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August 10, 2011

Colonial Williamsburg Conference Explores Early American Maps and Prints Oct. 16-18

Maps are important tools, scientific and authoritative documents, imparting a perception of control over the environment. Colonial Williamsburg’s symposium, “More Than Meets the Eye: Maps and Prints of Early America,” focuses on the men who created these objects and the factors that motivated them to create the powerful and influential images. The program takes place Oct. 16 – 18 at the Art Museums of Colonial Williamsburg.

On Monday, Oct. 17, Margaret Beck Pritchard, Colonial Williamsburg curator of prints, maps and wallpaper, opens the symposium with “More Than Meets the Eye: An Overview.”

Other presentations on the same day include:

  • “Sedition in Secotan: Circle Symbolism and the Creation of Time, Tenure and World in Native North America” by William Gustav Gartner, University of Wisconsin – Madison’s department of geography;
  • “What’s a Portrait Doing on This Map? Reinterpreting Captain John Smith’s Map of New England” by Matthew H. Edney, Osher Professor of the History of Cartography, University of Southern Maine, and director, History of Cartography Project, University of Wisconsin-Madison;
  • “The So-called Peter Gordon View Of Savannah” by Louis De Vorsey, emeritus professor of geography, University of Georgia;
  • “Origins of the Plan of Savannah” by John W. Reps, professor emeritus, Department of City and Regional Planning, Cornell University; and
  • “The Walking Purchase: The Legendary 1737 Pennsylvania Land Dispute” by Laura Pass Barry, Colonial Williamsburg associate curator, prints, maps and paintings.

    On Tuesday, Oct. 18 presentations continue with:

  • “The Mosley Manuscript of North Carolina of 1737: Its History and the Hunt for Its Provenance” by collector Mike McNamara;
  • “The Innys Atlas – Remarkable Discoveries” by Philip D. Burden, Clive A. Burden Ltd, Rickmansworth, England;
  • “Colonial Scientist Meets Imperial Politician: John Mitchell, the Earl of Halifax, and the Map of North America” by Matthew H. Edney;
  • “New Observations on the Fry and Jefferson Map of Virginia” by Henry Taliaferro, partner, Cohen & Taliaferro, LLC, New York;
  • “Maps and the Elusive West” by Paul W. Mapp, associate professor, Department of History, College of William and Mary; and
  • “Setting the Record Straight on America’s First National Map: The Abel Buell of the United States” by Paul Cohen, dealer in antique maps and rare books, Cohen & Taliaferro, LLC, New York.

    Participants have the option to attend “Digging up Dirt on Jamestown: Finds from 17 Years of Archaeological Excavation on America’s Birthplace” on Sunday, Oct. 16. Beverly A. Straube, senior archaeological curator and other experts from the Jamestown Rediscovery Project, offers tours of James Fort, the archaeological collections lab and a self-guided tour of the Archaearium. The $65 per person includes transportation, an admission ticket and a box lunch.

    Advance registration and payment in full for “More Than Meets the Eye: Maps and Prints of Early America” is required. The registration fee is $295 per person and includes the opening reception and admission to program presentations. Special lodging rates are available for program attendees. For more information, telephone toll-free 1-800-603-0948 or visit

    Programs and exhibitions at The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation’s DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum are supported by the DeWitt Wallace Endowment Fund.

    The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation is sponsoring the symposium in conjunction with the exhibition, “More Than Meets the Eye: Maps and Prints of Early America,” on display at the DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum. The exhibition is made possible by the Nicholas and Eleanor Chabraja Foundation. Mr. and Mrs. Chabraja reside in Lake Forest, Ill.

    The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation is the not-for-profit educational and cultural organization dedicated to the preservation, interpretation and presentation of the restored 18th-century Revolutionary capital of Virginia. This town-sized living history museum tells the inspirational stories of our journey to become Americans through programs in the Historic Area and through the award-winning Revolutionary City program. Explore The Art Museums of Colonial Williamsburg and discover the DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum featuring the best in British and American decorative arts from 1670 – 1830 and the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum home to the nation’s premier collection of American folk art, comprising more than 5,000 folk art objects made during the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries. Colonial Williamsburg Hotels feature conference spaces and recreation activities from spa and fine dining to world-class golf. Colonial Williamsburg is committed to expanding its thought-provoking programming through education outreach on-site and online. Purchase of Colonial Williamsburg products and services supports the preservation, research and educational programs of the Foundation. Philanthropic support by individuals, corporations, and foundations benefits the educational mission of The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation.

    Williamsburg is located in Virginia’s Tidewater region, 20 minutes from Newport News, within an hour’s drive of Richmond and Norfolk, and 150 miles south of Washington, D.C. For more information about Colonial Williamsburg, call 1-800-HISTORY or visit Colonial Williamsburg’s website at

    Media Contact:
    Penna Rogers
    (757) 220-7121

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