of pros and cons for a westward journey, i.e. “it wasn’t why should I go to Pikes Peak, it was why not?” But, those 59ers who found gold, still didn’t have any money with which to buy food, supplies, or a night on the town. Into this vacuum stepped Clark, Gruber & Co. of Leavenworth, Kansas. The bankers (brothers Milton and Austin Clark in partnership with Emanuel Gruber) examined the circumstances of a frontier gold mining region located some 1700 miles from the mint where gold could be converted to cash and developed a business plan that called for the establishment of a private mint in Denver to coin the gold being mined.

The men acted out their plan most efficiently and were turning out $20, $10, $5, and $2.50 gold pieces within seven months from their decision to proceed with the plan. The business was an instant success as the coinage fulfilled a vital economic function to the development of the region. Other men also coined gold on a small scale in the Gold Rush days, and the Mayer Collection contains important examples of these coins. The coins of John Parsons who operated for a short time at Tarryall are featured in the collection. Also represented are the coins of J.J. Conway who operated a mint in Georgia Gulch (a tributary of the Swan River in Summit County) during the summer of 1861.

Colorado Gold and Silver Discoveries prior to 1859

Beth Simmons
Friends of Dinosaur Ridge
1420 S. Reed St., Lakewood, CO 80232

Almost two centuries of gold and silver discoveries in Colorado laid the foundation for the 1858 Gold Rush to Colorado. Spanish colonization and French fur traders paved the watery way west and north as Europeans displaced the Native tribes and searched for the raw materials necessary to maintain their cultures. Most research and reports have focused on Americans’ role in discoveries and development, but Americans weren’t the first seekers of precious metals here. This presentation pulls information from many sources together to relate the long and involved history of gold and silver discoveries prior to 1859, the date usually assigned to the Colorado gold rush.

Much of the information presented to “tourists” about gold and silver discoveries in Colorado is based on inaccurate, often biased, writings which were peddled by pushy publishers. The research for this presentation tracked and exposed those tales and legends. Just like each discovery came after previous steps had been taken in that direction, the information provided in the talk recaps and reconnects old (and new) writings and reports about the settlement of New Mexico and Colorado. It demonstrates the role of the Ute Indians in silver discoveries in the La Plata Mountains. This talk was one of the first given last year at the CSM Geology Museum’s Gold/Silver Symposium, and set the tone for the rest of the meeting.

Note on contributor: Dr. Beth Simmons earned her doctorate in Colorado History, tracing the history of a prominent mining family in Idaho Springs from pre-settlement to the present. Basing her work on consistent oral histories, public and private records, she demonstrated the inaccuracies of historical writing. An hour-long documentary “Tahosa Territory” relates the family’s history. A long-active member of the Friends of Dinosaur Ridge, Dr. Simmons researched and recorded the history of the dinosaur discoveries in the hogback north of Morrison and Arthur Lakes’ role in the development of geological science in Colorado and at the School of Mines. A number of the author’s publications relate the dinosaur discoveries: the original biography of Lakes - The Legacy of Arthur Lakes, (with Katherine Honda), the story of the rediscovery of the original quarry sites - Arthur Lakes’ Dinosaur Quarries: A Pictorial Guide, (with John Ghist) and an hour-long award-winning documentary that relates the exciting story- “Arthur Lakes: Discovering Dinosaurs” (with Marjie Payne and a large cast of local characters). All are available at the Friends of Dinosaur Ridge gift shops. Long an adjunct geology and history instructor at three Denver colleges, Dr. Simmons has authored numerous award-winning historical tomes including A Quick History of Idaho Springs, The Rooney Ranch, Darin and Denise Discover Denver’s Dinosaurs, plus many scientific articles about her own discoveries in the Dakota formation, showing that Arthur Lakes was an original dinosaur tracker, reporting the first pterodactyl track in the Front Range, and playing a role in the discovery of the world’s largest swimming crocodile track site.

Battle for the Yukon:
The Army, Navy, Revenue-Cutter Service and the Klondike Gold Rush

Gary C. Stein
6300 Montgomery Blvd., NE
Albuquerque, NM 87109

In 1896 gold was discovered in the bed of a tributary of the Klondike River. A year later a stampede of 100,000 prospectors left the West Coast for the Upper Yukon River. Two routes were taken—the shorter but more treacherous route over mountain passes from Southeast Alaska and the longer, safer route up the Yukon itself.  The U.S. Government was called upon to address two emergent and urgent issues: How to ensure that prospectors were protected from the lawless element that always followed honest gold-seekers and How to protect American citizens seeking their fortune from destitution. Although often accused of ignoring the interests of Alaska and its growing population during what has often seemed like a period of neglect, the government tried to act without hesitation. However, a rivalry emerged. Three government services, the Army, Navy, and Revenue-Cutter Service (a predecessor of the U.S. Coast Guard) vied with each other over which could best protect prospectors headed for the gold fields through a region that Assistant Secretary of the Navy Theodore Roosevelt characterized as little known except for “various and conflicting reports of trappers, traders and a few others unexperienced in hydrographic work.” Despite strenuous objections by the Navy, the Army and the Revenue-Cutter Service eventually won out, and the latter sent a stern-wheeled steamer to patrol the River.

