Carta Marina, 1567 Edition

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Carta Marina, from DL45 .O43 1567 Rare, Museum Library

In my previous post, I mentioned that the Library has a 1567 Latin edition of Olaus Magnus’ Historia Olai Magni Gothi archiepi scopi vpsalensis, de gentium septentrionalium (History of the Northern Peoples).  It contains a simplified woodcut of his famous Carta Marina map.  Unfortunately, I was not able to show a photograph of it due to its condition and the difficulty of photographing it.

Thanks to the efforts of Brock Switzer, cultural heritage photographer, and Emilie Duncan, paper conservator, I can now share an image of the 1567 edition of the Carta Marina.   Read more

Sea Monsters Revisited – The Carta Marina and beyond

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Olaus, Magnus, Archbishop of Uppsala, 1490-1557. 1572. “Carta marina.” University of Minnesota Libraries, James Ford Bell Library., Accessed March 23, 2021. https://umedia.lib.umn.edu/item/p16022coll251:138

As noted in a previous blog, one of the most famous and intriguing maps of the 16th Century is Olaus Magnus’ Carta Marina, first published in 1539.  The Carta Marina depicts the geography of Northern Europe, the British Isles and Iceland. More importantly, it is populated with figures from Scandinavian history and folklore, and with animals both real and imagined.

In 1555 Magnus published his Historia de gentibus septentrionalibus (History of the Northern Peoples), which included a black and white version of the Carta Marina.  The library has a 1561 Italian edition of the work, Storia d’Olao Magno, arcivescovo d’Vspali, de’ costvmi de’ popoli settentrionali, as well as a 1567 Latin edition.  The 1567 edition in the library contains a simplified version of the Carta Marina. The 1572 version depicted below is from the University of Minnesota Libraries, James Ford Bell Library.   It will have to stand in for the example in the Museum’s library due to the condition of the map and the difficulty of photographing it.   Read more

African Americans and the Newport News Port of Embarkation in World War I

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Corporal Benjamin Harrison Splowne, Museum Collection

He stands there, tall and proud, gazing into the camera, a backdrop of the United States Capitol behind him.  Dressed in a high-collared wool uniform with a corporal’s rank insignia sewn on his right sleeve, Benjamin Harrison Splowne had reason to beam.  Drafted in June 1917 into the National Army, he was promoted to the rank of corporal within a few months of his induction.

Exactly where and when this photograph was taken is subject to speculation.  It is conceivable that it was taken in Newport News, as Benjamin Harrison Splowne was stationed at Camp Hill, Virginia for a brief while in 1917.  In fact, he was promoted to corporal on November 16, 1917 at Camp Hill, shortly before shipping overseas.  The Museum is fortunate to have his promotion certificate, along with his studio portrait, for they help document the often-overlooked role of African American soldiers during World War I, both in Newport News as well as abroad.   Read more

Treasures from the Archives

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Abraham Ortelius, Septentrionalivm regionvm descrip., c. 1609-1612, MSM1– 0125

The Museum’s archives are full of wonderful and seldom seen objects that span over 500 years of maritime history. As the archivist, I derive infinite pleasure from discovering such items and making them accessible to the public.  Some of my favorite discoveries have been in the collection of maps and atlases, including the map illustrated above.

This map of Northwest Europe was originally printed in the 1570 edition of Abraham Ortelius’ Theatrum orbis terrarium (Theatre of the World), which is widely considered as the first modern atlas.  Between 1570 and 1612, thirty-one editions of the Theatrum orbis terrarium were printed.  The Library owns a 1592 edition of the atlas, in addition to a number of separate maps by Ortelius that once graced the many editions of Theatrum orbis terrarium.   Read more