7 October 2020, 19:00 – 21:00 SGT

What cartographic collections are relevant to historical research on Southeast Asia?

This session allows us to hear from some of the institutions that holds significant historical map collections relevant to Southeast Asia. What kinds of maps, charts and other navigational aids exist in institutional collections that might assist historians in pursuing their research? How are historical maps and charts currently used by scholars? What are some of the challenges of using historical maps as sources?

Chair: Mr Nick Millea, Map Librarian,  Bodleian  Libraries, University of Oxford

Mr Martijn Storms
Curator  of  Maps and  Atlases
Leiden University Libraries

Dutch collections of Southeast Asian maps and their role in scholarly research

The Netherlands are rich in cartographic collections. Since the presence of the Dutch United East India Company (VOC) and consequently the colonial presence in Indonesia, these map collections are especially important for Southeast Asia. In this presentation the variety of map types are explained. Furthermore, the role these maps play as sources for scholarly research are discussed.

Mr Tom Harper
  Curator, Antiquarian Mapping
British Library

An evolving archive: Southeast Asia and the India Office Map Collection in the British Library

In 1982 the British Library became home to the India Office Records, the archive of the India Office and British East India Company. The archive includes a map collection of over 100,000 printed and manuscript maps, charts, atlases, memoirs, gazetteers and itineraries dating from 1600 to 1947 (and later), formed in order to facilitate the running of British India from London. The collection, which has a complex administrative and organisational history, holds signal significance for the study of areas of historical British influence in Asia and beyond. In this presentation I will describe the history and contents of the collection relating to Southeast Asia. I will then use a selection of case studies to explore the ways in which the collection has been made available physically and digitally to researchers, and the sorts of questions researchers have asked of it. Finally, I will discuss some of the problems associated with providing access to very large maps, map series and map collections, and end by outlining some opportunities for their improved access and analysis. 

Ms Margit Kaye
Library Service Assistant
Collections, Research and Education, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library

Brief examples of Beinecke’s rare map collection, their historical usefulness to modern day researchers, including Southeast Asia

This talk will focus on several examples of Beinecke’s rare maps that include Southeast Asia (for example Bernardo Silvani’s World Map; Martellus’ Map of the World of Christopher Columbus;  Nautical maps from a Chinese sailing trunk; secret ‘Escape Maps’ on silk from World War II).The presentation will point out the maps’ historical importance as they relate to modern day researchers, and also how the Beinecke is expanding finding aids for historical maps showing Southeast Asia.


About the speakers

Mr Nick Millea is an expert in maps and map history, having been the Map Librarian of the Bodleian Libraries for 28 years. He is the co-author of Talking Maps (2019) and A Critical Companion to the English Medieval Mappae Mundi of the Twelfth and Thirteenth Centuries (Boydell Studies in Medieval Art and Architecture) (2019). His work, Street Mapping: An A-Z of Urban Cartography (2005)charts the history of urban cartography using examples from the Bodleian Library collection to illustrate the evolution of cartographic styles, conventions, and the role of purpose and function on their design.

Mr Martijn Storms is a curatorial expert in maps and atlases at Leiden University Libraries. He also holds positions as the project coordinator for Koeman’s Atlantes Neerlandici VIII as part of Brill Publishers and is an Editor at Caert-Thresoor. He has authored and co-authored numerous articles and books, both in English and Dutch, among them “Maps in the Crowd: Crowdsourcing Old Maps in the Special Collections” in Voyage of Discovery (2017).

Mr Tom Harper is a lead curator of antiquarian mapping at the British Library with a degree in History and the History of Art. He co-curated the exhibition ‘Magnificent Maps: Power, Propaganda and Art’ (2010), ‘Lines in the Ice: Seeking the Northwest Passage’ (2014-2015), and curated ‘Maps and the 20th Century: Drawing the Line’ (2016-2017). He has also co-authored the book A History of the 20th Century in 100 Maps (2014).

Ms Margit Kaye is one of the most experienced staff at the Beinecke Library of Rare Book and Manuscript. After being hired by Alexander Vietor, the founding curator of Yale’s Map Collection, Margit quickly assumed principal responsibility for public service. Barbara McCorkle, Vietor’s successor as curator, observed that Margit always asked researchers “just the right question to figure out what they really wanted, not what they asked for—which is often not the same thing at all.” Since 2016, when the Map Collection’s globes, early atlases, and pre-1920 sheet maps were transferred to Yale’s Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Margit has been an invaluable aide not only to students and scholars, but also to Beinecke staff as they learn about the cartographic treasures now under their care.