DRT Library Hosts the Texas Map Society
Last Friday, April 3, the Alamo and the DRT Library hosted members of the Texas Map Society as part of the organization’s three-day spring meeting in San Antonio. Attendees viewed some of the historic maps of Texas in the library’s collections, including:
Abraham Ortelius, Hispaniae Novae, 1579: Hispaniae Novae sivae magnae recens et vera descriptio is from an edition of Ortelius’s Theatrum orbis terrarum. This work is generally considered to be the first modern atlas because it was the first standardized compilation of printed maps to show contemporary, rather than classical, information.
John Senex, A Map of Louisiana and of the River Mississipi, from A New General Atlas, Containing a Geographical & Historical Account of All the Empires, Kingdoms, and Other Dominions of the World, 1719: John Senex published this copy of an important map prepared in 1718 by the French cartographer Guillaume Delisle, one of a number of versions of Delisle’s works issued. The Delisle map, reflected in this Senex copy of it, was the earliest to show the beginnings of the shape of Texas as we know it and to use a variation of the name Texas, in identifying Mission de los Tiejas in east Texas on the Trinity River.
Mapa de los Estados Unidos Mejicanos, 1837: Published in Paris by a man known only as Rosa, this map is an exceptionally rare European version of what is considered to be one of the most significant maps of nineteenth-century Mexico, Texas, and the southwestern United States. The document played a role in the convoluted development of John Disturnell’s treaty map showing the final boundary between the United States and Mexico after the Mexican-American War (1846-1848).
Stephen F. Austin, A Map of Austin’s Colony & Adjacent Country in Texas Drawn Principally from Actual Survey by Stephen F. Austin, 1820s: This is an early example of Austin’s Texas maps based on Mexican cartographic efforts and information provided by surveyors and residents.
Attendees also enjoyed a light dinner on the Alamo grounds and a self-guided audio tour of the complex. The evening concluded with a presentation by Dr. Bruce Winders, Alamo historian and curator. He spoke about his personal collection of nineteenth-century school atlases and what these materials reveal about Americans’ perceptions of Texas at that time.