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John Wolter

JOHN A. WOLTER (1925 – 2015)

John A. Wolter, former Chief of the Geography and Map Division, Library of Congress, Washington D.C., died on October 22, 2015. He served the Society for the History of Discoveries as Secretary-Treasurer (1972-1974), Vice President (1983-1985) and President (1985-1987).

John was a charter member of The Washington Map Society and prepared the following membership profile for the Spring 2004 issue of that Society’s journal - The Portolan.

JOHN A. WOLTER: Cartographic Interests: 19th century Great Lakes and Western U.S., nautical charts and atlases, Socotra Island and the Horn of Africa. Professional Background: Received a bachelor's degree in geography (1956), a master's in library science (1965), and a Ph.D in geography (1975), all from the University of Minnesota. At Minnesota (1960-66) served respectively as map librarian, assistant to the director of libraries, and as lecturer in the Geography Department In addition, as an assistant professor, taught geography at the University of Wisconsin River Falls for two years (1966-68) prior to beginning my career at the Library of Congress. Served in the Merchant Marine during World War II (1943-1945). During the late ‘40s and early and late '50s I was a deck officer with Isthmian Steamship Co., voyaging on passenger/cargo vessels to ports in the Red Sea, Persian Gulf, India, Ceylon, Indochina and Indonesia, and from New York west bound “round the world.” During the Korean War, (1950-52), served in the U.S. Army stationed in the Far East.  Comments: My fascination with maps dates back to my childhood days. As a youngster I collected railroad timetables and route maps. During my sea-faring years as navigating officer and cargo officer, I used, and made additions and corrections to a variety of navigational charts and maps.  While map librarian at the University of Minnesota, I participated in several Library of Congress Geography & Map Division map processing projects and became familiar with the varied cartographic collections. Staff members were always willing to help and instruct us and we all appreciated their expertise and concern. In 1968, while teaching at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls, I applied for, and after being interviewed by much of the Library hierarchy, was appointed assistant chief of the LC’s G&M division. In 1978 I succeeded Wally Ristow as division chief. We had discussed forming a map society for some time and in 1979 Ralph Ehrenberg, Dick Stephenson, Wally, John Lanman, Jeanne Young, Ron Grim, Andy Modelski and I began what has grown into a strong and vibrant group of map aficionados. Wally became the first president and CEO and did much to assure the Washington Map Society's growth. We moved the division from Pickett Street in Alexandria to the MadisonBuilding in. 1980 and were the first special collections division m the building. We took advantage of all the fanfare surrounding our arrival. National and local television, radio, magazines, and newspapers gave us wonderful coverage. Maps, charts and atlases are most photogenic, thus we became a "flagship division" for the Library. All this publicity attracted new members and helped the society to grow. In addition, we were able to convince Library officials that meeting in the division would be advantageous to both the division and the Library. I gave two or three lectures during the early years and arranged for several others by visiting scholars and others to coincide with exhibit openings and professional meetings.  I retired from the Library of Congress in 1991 after serving as acting director for public service and collections management. Since retirement I have been able to stay active by giving an occasional lecture and continuing my research in libraries, archives and in the field. Recent publications include: The Napoleonic War in the Dutch Indies: An Essay and Cartobibliography of the Minto Collection (Washington, D.C., Library of Congress, 1999); with Ron Grim, Images of the World: The Atlas Through History (Washington, D.C., Library of Congress: New York, McGraw-Hill, 1996), and Progress of Discovery: Johann Georg Kohl auf den Spuren der Entdecker (Graz. Austria, Akademische Druck-und Verlaganstalt, 1993).

Thomas D. Goodrich   (1927 – 2015)

Dr. Thomas D. Goodrich, scholar of Ottoman and Islamic maps, and maps of the Ottoman Empire, a past member of the Society for the History of Discoveries and frequent speaker at past Society annual meetings, died on November 5, 2015.

