Library Presents Maps Used By Lewis & Clark
December 4, 2002--
An exhibition of maps that Meriwether Lewis and William Clark
studied in preparation for their historic journey is now on view
at The University of Virginia Library through May 5, 2003. “Lewis
and Clark: The Maps of Exploration 1507-1814” is part of the
University’s ongoing Lewis and Clark Bicentennial Project.
The exhibition shows the evolution of how cartographers over the
centuries imagined the West. Their maps are technically inaccurate
but visually entertaining, with inaccuracies such as California
as an island or the Mississippi River flowing into the South Seas.
on the library’s popular 1995 display, “Exploring the
West from Monticello,” the new exhibition features significant
new acquisitions, including the first atlas devoted exclusively
to the New World (the second edition of Cornelius Wytfliet’s
1597 Descriptionis Ptolemaicae). Highlights of the 70 items on display
Map of Lewis and Clark’s Track” from the official
journals of the expedition published in 1814. Incorporating discoveries
from the expedition, this map presents a new — and remarkably
accurate — view of the Missouri River and kills the notion
of a Northwest Passage to the Far East.
map of Virginia discovered to ye Hills” by John Farrer,
1651. Farrer’s map shows an astonishingly narrow North American
continent and notes that a 10-day march westward from the head
of the James River will bring the traveler to rivers that run
into the “Indian Seas.” Farrer’s map labels
many places in Virginia and Maryland for the first time.
of the Inhabited part of Virginia, containing the whole province
of Maryland with Part of Pensilvania, New Jersey and North Carolina”
by Joshua Fry and Peter Jefferson, 1751. Known as the Fry-Jefferson
map, this map is the first to show the Appalachian Mountains running
in the correct direction. Peter Jefferson’s son, Thomas,
used the Fry-Jefferson map in drawing his map for Notes on the
State of Virginia.
Several versions and editions of Thomas Jefferson’s Notes
on the State of Virginia, his only published book, including his
personal copy with notes for revision written in the margins and
the Marquis de Lafayette’s personal copy inscribed by Jefferson.
Maps of Exploration” is one of the library’s contributions
to the University’s Lewis and Clark Bicentennial Project.
This is a three-year, cross-disciplinary effort sponsored by the
Office of the President and involves 17 faculty members across 13
departments. The project is a major University initiative designed
to contribute to the national conversation about Lewis and Clark
and to the evolving body of scholarship on the expedition and its
role in North American history.
addition to the maps on display at the library, docent tours and
a color catalog are available. Docents give free tours on Tuesdays,
Fridays and Saturdays through mid-December. The catalog, which is
for sale in the exhibition room, features a foreword written by
noted geographer John Logan Allen as well as a detailed presentation
of the speculation and misinformation that surrounded the Lewis
and Clark journey.
exhibition will be on display in the McGregor Room in Alderman Library
and is sponsored by Mr. and Mrs. William F. Muenster, both of whom
are University alumni.
Online press kit with downloadable images and updated information:
version of exhibition:
of docent tours and catalog information:
on the University’s Lewis and Clark Bicentennial Project:
Charlotte Morford Scott, (434) 924-4254