Wednesday, March 16, 2022

Emma Hart Willard's Atlas

Emma Hart Willard was a pioneer of education and geography. She saw geography as a foundation for teaching. Her approach was to have students start with maps of their local environment, instead of at a harder to grasp global scale. She published Willard's History of the United States, which included an atlas. Unlike many other atlases, this one began with the indigenous settlement of North America.

This "Introductory Map" shows the approximate locations of tribes. Arrows convey their movement. The map title is "Locations and Wanderings of the Aboriginal Tribes". Perhaps in a nod to the aboriginal people, the Atlantic Ocean is called "Salt Water Lake or Great Water".

The next map, the First Map of 1578 shows intersecting tracks of the European explorers and in pink Sir Humphrey Gilbert's patent, the first land patent granted by Queen Elizabeth I.

The "Second Map of 1620" has a similar look but the ships are for commerce, not exploration, including a Dutch ship "with negroes from Africa". The entire east coast up through New Brunswick is labeled as the North and South Colonies of Virginia and there is an inset map of the places at the mouth of the Hudson River visited by the Dutch. The rolling up of the left corner of the map is a nice touch that she employs frequently.

The next group of maps show various wars with the indigenous tribes and between the British and French and then the gradual formation of colonies, followed by some Revolutionary War maps. It concludes with a map of the "Principal Seats of War 1812-13-14" showing the areas around Detroit, Buffalo, New Orleans, the Chesapeake Bay and St. Lawrence River.

You can read more about Willard's life and work on the Worlds Revealed blog from the Library of Congress. The atlas can be seen here.

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