By WILLIAM J. WARREN
Five years after its founding, the Philip Lee Phillips Society, which supports programs of the Library's Geography and Map Division, met April 6-8 in Pasadena, Calif. The meeting was hosted by the California Map Society. The joint meeting reflected the Phillips Society's desire to strengthen its ties with more than a dozen regional map societies throughout the country.
Approximately 140 cartographic enthusiasts attended the meeting, which focused on the theme "Mapping the Pacific." During the evening of April 6, Ralph Ehrenberg, recently retired chief of the Geography and Map Division, set the stage for the following day's program with a slide- illustrated talk, "Charting Pacific Waters: Lieutenant Charles Wilkes and the First United States Exploring Expedition, 1838-1842."
Mr. Ehrenberg described the innovative technique that Wilkes developed by which ships and boats stationed around an island took measurements simultaneously when signaled by the firing of a cannon. This resulted in accurate delineations of islands in a minimum of time. Also discussed was the importance of Wilkes's work in the mapping of the Pacific Northwest, where, by tying his work to that of John C. Fremont's explorations on land, he was able to produce a map that for the first time placed many of the features of the Western United States in their correct positions.
In keeping with the conference theme, attendees received a copy of the Library of Congress 1985 facsimile publication, "Map of the North Pacific, 1630, by João Teixeira," with an accompanying brochure by John A. Wolter, former chief of the Geography and Map Division.
The group reassembled Friday morning at the Huntington Library's Friends Auditorium. They were welcomed by this writer and heard presentations of seven papers by leading scholars in the field. The first speaker was Norman J. W. Thrower, professor emeritus in the Department of Geography at the University of California at Los Angeles and one of the founders of the California Map Society, who spoke on "British Exploration of the Pacific." Drawing on decades of research on the history of exploration, he documented progressive improvements to the mapping of the Pacific, emphasizing the contributions of Sir Francis Drake and James Cook. It was the work of Cook, he noted, that filled in most of the remaining blank areas on the chart of the Pacific Ocean.
The Spanish contribution to the mapping of the Pacific was highlighted by John R. Hébert, chief of the Library's Geography and Map Division in his presentation on the "Late 18th Century Spanish Mapping of the Pacific North American Coast." Mr. Hébert showed a group of late 18th century manuscript nautical charts from the Library's cartographic collections that reflected the concerns of the Spanish in protecting their national interests in the area north of California.
Gary Fitzpatrick, a digital program specialist in the Geography and Map Division, discussed "Cartographic Transitions in Hawaii." He noted that the mapping of Hawaii by many well-know foreigners such as James Cook and George Vancouver had little lasting value because it did not meet the needs of the inhabitants of Hawaii. Modern mapping of Hawaii traces its origins not to the maps made by foreigners but to the introduction of mapmaking and surveying by American missionaries in the 1830s and 1840s.
The final morning speaker was Marie Tharp, who described her role in the monumental project to map the ocean floors beginning in the 1950s, in a talk titled "Mapping of the Pacific Ocean Floor." Ms. Tharp illustrated the growth of knowledge of the major geological and physiological features of the Pacific Ocean through examples from her many years of gathering sounding data and compiling maps of the seafloor.
The group reconvened in the afternoon to view a sampling of cartographic treasures from the collections of the Huntington Library. Alan Jutzi, chief curator of Rare Books, displayed and described a variety of maps ranging from a 1543 manuscript portolan chart to the first map of Los Angeles, prepared by Edward O.C. Ord in 1849. Jutzi also recounted a visit by Col. Lawrence Martin, the second chief of the Geography and Map Division, to the Huntington Library in 1928, and summarized the report he prepared about the significance of the Huntington's map collection with suggestions for improving its care and control. Patricia van Ee provided a brief biography of Martin highlighting his major contributions to the Geography and Map Division. In addition, John Hébert presented copies of an unpublished cartobibliography of California prepared by Philip Lee Phillips to both the Huntington Library and the California Map Society.
The final two presentations focused on the Asian side of the Pacific. Dr. Cordell D.K. Yee, Lecturer, St. John's College, Annapolis, Md., and Assistant Editor of Cartography in the Traditional East and Southeast Asian Societies, volume 2, book 2 of The History of Cartography (1994), presented "An Introduction to Traditional Chinese Maps." He spoke of the changing nature of Chinese cartography from scientific mapping based on a grid system to Imperial maps that provided more philosophical and artistic renderings of space. Several of the slides illustrating his presentation are from the collections of the Geography and Map Division.
Concluding the program was Mary Elizabeth Berry of the University of California at Berkeley, who talked about "Power and Play in the Japanese City: Early Modern Maps of Kyoto and Edo." Noting the historic role of tourist maps in the promotion of the two major cities of Japan, she pointed out that the detailed itineraries and maps from several centuries ago can still be followed in Kyoto today as guides to the important and scenic sites of the cultural landscape. The maps were produced in part to impress the Japanese people with the beauty of their country and to provide detailed social and political information on these cities.
Each person attending the conference received a handsome registration portfolio, adorned with Vincenzo Coronelli's 1688 map of America Settentrionale. In the portfolio were four keepsakes, inspired by map reproductions featured in the California Map Society's recent publication, California 49: Forty-nine Maps of California from the Sixteenth Century to the Present (California Map Society, Occasional Paper no. 6, edited by Warren Heckrotte and Julie Sweetkind). The map keepsakes consisted of Enrico Martínez's 1603 chart of the California coast showing Point Año Nuevo; Nicolas Sanson's 1657 map of California as an island, Audience de Guadalajara, Nouveau Mexique, Californie, &c. (both a 10 by 11 reproduction and a set of four note cards); and the California Geological Survey's 1873 Map of California and Nevada, prepared by J.D. Whitney. The portfolio and keepsakes, which were provided courtesy of the California Map Society, were designed and printed by Marianne Hinckle, Año Nuevo Island Press, San Francisco.
The program concluded on Saturday with a field trip to Los Angeles's newest cultural attraction, the Getty Center. A caravan of vans transported about 60 people to the Getty's mountaintop location on the northwestern side of the city. Participants had five hours to explore the art collections, take an architectural tour, enjoy a box lunch and stroll through the gardens.
In his report about the meeting, William J. Warren, president of the California Map Society, observed, "We believe the joint meeting concept has proven to be very successful. The synergy of the two societies drew members from around the United States. Our local members were thrilled to hear from recognized authorities from across the nation. Those Phillips Society members from the northeast U.S. certainly enjoyed our 75-to- 80-degree weather, knowing it was snowing across much of their home territory in a late spring storm. The efforts involved in setting up the meeting were well repaid by the comments of attendees."
The organizing committee for this joint effort consisted of the officers of the California Map Society, including William J. Warren (president), Marianne Hinckle (vice president, Northern California), Greg McIntosh (vice president, Southern California) and Reese Benson (treasurer), as well as Glen McLaughlin (a past president of the California Map Society and co- chair, Phillips Society Steering Committee) and Julie Sweetkind (map librarian at Stanford University), in collaboration with Patricia van Ee and Ronald Grim representing the Phillips Society.
Mr. Warren is a member of the California Map Society. Patricia van Ee, Ronald Grim and Gary Fitzpatrick of the Library's Geography and Map Division contributed to this article.