He provided the following Spotlight for issue 55 (Winter 2002) of The Portolan, journal of the Washington Map Society:

THOMAS GOODRICH:  Cartographic interests: Ottoman and Islamic maps, and maps of the Ottoman Empire. Professional background: BA, history, University of California, 1952; MA, social studies, 1953, Middle East certificate and Ph.D. in history, Columbia University, 1968. Professor of history at Indiana University of Pennsylvania, 1967-94. Research interests and publications in Ottoman knowledge of America and Europe and also Ottoman maps. Published one article in The Portolan: "Ottoman Portolans and Maritime Maps," 1986, that resulted from a talk I gave to the Washington Map Society. Comments: Maps of all kinds have been a pleasure since childhood. While preparing my dissertation I became involved in sixteenth-century maps both Ottoman and European. The interest was later intensified after finding two of the three known Ottoman maritime manuscript atlases of that century. In retirement I have continued study and publishing on that topic. Most recent cartographic find was a three-volume manuscript atlas of 1635 by Jean Guérard hidden in two Istanbul libraries. It is always exciting to find such lovely maps, to identify them, and to put them together.Among his many writings was The Ottoman Turks and the New World: A Study of Tarih-i Hind-iGarbi and Sixteenth Century Ottoman Americana. Wiesbaden: Otto Harassowitz, 1990.

Bert Johnson, a past president of the Washington Map Society, commented that Tom “was a foremost academic expert on the history of the Ottoman period, including maps of that period.  He led a full and for the most part happy life and left behind him a body of research, many friends, and a robust family. I consulted him a number of times and really enjoyed those conversations.  Details are available in the obituary, for which see link at https://www.indianagazette.com/news/obituaries/thomas-goodrich,23091664/ (Click on “print” to read the newspaper’s obituary.) (PS: The "Indiana" in the newspaper name "Indiana Gazette" is a town in Pennsylvania.). I posted the news of Dr. Goodrich's death on the WMS FaceBook page. Within minutes I had a reply from Ruth Watson, Professor of Art at the University of New Zealand in Auckland. Ruth was our Ristow winner in 2005 and we still visit at ICHCs. She also belongs to the WMS FB page. Ruth said how sorry she was to hear the news and what a lovely person Tom had been, and how helpful. Ruth had a passion for cordiform maps (her Ristow Prize paper was on the cordiform maps of Oronce Fine) and she had consulted Tom on a famous (or infamous) one known as the Cordiform Map of Hajji Ahmed. They had met at various ICHCs and stayed in touch over the years. They were still in contact, discussing some translation questions on a project Ruth is working on.”

The UDaily of the University of Delaware on Jan. 22, 2013 reported that “Thomas Goodrich, currently an instructor at the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at the University of Delaware in Wilmington, was recently honored by having two volumes of the Journal of Ottoman Studies dedicated to him. Goodrich, who taught at Indiana University of Pennsylvania for many years, was a pioneer of the field of Ottoman studies in the United States. The journal’s guest editors noted, “…the study of Ottoman maps, travelogues, and cosmological works is simply unimaginable without the groundbreaking works of Prof. Goodrich,” and many of the field’s current “hot topics” were touched upon by him.” See http://www.udel.edu/udaily/2013/jan/goodrich-ottoman-012213.html

For samples of his writings, see http://www.muslimheritage.com/article/better-directions-sea-piri-reis-innovation and http://libs0500.library.iup.edu/depts/speccol/All%20Finding%20Aids/Finding%20aids/MG%20or%20Col/MG121Goodrich.pdf

SHD Fellow 2015: Thomas F. Sander, SHD Web Content Manager from 2000 to 2015, Vice President from 2005 -2007 (Portland Oregon and Chicago meetings) and President 2007-2009, was recognized at the 2015 London meeting as the SHD Fellow 2015. For more, read here.

SHD 2016 in Newport, Rhode Island: The fall 2016 annual meeting of the Society for the History of Discoveries will meet in Newport, Rhode Island; tentative dates are 22-25 September 2016. Our theme: "The Mariner's Life: At Home, Abroad, and at Sea." Papers are invited on all aspects of this theme, from navigation to piracy, from sailor's wives to shipwrecks, from slavery to food, shipboard entertainment, and the law of the sea. Conference dates and submission deadlines and guidelines will be found on this website as they are finalized. A featured part of the conference will be the Rhode Island Marine Archaeology Project and its work locating British ships, including Cook's bark Endeavour, lost off the Rhode Island coast during the Revolutionary War.

