Lecture Series

Sponsored by The California Map Society

The lecture series portion of the San Francisco Map Fair will be sponsored by the California Map Society. It will consist of three 40 minute lectures followed by a 10 minute Q & A period.

Pictorial Maps

by: Nick Kanas, M.D.  -  Saturday @12:00 PM & Sunday @ 2:00 PM


Nick Kanas, M.D., is a Professor Emeritus (Psychiatry) at the University of California, San Francisco, and a Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society.  He has conducted NASA-funded research, has been an amateur astronomer for nearly 60 years, and has collected antiquarian celestial maps, books, and prints for over 35 years.  He has given a number of talks on celestial cartography to amateur and professional groups, and he has written two books on the subject:  Star Maps: History, Artistry, and Cartography, now it its 2nd edition, and Solar System Maps: From Antiquity to the Space Age.  

During the 20th Century, a type of map became popular which has been given the name “pictorial map.” Unlike more traditional maps, which stress accuracy and detail, pictorial maps focus on symbolism and artistry.  Images and text are combined to give a sense of the place being depicted.  The map designer may vary the size of landmarks and text for emphasis, and bright colors and humor frequently are used to enhance the emotional punch in a cartoonish manner.  Besides their utility, these maps have become collectible in their own right.  Dr. Kanas will discuss both terrestrial and celestial pictorial maps, emphasizing their development and differences from traditional maps, and showing examples of the various kinds.

10 Things to Know About Antique Maps

By: Eliane Dotson of Old World Auctions - Saturday @ 2:00 PM


Eliane Dotson is the owner of Old World Auctions, an auction house specializing in antique maps.  In her role, she researches, catalogs, and values 2000 maps each year, and also writes a monthly newsletter on various topics related to antique maps.  Eliane is the President of the Washington Map Society and a member of the steering committee of the Fry-Jefferson Map Society at the Library of Virginia.  She also has an undergraduate degree in German Literature from Pomona College and an MBA from the Darden Graduate School of Business at the University of Virginia.

This talk will focus on what new collectors need to know about antique maps to confidently evaluate maps and decide what to add to their collection.  While examining a variety of antique map types, we will discuss important terminology, color application, printing techniques, and the features that differentiate maps from various time periods.  Discover which key factors most affect the value of a map and how to cultivate and care for your collection.  This talk will demystify the world of antique maps and give you the tools to know what to look for and what questions to ask when looking at a map. 

Revolutionary War Maps

George Washington and the American Revolution, 1775 - 1776

by: Ronald Gibbs, MD  -  Saturday @ 4:00 PM

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Ronald S. Gibbs was born in Philadelphia, PA. He received his MD degree from the University of Pennsylvania and has had a career in academic medicine.  He was Chair of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Colorado for over 20 years and is now Clinical Professor at Stanford University School of Medicine. Dr. Gibbs has been a collector of antique maps for over 35 years with a focus on early American history. He has lectured  about history and cartography to many groups in California, Colorado and New York and  recently wrote an article, entitled “On the Brink of Disaster: George Washington and The American Revolution, 1775-1776,”  in The IMCoS Journal. He lives in San Francisco with his wife Jane and near his children and grandchildren.  

In this presentation, we will trace the early years of the American Revolution through General George Washington’s battle tactics using maps that explain the terrain that forced Washington to make tough decisions to ward off near-certain disaster.  Maps will include depictions of Bunker Hill, New York City, Westchester County, New Jersey, and Trenton. The maps will be supplemented by portraits, prints and current day photos to tell one of the most thrilling stories in American history.     

“There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics” 

by: Daniel Crouch of Daniel Crouch Rare Books  -  Sunday @ 12:00 PM


Daniel Crouch is a partner at Daniel Crouch Rare Books LLP; a specialist dealer in antique atlases, maps, plans, sea charts and voyages dating from the fifteenth to the nineteenth centuries. His carefully chosen stock also includes a number of fine prints and globes, and a selection of cartographic reference books, and his particular passions include rare atlases, wall maps, and separately published maps and charts. 

Daniel has worked as a bookseller since the age of sixteen and, together with his business partner, Nick Trimming, started Daniel Crouch Rare Books in 2010, and opened their present gallery in St James’s, London the following year. In 2017 they opened a further premises on the Upper East Side in New York.

Since the time of Twain’s writing, cartography has played a significant part in disseminating, interpreting, and making information comprehensible. To a certain extent all maps are data visualization. Plotting cultural and social data on a map not only allowed spatial analysis of that data, but also gave the idea authority: “thematic”, or “persuasive” cartography was born.

The talk will explore some of the earliest and greatest exponents of cartographic data visualization, including: “the best statistical graphic ever drawn” - a map depicting Napoleon’s doomed invasion of Russia; maps of the international cotton trade before, during and after the America Civil War; the first sociological maps of both the UK and USA; the first epidemiological map; and the first geological map, culminating in a discussion of the dispensation of “topographical truth”  with Harry Beck’s famous map of the London Underground, a world standard for graphic clarity and as “rational as a contemporary Mondrian painting”, proving the American statistician John Tukey’s point that “the greatest value of a picture is when it forces us to notice what we never expected to see”.