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 five 40 minute lectures followed by a 10 minute Q & A period on Saturday and Sunday.

Holy Land Maps

by: Len Rothman, M.D. - Saturday @ 11:00 AM


Leonard A Rothman, MD has been a map collector focusing on ancient and early contemporary Holy Land maps for over 40 years. He is a Past President of the California Map Society and a member of IMCOS, the Washington DC map society and on the steering committee of the Phillips Society at the Library of Congress. His collection is on the Stanford U. website courtesy of the Rumsey Map Center. He has lectured extensively on the subject of Holy Land maps including at the Rumsey Map Center of Stanford University, and the Roxburghe Club of San Francisco.

This presentation of maps from his collection includes keystone exemplars of Holy Land Maps. Ancient manuscript Holy Land maps not in the collection will also be included for historical background. Maps of the Holy Land were first presented as word pictures in the Bible without illustrations. Then by Claudius Ptolemy 127-180C.E on to the present era. Examples of all will be presented.

Celestial Maps

by: Nick Kanas, M.D.  -  Saturday @1:00 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 in its 3rd edition, and Solar System Maps: From Antiquity to the Space Age.

Part I : Classical Antiquarian Maps - Saturday @ 1:00 pm

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People have observed the night sky since antiquity and have visualized the stars as forming heavenly patterns called constellations that reflected issues important to their culture. The ancient Greeks viewed these as allegorical representations of classical heroes, heroines, and monsters, but they also placed the stars in a coordinate system that was based on celestial latitude and longitude. These images formed the backbone of maps that appeared in stunningly beautiful star atlases of the 17th and 18th Centuries. These maps are highly valued by the collector, but how to interpret them may be a puzzle for some people. Dr. Kanas will discuss the history of star mapping using striking images from antiquarian sources and will attempt to demystify their meaning for map collectors wanting to add these important maps to their collections.

Part II : Frontispieces and Pictorials - Sunday @ 2:00 pm

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After you have collected beautiful maps of the heavens from antiquarian star atlases, what next? Actually, there are two other types of celestial prints that often are overlooked by the collector. The first type deals with the title pages and frontispieces from these same antiquarian atlases. Steeped in allegory and intended to convince the reader to buy the atlas, these fascinating first pages are valuable in their own right--after all, a star atlas has many constellation plates but only one title page and/or frontispiece. A second type of collectible celestial print consists of pictorial maps. Popularized in the 20th Century, these maps focus on symbolism, artistry, and emotion rather than accuracy, detail, and reason. Dr. Kanas will interpret and show examples of celestial title pages, frontispieces, and pictorial maps that will add to any collection.

Was Leonardo da Vinci’s World Map the First to Name America?

by: Christopher W. Tyler, Ph.D., D.Sc.  -  Saturday @ 3:00 PM

Christopher Tyler's scientific interests are in visual perception and visual neuroscience. With regards to Leonardo da Vinci, Tyler’s interests extend from his youthful activities as an extempore singer and artist's model in Florence to his architectural and anamorphic influences in the Court of Renaissance France.


In addition to his better known artistic, scientific and engineering talents, Leonardo da Vinci has an extensive reputation as a cartographer, drawing maps for a wide range of hydro-engineering projects for the rulers of Florence, Milan, Arezzo and the Vatican, amongst others. However, he is not generally acknowledged as authoring a world map (or mappamundi) spanning the globe, which was the domain of a few specialized cartographers of the era. Nevertheless, there is a world map among his papers in the Royal Library, Windsor, which has the correct overall configuration of the continents, including an ocean at the north pole and a continent at the south pole. Moreover, it has a unique cartographic projection onto eight spherical-geometry triangles that provide close to isometric projection throughout the globe.

This quincentennial anniversary year of his death in 1519 is an appropriate moment for a reappraisal of this contribution to global cartography. Although the authenticity of this world map has been questioned, there is an obscure page of his notebooks in the Codex Atlanticus containing a sketch of this precise form of global projection, tying him securely to its genesis. Moreover, the same notebook page contains sketches of eight other global projections known at that time (early C16th), from the Roman Ptolemaic conic section projection to Rosselli’s (1508) oval planispheric projection. This paper reassesses the dating of Da Vinci’s unique mappamundi to suggest that it predates that of Waldseemüller (1507), and may thus have been the first map in history to name both America and Florida.

Efforts to Partition California into Several States 

by: Fred DeJarlis  -  Sunday @ 12:00 PM

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Fred DeJarlais, past president of the California Map Society and currently the publisher of the society’s journal, Calafia, is a retired urban planner with 40 years of experience with public agencies and private consultants in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Fred’s talk at the 2019 map fair will focus on the various efforts to partition or divide California into two or more separate states. These efforts began at the Constitutional Convention in 1849 and continue today. Californians, even today, continue to be presented with proposals to split the state in various ways; a laborious and time-consuming process, unlikely to succeed, but the efforts underscore the continuing demographic, economic, cultural and environmental disparity in the state.