Terra Cognita

Newsletter of the Society for the History of Discoveries

Page 14

May 2006

Norman J.W. Thrower made the most of his trip east when he attended the annual meeting of the SHD in Williamsburg. He took the opportunity to go to the Map Division of the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C., and he visited his alma mater, the University of Virginia, in Charlottesville. He looks forward to attending the much closer 2006 SHD meeting in Portland, Oregon.

Carol Urness is happy in her bookshop, Corner Books, and is still selling as few volumes as possible. She says that the shop is a joy and a hideout. The illness and death of her great friend and colleague Jack Parker were depressing events of 2005-2006. She and Jack worked together at the James Ford Bell Library, University of Minnesota for over twenty-five years. The present curator, Maggie Ragnow, is continuing the fine traditions that Jack established as the first curator of the library. Carol is now looking forward to returning to reading and writing about discoveries – whether they are about Vitus Bering or about her studies and photography of dragonflies. She looks forward to attending the annual meeting of the society in Portland, where she plans to catch up on the activities of the members.

H. Jesse Walker, Boyd Professor Emeritus of Geography at Louisiana State University, was awarded the prestigious Lifetime Achievement Honors on March 11, 2006 at the annual meeting of the Association of American Geographers held in Chicago. The award was in “Recognition of his legacy of outstanding research scholarship in physical geography, national and international service on behalf of the discipline of geography, teaching and mentoring of young scholars, professional leadership across a broad topical sweep, and as a scholar who has produced a large body of work of lasting value.”

A member of the SHD Council and the planning committee for the 2006 annual meeting in Portland, James Walker published the lavishly illustrated “Cartographic First Fruits of the Lewis and Clark Expedition” in The Portolan, Journal of the Washington Map Society (Number 64, Winter 2005-2006, pp. 9-24). 

Germaine Warkentin continues to make progress on her edition of the Voyages of Pierre-Esprit Radisson (1636?-1710). Based on scribal (and in one case
autograph) manuscripts in Oxford’s Bodleian Library, the Hudson’s Bay Company Archives in Winnipeg, and other repositories, this will be the first critical edition of these exploration texts, and will include related documents by or about Radisson. The volume is scheduled for publication by Canada’s Champlain Society in 2010, the tercentenary of Radisson’s death in London.

Robert Weddle has completed a book dealing with the Spanish expedition across the Texas Rolling Plains in 1759. Titled After the Massacre, it describes the march of Colonel Diego Ortiz Parrilla from the San Saba River to the Red River and the discoveries made along the way and includes translations of an original Spanish diary and other documents. Publication is scheduled for Fall 2006 by Texas Tech University.

In addition to being a member of the Chicago Map Society, Mark Wentley has written several entries regarding the exploration of the Pacific region for the forthcoming Oxford Companion to World Exploration.

As usual, 2005 was another busy year for Eric Wolf. He writes: “Dean has a new job, Lloyd is working on his next book, and all three granddaughters are in college (3 different colleges in 3 different states – the middle one is taking her junior year in Sweden). I traveled 48,000 air miles including India, South Africa, Denver, Williamsburg, New York, and Churchill for polar bears. Along the way and in between Lee and I attended 9 concerts, 14 plays, 22 operas and operettas, and 14 lectures (I keep a diary and go through it when writing this deathless prose to come up with these totals). Four of my book reviews were published. 2006 doesn’t look much different – already planned are New York in February, London, Venice, and the Adriatic in March, and the Portland SHD meeting in September. I have a new e-mail address: ewwolf@verizon.net.”

John Wolter, recovering from surgery, is spending lots of time with the diary of William Speiden, Jr, a young purser’s clerk on the steam frigate Mississippi with Perry on his Japanese expedition. Although working slowly, John also is continuing his research on Great Lakes hydrographic charting activities by American, British, and Canadian surveyors. 

Of special interest is his research on the mapping and charting of Socotro Island (off the coast of Africa,

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