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Universe of Maps - Opening the David Rumsey Map Center

Teaching and Learning - 1

Untitled. [Geographical/Astronomical Wheel]. Anonymous. N.P.: ca. 1775
Each side of the wheel shows a terrestrial hemisphere, with political, geographic, and astronomical features in great detail. The device was probably used for teaching in the same manner as globes, but in more convenient form.
Untitled. [Terrestrial Globe]. Holbrook's Apparatus Mfg. Co. Wethersfield: 1854
This three-inch, solid wood, paper-covered globe is hinged to open and reveal the western and eastern hemispheres on a flat globular projection on the two inside surfaces. It was used as a teaching device to show students how a globe can be represented on a flat surface.
North America, from the Latest Authorities. William Darton. London: 1814
Map puzzles were used in the 19th century to teach geography to children. By manipulating the puzzle pieces, students learned the relative shapes and sizes of various parts of the world.
New Jersey, in Harriet E. Baker's Book of Penmanship & Maps. At Mr. Dunham's School Windsor Vermont March 31, 1819. Harriet E. Baker. Windsor: 1819
Young women in the early 19th century often made books of penmanship and maps, like this one, in order to learn geography and the order of the physical world. Emma Willard was a leading proponent of this method and used it at her schools in New England.
13-16. Amerique. Etats Unis. Colombie, in [A Group of Twelve Playing Card Maps]. Anonymous. N.P.: ca. 1842
These pictorial hand-colored gaming cards are organized as a set, with each card including three geographical maps of the major countries and continents of the world, and a portrait showing the costume of the area covered.

Early devices used to teach geography were truly remarkable. The hand-held card wheel splits the globe into two hemispheres, one on each side of the card. It is a scientific instrument that instructs the user how, for example, "To find the Azimuth of ye Sun at any given hour of the Day,” and “To find the Space of Time during which there is no Dark Night.” Another scientific instrument in this case is Holbrook’s globe, which renders the world in the form of a sphere, and when opened, illustrates the same on a flat surface.

Of the remaining pieces, the jigsaw puzzle and the playing cards are perhaps the most unusual.  Darton’s puzzle of North America slices the United States into many parts.The twelve playing cards also divide the world into countries and continents, complete with a costume emblematic of the area covered by the card. Lastly, Harriet Baker’s manuscript map of New Jersey highlights the art of hand-drawn cartography and the role of young women who made maps to learn geography.