April 25, 2012 (REVISED May 10, 2012) Visualizing the Nation's Capital: Two Centuries of Mapping Washington D.C., May 18-19

Former Mayor Anthony Williams to Deliver Keynote Address

Press Contact: Donna Urschel (202) 707-1639

The Library of Congress on May 18 and 19 will present the first conference devoted to mapping the nation’s capital, covering the period from Pierre-Charles L’Enfant’s 1791 Plan of the City of Washington to the present.

“Visualizing the Nation’s Capital: Two Centuries of Mapping Washington, D.C.” will take place from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. on Friday, May 18, with a reception from 5:45 p.m. to 7:15 p.m., and from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Saturday, May 19, with tours of the Geography and Map Division from 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.

The conference is free and open to the public. Reservations are needed; contact [email protected] or call (202) 707-1616.

“This conference will showcase the unparalleled cartographic collections at the Library of Congress and engage a wide array of experts in exploring how Washington has evolved over 200 years,” said Ralph Ehrenberg, chief of the Geography and Map Division.

Friday’s program will take place in the Coolidge Auditorium and the reception will be held in Room 119, both located in the Thomas Jefferson Building, 10 First St. S.E., Washington, D.C. Saturday’s program will be in the Mumford Room and the tours will be in the Geography and Map Division Reading Room, both located in the James Madison Building, 101 Independence Ave. S.E., Washington, D.C.

The event, which is the Philip Lee Phillips Society Annual Conference, is sponsored by the Library’s Geography and Map Division and the Phillips Society, which was established in 1995 as an association of collectors, geographers, historians and map enthusiasts, with a shared interest in supporting the programs and activities of the Geography and Map Division.

Anthony Williams, who served as mayor of Washington, D.C. from 1999 to 2007, will deliver the keynote address titled “The Mayor as City Planner” on Friday afternoon.

Additional participants are:

  • Dan Bailey, director of the Imaging Research Center and professor of visual arts, University of Maryland, Baltimore campus.
  • Jon Campbell, geographer, U.S. Geological Survey, and member of the U.S. Board of Geographic Names.
  • Timothy Davis, historian, Park Historic Structure and Cultural Landscapers Program, National Park Service.
  • Ralph E. Ehrenberg, chief, Geography and Map Division, Library of Congress.
  • Ronald Grim, curator of maps at the Norman B. Leventhal Map Center, Boston Public Library.
  • Don Alexander Hawkins, architect, Don Hawkins & Associates, former chair of the Committee of 100 on the Federal City.
  • Charlene Drew Jarvis, former council member, District of Columbia.
  • Chas Langelan, professional land surveyor and director of the Surveyors Historical Society.
  • Gail S. Lowe, senior historian, Anacostia Community Museum, Smithsonian Institution.
  • Iris Miller, director of the Urban Institute Studio/Landscape Studies in the School of Architecture and Planning, The Catholic University of America.
  • Patrick O’Neill, independent archaeologist and historian.
  • Thomas Patterson, senior cartographer, National Park Service, Harpers Ferry Center.
  • Edward Redmond, reference specialist, Geography and Map Division, Library of Congress.
  • Douglas Richardson, executive director, Association of American Geographers.
  • Pamela Scott, architectural historian.
  • Susan Spain, executive director, The National Mall Plan, National Park Service.
  • William A. Stanley, chief historian emeritus, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
  • Richard W. Stephenson, former specialist in cartographic history, Geography and Map Division, Library of Congress.
  • Roberta Stevens, assistant chief, Geography and Map Division, Library of Congress.
  • Eliza Voigt, planner, National Mall and Memorial Parks, National Park Service.


Friday, May 18

Morning Program, 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
Welcome by James H. Billington, Librarian of Congress
Opening Remarks by George Tobolowsky, chair of the Philip Lee Phillips Society

Introductory Address
Introduction (Ehrenberg)
“From L’Enfant to the Senate Park Commission: Mapping the Nation’s Capital from 1791-1902” (Stephenson)

Session I: Washington’s Washington
Moderator (Grim)
“George Washington and His Maps of the Washington Region” (Redmond)
“Plantation Maps of the Pre-Federal City” (O’Neill)

Afternoon Program, 1 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.

Session II: Laying Out the New Capital
Moderator (Stanley)
“Andrew Ellicott and his Survey of the Federal Territory on the Potomac, 1791-1793” (Langelan)
“Geometry and Geography of the L’Enfant Plan” (Hawkins)

Session III: Charting Washington’s Waterways and Waterfronts
Moderator (Jarvis)
“Shifting Perspectives: Evolving Visions of Washington’s Waterfronts and Stream Valleys” (Davis)
“Two Rivers and the City: Reclaiming a Vision” (Miller and Lowe)

Keynote Address
Introduction (Richardson)
“The Mayor as City Planner” (Williams)

Reception, 5:45 p.m. to 7:15 p.m.

Saturday, May 19

Morning Program 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Session IV: Names on the Land
Introduction (Campbell)
“Leaving Their Mark: Street Names in the Developing City” (Scott)

Session V: Mapping Across Generations
Moderator (Stevens)
“Visualizing L’Enfant’s City of Washington Through Computer Simulation (Bailey)
“From Maps to Apps: Visitor Orientation at the National Mall” (Patterson)
“Beyond Map Brochures: Wayfinding, Education and Experiencing the National Mall in the 21st Century” (Spain and Voigt)

Tours of the Geography and Map Division, 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.

More information on the conference presentations is available at www.loc.gov/rr/geogmap/plp2012conference.html.


PR 12-087
ISSN 0731-3527