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The International Conferences on the History of Cartography
A Short History and a Bibliography of Papers
Compiled by Douglas W. Sims (1964-1995) and Peter van der Krogt (1997-2017)
Map History /
History of Cartography
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Conference by conference survey
IntroductionAt the International Conference on the History of Cartography in Lisbon in 1997, Doug Sims distributed several copies of what he described as "a largely unedited first draft" of the following manuscript: The International Conferences on the History of Cartography: A Short Historical Survey and a Bibliography of Papers (Brooklyn, New York, 1995; 36 pp.).
This survey includes a history of these conferences, general information about each conference, and lists of all the papers presented. Because much information about the earlier conferences was uncertain or unavailable, the survey was incomplete and could not be published and distributed. The internet now gives us the possibility of "publishing" a work-in-progress and to ask readers for corrections and additions. Doug has sent me his files and I have adapted them for the internet.
I also added the information for the conferences of 1997 and later. Since 1987, I have attended all these conferences myself, and since I have taken photos at all of them, I have added my pages of photos as well (I have not yet located my negatives for the 1989 conference, so will add these later).
Please send corrections and additions (and photographs, especially of conferences before 1987) to me.
Delft, July 2001, Peter van der KrogtN.B. The abbreviation "ICHC" was introduced c. 1999, but became commonly used since it was used in the e-mail addres of the 2001 conference (19.ichc @ bne.es) and in the logo for the 2003 conference.
A Short History of the ICHC by Douglas W. SimsThe 20th International Geographical Congress, London, 1964, was an impressive affair. It was the largest IGC in history, with seven sections and 45 sub-sections, as well as 23 related symposia, which took place before and after the main congress, at various locations throughout England. The main congress was opened by the queen of England herself, and was attended by various other dignitaries.1 Among the symposia was one on the history of cartography, which would afterwards come to be referred to as The First International Conference on the History of Cartography (ICHC, or ICHoC).
This symposium had not been among those originally listed in the first circular for the congress,2 although there had been a sub-section "History of Cartography" under the main congress section "Cartography." For various reasons, there occurred several changes in the number and arrangement of sections and symposia of the congress, and in the second circular,3 which was compiled in late 1962 and distributed in May 1963, the history symposium was added, while the historical sub-section under "Cartography" had been retained as well. Not long after, this redundancy was noticed, as were some other irregularities in the program, and still a third, and final, circular was sent around, in which the symposium was retained, but the old sub-section was finally dropped.
Both clearly expended much effort on the event once Skelton had returned, assisted by Helen Wallis, and it was a great success. They continued to work together, along with others, on the second and third conferences, in 1967 and 1969, although it would appear that Skelton's role in those was probably more active than that of Crone.6
The success of the symposium in 1964 led to a second, London, 1967, which was referred to as a "conference on the history of cartography," as, for instance, in the Geographical Journal 133 (1967), p. 575, but still not as "The second." The third, however, in Brussels, 1969, was referred to from the start as "The Third International Conference on the History of Cartography," as, for instance, the advance notice in Imago Mundi, 21 (1967), p. 110.
Numbers of participants and papers at the conferences
Click here for a complete overview of the number of participants per conference per country
Data for the 1964 and 1971 conferences are missing
|Papers & Posters|
|1969||Brussel||105 (50)||17||12||4||138||40 or 421|
|1971||Edinburgh||no information||>100||15 or 17|
|1981||Pisa, Firenze & Roma||93 (40)||17||23||18||151||71|
|1991||Uppsala & Stockholm||112 (43)||22||15||18||167||43||24||67|
|2003||Cambridge, MA & Portland, ME||51||16||191||31||289||80||42||122|
|2017||Belo Horizonte||40||12||31||81 (52)||164||79||18||97|
Besides the main sessions, there have been other activities at the conferences, most conspicuously the exhibits, and, beginning with the third conference, excursions, as well as various receptions, visits, etc. There have also been, beginning at least from the seventh ICHC, Washington, D.C., 1977, meetings of various specialty groups, not officially part of the conference, but occurring during its tenure, or just before it. Meetings of the International Cartographic Association's Commission on the History of Cartography took place at ICHCs from the 1977 Washington conference to the 1983 10th conference at Dublin, and beginning at the 11th ICHC, Ottawa, 1985, this became a three-part meeting. The Ottawa conference introduced a section on the teaching of the history of cartography, which has continued strongly to the present, and a section each on cartobibliography and cartochronology, the latter two of which have apparently lapsed as of the 14th conference. Also, at the 1983 Dublin conference first occurred a meeting of what has become to known as the International Society of Curators of Early Maps (ISCEM), which has flourished. The Lisbon conference introduced two more special gatherings: a meeting of the directors of Imago Mundi, and a round table on theoretical aspects of the history of cartography.
An aspect of the ICHCs which has changed is the distribution to attendants of full texts of papers to be given, which was done through the 12th ICHC, Paris, 1987. Complete success in this had never been achieved, since there were always some speakers who failed to submit the required paper, and as many as a quarter of those who did distributed papers without footnotes (Imago Mundi 33 (1981): 95). Perhaps for these reasons the practice has now ceased, although individual speakers may still provide papers, and many do so.
1. See the photograph of the queen giving her opening address as the frontispiece of The Geographical Journal, 131 (1965), and also as the frontispiece to the 1967 published proceedings of the congress (see note 4 below).
2. The first circular is not an easy item to find, but it was reprinted in full in the Newsletter of the International Geographical Union, no. 13 (1962), pp. 3-20.
3. International Geographical Union 11th General Assembly and 20th International Geographical Congress United Kingdom July-August 1964: Second Circular, [London, 1963], pp. 41 and 59 (title from cover).
4. Imago Mundi 18 (1964): 91. The same is stated in Imago Mundi 25 (1971): 11a, as well as in the notice for the history symposium in the second circular (see note 3), at p. 59, and in the 20th IGC proceedings proper (20th International Geographical Congress, Congress Proceedings, ed. J. Wreford Watson [London, 1967], p. 251), and in other places.
5. Alberta Auringer Wood, Professional Papers, Correspondence, etc., of Raleigh Ashlin (Peter) Skelton (1906-1970): Collection 59 in the Centre for Newfoundland Studies Archives in the Memorial University of Newfoundland Library, St. John's (St. John's, Nfld., 1989, p.  (in the "Biographical Sketch").
6. Concerning Skelton's correspondence and papers on the second and third conferences, 1967 and 1969, see Wood (note 5 above), pp. 31-33 and 33 respectively.
In this survey some inconsistency will be noticed in the paragraphs preceding the main listings for each conference, as regards the type and amount of data supplied. These descriptions were compiled from reports published in periodicals, and such reports vary greatly in quantity and quality. In some instances it would be possible to obtain a more complete picture only by consulting the original programs for the conferences, items which are well-nigh impossible to come by. I have been able to consult them for only a few ICHCs. It is also for these reasons that the listings of papers for each ICHC have been presented in one list alphabetical by author, instead of according to the original subject groupings, which might have been more convenient. In just a few instances, I have given a descriptive line for a work, if I was unable to find the full original title. The number of pages have been indicated in parentheses where known.
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