Two memorandums, one written by Navy Lieutenant George M. Stoney on September 13, 1897, and the other written by Assistant Secretary of the Navy Theodore Roosevelt three days later, were central to the rivalry between the services for patrolling the Yukon River. These memorandums have been used in discussions of the exploration of Alaska, but have never been used in historical studies of how the U.S. Government focused its attention on the needs of Alaska’s gold-rushing population.

Note on contributor:
Gary C. Stein received his Ph.D. in Western American History from the University of New Mexico with major fields in The American West and U.S. History to 1860 and a specialization in Native American History. From 1975 to 1979, he was a Research Associate in Ethnohistory with the Cooperative Park Studies Unit at the University of Alaska-Fairbanks. From 1979 to 1987 he worked as a research historian with the Alaska Department of Natural Resources. From 1987 to 1991 he was a research historian with the Bureau of Indian Affairs in Washington, DC. He has published widely on Federal Indian Policy, Native American History, and Alaska Maritime History. He is currently retired and living in Albuquerque, NM.

The Voyage of 1521: New Insight into Henry VIII’s Planned Voyage to America

Lydia Towns
University of Texas at Arlington

The voyage of 1521 has been discussed by experts of English exploration for generations.  While some point to this voyage as evidence of Henry VIII’s limited interest in exploration, these historians state that Henry’s seemingly unchallenged acceptance of the Worshipful Drapers’ refusal to support the voyage proves that Henry really was not all that interested in New World exploration. Some historians have pointed to the request sent to the Drapers, which was written by Cardinal Wolsey, to argue that Henry VIII was not interested in the New World, it was Cardinal Wolsey who was farsighted enough to be interested in exploration.  These historians argue that since it appears that Henry VIII did not challenge the Drapers’ refusal to support the voyage it is proof that he had not orchestrated the request, that it came rather from Cardinal Wolsey.  Nearly all historians who have discussed this planned voyage point to the Drapers’ response and argue that it proves that there was no interest in London, particularly among London merchants, in New World exploration.  However, a careful and full reading of the exchange which took place between the Worshipful Company of Drapers and both Cardinal Wolsey and the King, an exchange which was dragged out over roughly five weeks, reveals that this was not simply a onetime request that was quickly dismissed when it did not receive a favorable answer.  Using the minutes books from the Worshipful Company of Drapers, held at Drapers’ Hall Library, I will demonstrate that a full and careful reading of this exchange proves that Henry VIII was interested in New World exploration, that he helped organize the planned voyage and that he did not willingly take no for an answer.  I will also use the records of the Merchant Adventurers to demonstrate that there were merchants in London in 1521 who were interested in this voyage and were willing to participate in it.

This is new research that I am doing as part of my dissertation.  My arguments have not been published.

Note on contributor: Lydia Towns is a doctoral candidate at the University of Texas at Arlington in its Transatlantic History Program.  Her dissertation looks at English activity in, and discussions of, the Atlantic World during the first half of the sixteenth century.  She has presented multiple papers on this topic on both sides of the Atlantic.  Lydia Towns served as the President for the Transatlantic History Student Organization for two terms and currently serves as Secretary for the Society for the History of Discovery.

The Maps Used by Explorers in the Late Fifteenth and Sixteenth Centuries

Chet Van Duzer
David Rumsey Research Fellow
John Carter Brown Library, Brown University
Providence, RI  02912

The question of using maps to guide a journey of discovery is inherently interesting: the maps can presumably guide the explorer reliably to a certain point, but if the goal is to discover new territory, to expand knowledge, then at some point the explorer will travel beyond what is reliably depicted on the map. In this talk I will examine what we know about the maps used by some explorers in the early stages of the European expansion. Christopher Columbus was influenced by the Yale Martellus map and owned a copy of the 1478 edition of Ptolemy’s Geography; Amerigo Vespucci’s uncle Giorgio Antonio made a manuscript of Ptolemy’s Geography that Amerigo was no doubt familiar with; we have good information about the maps that Magellan took with him on his voyage around the world; and data is available about the maps that other early explorers used. Examining the maps that were used by explorers allows us to get at the interplay between expectation and reality, between hope and experience, which is such an essential part of any voyage of discovery.

The talk will be abundantly illustrated with the relevant maps wherever possible. The paper is new research based as far as possible on primary sources.

Note on contributor: Chet Van Duzer is the David Rumsey Research Fellow at Stanford and the John Carter Brown Library and a board member of the Lazarus Project at the University of Rochester, which brings multispectral imaging to cultural institutions around the world. He has published extensively on medieval and Renaissance maps. He is the author of Johann Schöner’s Globe of 1515: Transcription and Study, the first detailed analysis of one of the earliest surviving terrestrial globes that includes the New World; and (with John Hessler) Seeing the World Anew: The Radical Vision of Martin Waldseemüller’s 1507 & 1516 World Maps. His book Sea Monsters on Medieval and Renaissance Maps was published in 2013 by the British Library, and is now available in German and Russian editions, with a Chinese edition on the way. His book The World for a King: Pierre Desceliers’ Map of 1550 was published at the end of 2015 by the British Library, and in 2016 Brill published a book he co-authored with Ilya Dines, Apocalyptic Cartography: Thematic Maps and the End of the World in a Fifteenth-Century Manuscript. His recent NEH-Mellon project at the Library of Congress was a study of the annotations in a heavily annotated copy of the 1525 edition of Ptolemy’s Geography.

All original content, translations and code
Copyright © The Society for the History of Discoveries 1999 - 2018. All rights reserved.