Recent Submissions

  • Alaskan Maps: A Cartobibliography of Alaska to 1900

    Falk, Marvin W. (Garland Publishing, Inc., 1983)
    Published maps of Alaska provide a rich but underutilized historical resource. There have been several major bibliographies done in the past. Two of these are still in use today: Wagner's Cartography o f the Northwest Coast of America published in 1937 and Phillips' Alaska and the Northwest Part of North America, 1588-1898, published in 1898. A third major resource is A.V. Efimov's Atlas o f Geographical Discoveries in Siberia and North-western America, XVII-XV111 Centuries, published in 1964. The Efimov Atlas is a masterfully annotated compilation of early maps, primarily from Soviet archives. It covers 194 key maps. The Wagner cartobibliography is concerned more with California and the Pacific Northwest than it is with Alaska. His coverage ends in 1800, well before the full development of official Russian cartography of Alaska. The oldest of the bibliographies still in use is that of Phillip Lee Phillips. It is essentially a list of materials available in the Library of Congress and does not take account of other repositories. It also does not reflect the m any additions of early maps made to the Library of Congress in more recent years. A number of perimeters were adopted in deciding on how to handle this mass of information. The cartobibliography only lists published maps. This includes manuscript maps that were subsequently published in facsimile. Unpublished maps require an entirely different research strategy and a separate system of annotations. In addition, a work that included unpublished maps would be a very large undertaking, requiring a number of years of additional work to bring to fruition. Another major decision was to provide a guide to the location of map images, not an exhaustive bibliographic description of each map. I believe that the rigorous examination of states of a copper engraving plate, say, would prove of great value for some sub-sets in this bibliography, but it would not be feasible for the entire work. In addition, some of this work has already been done for some of the older maps. Citations consist of the following elements: (1) an identifying number, consisting of the year of publication followed by a number within that year; (2) the map title and map maker, (3) the place and date of publication; (4) the size of the map; (5) where the map appeared, if it is part of a book or atlas; (6) a reference to one of the major authorities cited here; (7) a citation to where the map has been reproduced; and (8) comments on the map. Since the guiding principle is access to at least a copy of the map, the most commonly available reproductions are chosen for citation here. In many cases, one of the cited authorities, such as Wagner, will include additional locations. Many of these reproductions are almost as difficult to obtain today as the original map itself. Wagner's bibliography cites 862 maps. His primary interest was California. I have found that 211 of his citations are of Alaska interest. For the period covered by Wagner, I have found 350 maps that he does not list. For this same period, Phillips has only 127 maps dealing with Alaska and they are basically covered by Wagner. Phillips included maps of all of the Northwest Coast and its various parts. There are many maps (those, for example, that refer to Oregon) that are not of interest here. For 1810-1900, he lists 353 Alaskan maps. This bibliography cites an additional 596 maps for this period that are not to be found in Phillips. I have included a short selective bibliography on maps of Alaska. It does not attempt coverage of the extensive number of voyage reports or general literature of exploration. The best general coverage of this subject despite some omissions and occasional inaccuracies remains James Wickersham's A Bibliography of Alaska Literature, 1724-1924.