Explore the Depths of the Geography and Map Division, Library of Congress
There will be three separate events , arranged in association with the Library of Congress Philip Lee Phillips Society, that will be available both in person and/or virtually on October 27. Registration is required whether you attend in person or virtually. Please see registration links for each event below.
Presentation 1: Title:From Farmsteads to Supercomputers: Mapping the Electoral Demographics of the United States, 1812-Present Speaker: John Hessler, Specialist in Computational Geography and Geographic Information Science and Curator of the Jay I. Kislak Collection of the Archaeology and History of the Early Americas, Library of Congress Location: In person at Library of Congress, Madison Building, Montpelier Room (LM Sixth Floor), 3:00 PM ET and Virtual, 3:00 PM ET/2:00 PM CT/ 1:00 PM MT/Noon PT
Presentation 2: Title:Library of Congress, Geography and Map Division, Special Display, Tours and Reception Activity: Visit with curators, explore the collection and enjoy refreshments with other map enthusiasts and friends Location: In person only at Library of Congress, Madison Building, Geography and Map Division Reading Room (LM B02), 4:30-6:00 PM ET
Presentation 3: Title:“Will Work for Maps”: A History of the Library of Congress Geography and Map Division Special Map Processing Project Speaker: Laura McElfresh, Cartographic Metadata Librarian, University Libraries, University of Minnesota Location: In person at Library of Congress, Madison Building, Montpelier Room (LM Sixth Floor), 7:00 PM ET and Virtual, 7:00 PM ET/6:00 PM CT/ 5:00 PM MT/4:00 PM PT
Hessler Summary: The mapping of the complex electoral makeup of the United States has a long history stretching from the earliest Census and population tabulations at the beginning of the Republic, to the present. From the first simple counts of citizens, enslaved peoples and immigrants, to the use of supercomputers for the drawing of Congressional districts, the numbers, maps and methods have always been controversial. This talk will survey the history of early electoral mapping and present an introduction to the modern computational methods being used to understand the electoral demographics of the United States.
Bio: John Hessler is Specialist in Computational Geography and Geographic Information Science at the Library of Congress and Professor of Evolutionary Computation in the Graduate School of Advanced Studies at the Johns Hopkins University. He is the founder of the New Geometries Lab, whose research applies geospatial data, with evolutionary computation, along with advances in bioinformatics, to solve complex spatial analysis problems, like mapping COVID-19. His publications cover a wide range of topics including The Naming of America: Martin Waldseemüller’ 1507 Map and Cosmographiæ Introductio (Library of Congress, 2008) and Map: Exploring the World (Phaidon, 2015).
McElfresh Summary: (Based on a recent Journal of Map and Geography Librariesarticle co-authored with Paige Andrew and Linda Musser.) After World War II, the Library of Congress Geography and Map Division acquired large quantities of military-related maps through the U.S. Army Map Service and similar agencies, resulting in many duplicate or otherwise expendable cartographic materials. To manage this surplus, G&M founded its Special Map Processing Project, recruiting hands-on staffing assistance from geography students, faculty, and librarians. In return for their labor, Project participants selected surplus “duplicate” maps for their home institutions, thus strengthening, enlarging, and sometimes “seeding” map collections throughout the United States and Canada. Ms. McElfresh will review the Special Project's origins, structure, impacts, and outcome.
Bio: Laura Kane McElfresh is Cartographic Metadata Librarian at the University of Minnesota Libraries, Twin Cities. She started out as a serials and e-resources cataloger and has provided cataloging and metadata services for all formats at large and small, public and private academic libraries in five states. Her research interests include the history and contemporary practice of cartographic cataloging.