SHD 2015 in London: To read about our July 2015 meeting and see photos of the events at this first INTERNATIONAL meeting of the SHD since 2002, please click HERE.

Mary Emily Miller
Mary Emily Miller
SHD Austin – October 2014

SHD Life Member Mary Emily Miller passed away April 18, 2015 at age 81. Always outspoken and a person who pursued her goal with vigor, Mary Emily at the SHD Austin meeting in October 2014 mentioned that she had attended nearly every past meeting of SHD in the past half century, coming for the scholarship presented and to enjoy the comradery of many friends in the Society. She was born on the family farm near Frederica, Delaware, a property that had been owned and operated continuously by the same family since 1684. Mary Emily earned her B.A. with a Distinction in History from the University of Delaware in 1955, and then a certificate in Business Administration from Harvard-Radcliff in 1956. She then spent several years as the Dean of Women at Methodist University in North Carolina, while also enrolled in the doctoral program in history at Boston University. After receiving her doctorate in 1962, Mary Emily took a position as Assistant Professor of History at Park University in Missouri before moving to Salem College (now Salem University) in Massachusetts, where she taught from 1966 until 1992. Upon “retiring” she moved back to the family farm in Frederica, continued teaching through the University of Delaware downstate campuses, and became involved in an extraordinary range of organizations and activities. Every Christmas, Mary Emily would distribute a four page typed report on her activities over the past year, with the single-spaced text stretching almost to the edge of the paper. In it she would comment free-form on important anniversaries (“It was 50 years ago in November 2013 that JFK was killed. Dr. Who is 50”). Mary also would recount her extraordinary annual travelling. (The above summary is substantially adapted and modified from her remembrance at http://www.hagley.org/librarynews/mary-emily-miller-1934-2015 - readers may wish to read more at this website.)

The Editor of Terrae Incognitae has issued a CALL FOR PAPERS: Exchanges about Discovery and Exploration. These papers will be considered for the 2015, 2016 and 2017 issues of Terrae Incognitae. Please visit the Terrae Incognitae page of this website


The September 2012 issue of Terrae Incognitae, the scholarly journal for the Society of the History of Discoveries, is a special issue on the exploration of Africa.  Here is the table of contents:
•    Exploration in the Nineteenth Century by Imre Josef Demhardt
•    The Cartography of Exploration: Livingstone's 1851 Manuscript Sketch Map of the Zambesi River by Elri Liebenberg
•    The Reverend Charles New: Nineteenth-Century Missionary and Explorer in Eastern Equatorial Africa by Sanford H. Bederman
•    Alexine Tinné: Nineteenth-Century Explorer of Africa by Mylynka Kilgore Cardona
•    Hermann Habenicht's Spezialkarte von Afrika - A Unique Cartographic Record of African Exploration 1885-1892 by Wulf Bodenstein
•    Recent and Upcoming Literature in Discovery History
•    Book Reviews

The publisher has granted free public access to the introductory essay "Exploration in the Nineteenth Century" by Imre Josef Demhardt.  


SHD has even more presence on the Internet courtesy of its blog Terrae Inblognitae. Blog Editor (and SHD Member) Gene Rhea Tucker created this blog. The blog has the latest in SHD news, items of interest scoured from the World Wide Web, and guest posts from SHD members. From the blog  there are also links to the SHD main web page, Terrae Incognitae, and to Terra Cognita as well. There is no registration/membership to the site required for access. Access Terrae Inblognitae at http://terraeinblognitae.blogspot.com/

SHD Past Meeting Programs.  Programs of many of the Society’s past meetings are available by clicking on the various years at the Society “Previous and Future Meetings” web page. Click here.

Founding members Thomas L. Goldstein and John Parker, and early members Sanford Bederman, Barbara Backus McCorkle, Norman J. W. Thrower, and Carol Urness have described the founding and development of the Society in remarks delivered at our annual meetings Click here to read those remarks.

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