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General Bibliographies

The following are specialised reading lists for the history of cartography. They include both books and periodical articles. Some are cumulative bibliographies, frozen by the act of publication; others include periodic listings of current literature on the subject

If you are new to the subject why not start with one of the recent, annotated listings, such as those under Edson or Kovarsky below
for insightful commentary on scholarly works see under Edney

For individual titles, see Books to get you into the subject

  • General
  • Specific Themes


    Biblioteca Cartographica (Bad Godesberg, 1958-1972), afterward Bibliographia Cartographica: Internationale Dokumenatation des kartographischen Schrifttums (Munich, 1974- ). [Issued annually, with separate area, author and subject sections - in 2004 a two-volume Kumuliertes Autorenregister (Cumulated author index, covering vols 1-29, 1974-2002), edited by Wolfgang Crom, was published by Saur (Munich), ISBN ISBN 3-598-20647-X]. There is a searchable online version, covering the period from about 1985 to the present, with about 35,000 entries (January 2009). [For a clear and detailed history and update of this resource see the post by Dough Sims to the ISHMap-List on 8 October 2017.]

    Brussels Map Circle (BIMCC) [originally Brussels International Map Collectors' Circle - name changed in May 2012]. 'Reference books'. ['Excerpts from hand-out of the Third BIMCC Study Session' - comprising details of 'Reference books published in Belgium presented by Joost Depuydt'; those for the Netherlands by Marco Van Egmond; for France by Hélène Richard; and Great Britain by Francis Herbert - 2001]

    Matthew H. Edney, History of Cartography (Oxford Bibliographies - available online by subscription - last modified November 2013)

    Matthew H. Edney, 'Recent Trends in the History of Cartography: A Selective, Annotated Bibliography to the English-Language Literature' (presenting "what are arguably the most important, influential, insightful, and (pedagogically) useful studies in the history and philosophy of cartography", in: Coordinates: Online Journal of the Map and Geography Round Table, American Library Association, ser. B, no.6 (March 15, 2006) - revised version, April 2007)

    Evelyn Edson, 'Bibliographic Essay: History of Cartography' (from CHOICE: current reviews for academic libraries, July/August 2001). [The Works Cited lists over 100 titles]

    Groupe des Cartothécaires de LIBER, 'Literature for Education in Map Curatorship'. [A listing of recent English- language titles in the history of cartography, with links to bibliographies for material published in various other languages]

    Alan G. Hodgkiss and Andrew F. Tatham, Keyguide to Information Sources in Cartography (London: Mansell, 1986). [`Information sources on the history of cartography', 81-127.]

    Imago Mundi: The International Journal for the History of Cartography (formerly subtitled, `The Journal of the Society for the History of Cartography') (Berlin, London &c, now Taylor & Francis, 1935- ). [Contains an authoritative annual bibliography with a nominal index and also, since Vol. 46 (1994), geographical and subject indexes - see samples from an earlier volume. The entire back issue run, 1935-2002, is available to subscribers via JSTOR].

    International Bibliography of Maps and Atlases (Munich: K.G. Saur, 2004 - on CD-ROM). [492,000 entries, including historical references from the 16th century onwards.]

    Robert W Karrow, Jr., Concise Bibliography of the History of Cartography: A Selected, Annotated List of Works on Old Maps and Their Makers, and on their Collection, Cataloging, Care, and Use (1997)

    Joel Kovarsky, ’An Annotated List of Reference Books for the Antiquarian Map Collector’. [Arranged in four broad sections: basic introductory texts (for collecting and the history of cartography), continental references, the art of cartography (not just aesthetics), and the science of cartography, 2005. See also under 'The Portolan' below.]

