Query: Maps and Disease -- Maps and Economic Crisis -- global examples to share with history students?

Jordana Dym's picture

I write to the more than 500 of you (map historians, makers, curators, librarians and archivists, students, collectors, and lovers) who have joined H-Maps since last October with a request for global web-based stories or maps that engage with the intersection of maps and disease or maps/mapping and economic crisis to share with students. Please reply here or write me, and I'll compile and share the answers with the list.  Podcasts, social media posts, videos, or links to maps or articles -- not just in English -- all welcome.

To get us started:

One resource that might be of interest: a 2006 Tedtalk that students have responded well to: Steve Johnson (author of The Ghost Map) on the 1854 cholera map of London, and the impact the outbreak had on science, cities and modern society., https://www.ted.com/talks/steven_johnson_how_the_ghost_map_helped_end_a_killer_disease    


Lauren Bouchard Killingsworth,  “Mapping Public Health in Nineteenth-Century Oxford” appeared in The Portolan, journal of the Washington Map Society (Issue 101 – Spring 2018).  See the article by going to this LINK (http://www.washmapsociety.org/000/0/9/8/22890/userfiles/file/Portolan_101_-_Mapping_Public_Health_in_Nineteenth-Century_Oxford_-_hi-res_watermarked.pdf)

Thank you for being part of this online community, and for sharing news and resources.  Please sign your posts/emails for those who may like to follow up!

Jordana Dym
H-Maps List Editor
ISHMap, Chair of the Trustees (2019-2020)

History/Latin American Latinx Studies
Skidmore College

Dear Jordana,

Here some digital available disease maps in the Netherlands:

J.W. Schaap, Cholera map of Leidenm, 1866: http://hdl.handle.net/1887.1/item:2001703
Vereniging tot Verbetering der Volksgesondheid, Cholera map of Leiden 1852-169 https://www.erfgoedleiden.nl/collecties/beeldmateriaal/zoeken-in-beeldma...
Isaac Teixeira de Mattos & Gustave Amand, Cholera map of Amsterdam: https://archief.amsterdam/beeldbank/detail/50cb5929-7504-98ae-5050-8d414...
P.H. Witkamp, Sterfte-atlas van Nederland, 1879: http://objects.library.uu.nl/reader/index.php?obj=1874/273867&lan=nl&_ga...
J.L. Hoorweg, Red spark map of Utrecht, 1888: http://objects.library.uu.nl/reader/index.php?obj=1874/13261&lan=nl&_ga=...
M. van Ravenstijn, Tuberculosis map of the Netherlands, 1901-1908: http://objects.library.uu.nl/reader/index.php?obj=1874/273867&lan=nl&_ga...

Best regards,

Martijn Storms
Leiden University Libraries



This map at the National Library of Scotland gives a wonderful picture of the global commerce in herbal medicines and other natural products (eg sperm oil; ammoniacum; shellac) in the late 19th C: 


Barber, George  Title:The pharmaceutical or medico-botanical map of the world  Imprint:London : G. Philip & Son, [ca. 1870]


I used the map last year to illustrate how a North American plant -- snakeroot or serpentary, described in a mid-17th century English herbal-- continued to find a market 2 centuries later. (Karen Reeds, unpublished illustrated talk:  "Seeking Snakeroot in Eden: John Parkinson’s Theatrum Botanicum (1640) in colonial Virginia," Columbia University Seminar on the Renaissance, March 12, 2019. )  

Just about every item on the map could tell similar stories, most reaching back into antiquity.  


I am very grateful to the National Library of Scotland for digitizing the map and making it available open-access online. I haven't begun to explore the other resources at the library's maps site: https://maps.nls.uk/



Name:Barber, George  
Title:The pharmaceutical or medico-botanical map of the world  
Imprint:London : G. Philip & Son, [ca. 1870]
Pagination:1 map ; 287 x 445 mm.
Zoom Into Map:        Click on the map to view in greater detail.
Karen Reeds, PhD, FLS
Princeton Research Forum, a community of independent scholars:  http://www.princetonresearchforum.org/
Past President, Medical History Society of New Jersey

Hi all:

I do not mean to self-promote in any way, but I have written about the American Geographical Society's Atlas of Disease project from the 1950s--from a rhetorical standpoint. Within my article are some potentially helpful scans of some of the most important maps from that project.

Here is the citation:
Barney, Timothy. "Diagnosing the Third World: The Map Doctor and the Spatialized Discourses of Disease and Development." Quarterly Journal of Speech Volume 100, Issue 1 (2014): 1-30. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/00335630.2014.887215

There is a book called Disease Maps: Epidemics on the Ground, by Tom Koch. I haven't gotten around to reading it yet.