LoC historian publishes history of Renaissance man who named AmericaHistorians in the News
tags: NYT, Library of Congress, America, cartography, maps
A DECADE AGO, the Library of Congress paid $10 million to acquire the only known original copy of a 1507 world map that has been called “the birth certificate of America.” The large map, a masterpiece of woodblock printing, has been a star attraction at the library ever since and the object of revived scholarly fascination about the earliest cartography of the New World. The research has also rescued from obscurity a little-known Renaissance man, the 16th-century globe maker Johannes Schöner, who was responsible for saving the map for posterity.
Five years ago, John W. Hessler, a historian of cartography at the library, published “The Naming of America,” an account of the map’s importance in post-Ptolemy geography, its disappearance for centuries and its rediscovery in a castle near the Black Forest in southwestern Germany. Now, Dr. Hessler has dug deeper into the dynamic of the years between Columbus, in 1492, and Copernicus, in 1543. Science and exploration were stretching minds to distant horizons, once unknown. Copernican astronomy was about to dislodge Earth from the center of the universe, a start to the Scientific Revolution.
His new book, “A Renaissance Globemaker’s Toolbox,” is not able to solve the mapmakers’ enduring mystery. But it is a richly illustrated delight to the eye. I advise a slow tour of the maps, drawings, marginal notes and other material remains of Schöner’s wide-ranging mind. Read the informative captions, then begin the text....
comments powered by Disqus
- Climate Change Used to Be a Bipartisan Issue
- A ‘Saturday Night Massacre’ Veteran Offers Trump Some Advice
- The Long, Painful History of Police Brutality in the U.S.
- The crazy Scaramucci vs. Priebus feud is just as ugly as the LBJ vs. RFK hatefest
- Did Russia kill JFK? Long-secret CIA files show a Russian spy's theory.
- NYT memorializes Thomas Fleming, historian of the Revolution
- Historian Plumbs Tax Records for Patterns of Racial Discrimination
- Alt-right commentator gets 'schooled' by historian over diversity in Roman Britain
- 2 Sinologists say Liu Xiaobo’s Death speaks to a dark vision for China
- Historians plead with Trump not to block the release of final stash of JFK assassination documents