    Peter van der Krogt, Articles in journals on the history of cartography (c. 2,600 journal articles taken from part or complete runs of 19 journals that deal with the history of cartography, arranged by author - 2006, ongoing)

    Library of Congress, The Bibliography of Cartography, 5 vols. (Boston: Hall, 1973). First Supplement, 2 vols (1980). [Reproductions of catalogue cards for material received in Library of Congress up to 1977, with repeated entries under area, author and subject. It contains some 120,000 entries, dating from the early 19th century onwards and is particularly valuable for its systematic listing of journal articles]. {2005 update: a version of this is being prepared as a searchable database for mounting on the Internet, with additional material, comprising in all 35,000 entries compiled since 1897}.

    Marianne M. McKee, 'A selected bibliography of map books and periodicals, many of which relate to Virginia'

    Jack Mount, 'Books about Maps, Cartography, and GIS'. [Including a number of historical titles, each linked to the relevant Amazon page]

    Newberry Library Cartographic Catalog. [includes 7,000 secondary sources on specialised topics in the history of cartography, as well as 47,000 map and atlas records]

    Christopher R. Perkins, and Robert B. Parry (eds), Information Sources in Cartography (London: Bowker-Saur, 1990). This is a thorough general guide, but increasingly outdated [and needing to be replaced]. It contains bibliographical listings on the history of cartography, with connecting notes, as follows:

    Philip Lee Phillips, A list of geographical atlases in the Library of Congress, with bibliographical notes’ (in 7 volumes (1909-92); the full text is evidently downloadable and searchable). [Also here]

    Philip Lee Phillips, 'A list of works relating to cartography' (an early bibliography arranged in a single alphabet combining authors, subjects and places, 1901 - via the Internet Archive)

    The Portolan (the journal of the Washington Map Society). [Issued three times a year, this includes a list of recent publications by Joel Kovarsky. This was started in 2007 and there is an annually updated cumulative archive]

    George Ritzlin, 'Learn about maps: References. Suggested Readings'. [A usefully annotated list, starting with 'General works' and continuing with geographic regions and selected topics]

    David Rumsey, 'References and Abbreviations for References Used in Data Fields' (an extensive short-title listing, focusing particularly on the United States)

    Rodney Shirley. Maps in the Atlases of the British Library: A Descriptive Catalogue c.AD 850–1800. Two volumes. (London: British Library, 2004). [An essential starting-point for cartobibliographical research.]

    David Woodward, 'Short annotated guide to general works in the history of cartography'. [With helpful annotations]

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    Africa: John McIlwaine, Maps and Mapping of Africa: a Resource Guide (London: Hans Zell, 1997).

    Atlantic World: David Woodward, 'A Bibliography for Research issues in the Cartographic History of the Atlantic World' (1999)

    Discoveries: Terrae Incognitae [the journal of the Society for the History of Discoveries]. Issued annually, this includes 'Recent Literature in Discovery History', which has been online since 2002.

    Early: Andrew Gow and Jolanta Pekacz, Bibliography on mappaemundi and early printed world maps.

    England and Wales: Geoff Armitage, 'County cartobibliographies of England and Wales: a select list', The Map Collector 52 (1990): 16-24 [and Addendum in TMC 73 (1995): 20-23]. Also the same author's 'Cartobibliographies of city and town plans of England and Wales: a select list', The Map Collector 66 (1994): 42-47 and 67 (1994): 33-40.

    Geography books: 'A Carto-Bibliography of the Maps in Eighteenth-Century British and American Geography Books' (a full-length, 401-page, cartobibliography by Barbara McCorkle (University of Kansas digital repository [KU Scholarworks] November 2009); click on the 'View' link to open the 1.9MB file. With "descriptions of approximately 6700 maps found in 470 books. Entries are arranged alphabetically by author/title, and each entry lists every map included in the book with the full title, dimensions, name(s) of any publisher, engraver or cartographer appearing on the map, and the page location within the work cited. There are three indexes: cartographer/engraver, geographic, and publisher". Each entry has the ESTC [English Short Title Catalogue] number.)

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    ’A current international bibliography of the literature of the history of cartography on the WWW : of whom, by whom, and for whom?’ (Francis Herbert in LIBER Quarterly 10,4 (2000))

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