Mapping Virginia: From the Age of Exploration to the Civil War

Overview

(Note: The limited deluxe edition of Mapping Virginia has sold out.)

As one of the chief gateways to the earliest exploration and settlement of the North American continent, Virginia was the subject of much imaginative thought and practical scrutiny. Not surprisingly, it possesses a fascinating cartographical heritage. Moving from the years preceding Jamestown to the dawn of the postbellum era, Mapping Virginia represents the most comprehensive available selection of printed ...

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Overview

(Note: The limited deluxe edition of Mapping Virginia has sold out.)

As one of the chief gateways to the earliest exploration and settlement of the North American continent, Virginia was the subject of much imaginative thought and practical scrutiny. Not surprisingly, it possesses a fascinating cartographical heritage. Moving from the years preceding Jamestown to the dawn of the postbellum era, Mapping Virginia represents the most comprehensive available selection of printed maps from Virginia’s first three hundred years. Beginning with the first, tentative renderings of the mid-Atlantic coast in the sixteenth century, the book provides a detailed listing of the vast majority of the printed maps canvassing Virginia before 1830. A large group of maps depicting Virginia during the Civil War is also included. The maps are all reproduced through abundant illustrations, and each is placed in its historical context.

Because the legal and popularly conceived boundaries of Virginia were in flux for many generations, the maps encompass a great deal of geography not presently part of the commonwealth. As a result, the three centuries of maps collected here reflect an evolving idea of what Virginia is, a concept as much as a strict region--the lands and themes that came to mind at various points in time when a cartographer designed what he believed conveyed "Virginia."In addition to their great historic and geographic significance, the maps exhibit an exquisite artistry, placing before the reader breathtaking examples of the draftsman’s, engraver’s, and colorist’s craft. These qualities are on display in hundreds of illustrations, over half of which are in color.

Written for the general reader as well as the map connoisseur, Mapping Virginia demonstrates the remarkable process by which Virginia gradually, magically revealed its form to the collective mind.

Published for the Library at the Mariners' Museum in association with the Virginia Cartographical Society

University of Virginia Press

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Editorial Reviews

Margaret Beck Pritchard

Mapping Virginia provides a richly illustrated, comprehensive, and insightful view of how mapmakers perceived Virginia and how their vision changed over time to influence the cultural identity of the birthplace of our nation. William C. Wooldridge has meticulously researched over 300 of the most important and influential Virginia maps to provide an invaluable cartographic and historical resource that must certainly adorn the bookshelves of anyone interested in either history or maps.

Henry G. Taliaferro

An indispensable addition to Chesapeake carto-bibliography by the dean of Virginia map collectors. Bill Wooldridge is also an able scholar. He carefully describes 300 maps from the largest private collection of early Virginia maps ever assembled and relates them to the broader currents of Virginia's history and cartographic evolution. His treatment is revelatory and unique.

Richmond Times-Dispatch

Readers can open the book at random and quickly lose themselves in vicarious journeys. But the enduring power of Mapping Virginia might lie in Wooldridge’s ability to deconstruct maps and show us how much more interesting they are than mere scientific recordings could ever be.

Daily Progress

[Over the course of] 40 years, Wooldridge compiled one of the most significant collections of historic Virginia maps ever assembled. More than 300 of the 'most important and influential' maps dating from the 16th century to just prior to the dawn of the 20th century are contained in his new book, 'Mapping Virginia.'"

Roanoke Times

When Roanoker Bill Wooldridge paid $35 for a three-centuries-old Virginia map in a Heidelberg, Germany, shop he was hooked on map collecting. Forty years later, he has assembled an unusual collection of more than 300 maps for a beautiful book 'Mapping Virginia.'... For his commitment, he has been called 'the dean of Virginia map collectors.'... The book is the result of Wooldridge's prodigious research in geography and history.

Albemarle Magazine

Bill Wooldridge's 'Mapping Virginia' addresses the question of what Virginia maps say about Virginia history. More than presenting a history of Virginia's borders, Wooldridge analyzes and explores each map's underlying message to uncover a comprehensive and captivating story. Ultimately, 'Mapping Virginia' is a book about Virginia's evolving identity represented through mapping.

The Piedmont Virginian

Written for the general reader as well as the map connoisseur. The book's chronological presentation of virtually all maps ever made of the Commonwealth 'demonstrates the remarkable process by which Virginia gradually, magically revealed its form to the collective mind.'... Lavishly illustrated.

North Carolina Historical Review

[A] magnificent book from every angle... subject matter, content, design, authorship, comprehensiveness, readability, authority, craftsmanship, achievement... a landmark in the history of presenting maps... insightful and persuasive.

Library Journal
Wooldridge (former president, John Marshall Foundation and Norfolk Historical Society) gathers here 301 maps and related documents from a cartographical collection assembled by him over 40 years that now belongs to the Virginia Cartographical Society. In his preface, the author succinctly states his purpose: "This book illustrates, places in historical context, and provides detailed listings of both the vast majority of the printed maps of Virginia before 1830, and a large group of printed Virginia Civil War maps. It is a resource for collectors, geographers, historians, and history fans, and a diversion for all those who simply take pleasure in admiring these artful delineations of the commonwealth. The author has succeeded on all counts with this volume of beautifully reproduced, full-color maps accompanied by commentary that empowers the general reader to explore the "idea of Virginia" and the evolution of its boundaries. Entries include date, sponsor/engraver, publisher, context, full title, size to neat lines, and bibliographical references. VERDICT This fascinating and lavish volume will appeal to map mavens everywhere as well as collectors of Virginiana. An alternate choice is Virginia in Maps: Four Centuries of Settlement, Growth, and Development (Library of Virginia, 2000).—Edward K. Werner, St. Lucie Cty. Lib. Syst., Ft. Pierce, FL
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780813932675
  • Publisher: University of Virginia Press
  • Publication date: 10/29/2012
  • Pages: 392
  • Sales rank: 688,502
  • Product dimensions: 12.40 (w) x 10.80 (h) x 1.40 (d)

Meet the Author

William C. Wooldridge has served as president of the John Marshall Foundation and of the Norfolk Historical Society and as chair of the map support group of the Library of Virginia.

University of Virginia Press

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