Council of North American Map Societies

Minutes of meeting of February 6, 2016


Attendees: Presiding – John Docktor – President CONAMS, Eliane Dotson – Washington Map Soc., Dick Pflederer – Williamsburg Map Circle, Art Holzheimer – Chicago Map Society, Jeremy Pool – Boston Map Society, Hans Kok – International Map Collectors Society, Nick Kanas – California Map Society, Wes Brown – Rocky Mountain Map Society.


Boston Map Society – They have been holding about six to eight events a year; typically, about three of which are held in conjunction with new map related exhibits at Harvard. Attendance at meetings is 15 to 40. Membership is holding steady at about 140. Annual dues are $35. They have been using postcards for meeting announcements that work very well and only cost about $.40 each and then they leave extra postcards around as fliers at libraries and such.

California Map Society – There are about 200 members and their main business is two full-day meetings a year, one in Northern California and one in Southern California. They typically get 50+ attendees at the meetings. There is also an ad hoc group call BAM for Bay Area Map Group that gets together at some one’s house several times a year. These are informal and very social but lots of fun.

Chicago Map Society – Art reported they are experiencing renewed vigor with 40 to 45 attendees at meetings and more young blood in the mix. There are currently about 150 members. They recently raised their annual dues to $40. In October 2016, the Society will play host to a major event, a conference celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the Nebenzahl Lectures, the International Symposium of IMCOS, and the Chicago Map Fair. A large attendance is anticipated. The Chicago Map Fair is not a direct activity of the Chicago Map Society but they help publicize it. They often have a field trip during the year.

Williamsburg Map Circle – They have about five meetings a year with one in the winter being a social event. Their distribution list has about 120 names that they email blast. They started a dues paying membership at $25 per year that has grown to about 60 members.

Washington Map Society – Membership hovers around 400, about 50 of whom are institutional members. All members receive The Portolan, the Society’s thrice-yearly journal – the only map journal of its type published in The Americas – which averages about 80 pages per issue. US individual members pay dues of $45 per year, foreign members are charged more to cover international mailing costs; the same pricing is offered to institutions, and there are discounts for multi-year memberships.  Advertising helps cover the cost. They typically have nine meetings a year concluded with the Annual Dinner in May. About 40 or 50 attendees now at the newly remodeled reading room of the Library of Congress with an excellent new large high definition screen. For the last few years they have been developing a Facebook page run by member Bert Johnson. It has been gaining about 50 people per month lately and they are getting around 90 posts per month. Interestingly, a large number of the Facebook members are not actual dues paying members of the Society. The Board views their Facebook effort as an entry point for future members. It was noted that Facebook takes a lot of commitment from its members to manage and it has to be actively monitored.

International Map Collectors Society – Well known map expert and President of IMCOS, Hans Kok, was visiting Florida and happened by the event on the spur of the moment to the delight of all. Their annual schedule usually involves about three local events in the spring that attracts about 40 people. In June they have the London Map Fair with and annual Dinner at which they grant the Helen Wallace Award. In the fall they have the International Symposium that has been going for about 40 years now. Depending on the country attendance varies from about 75 to 200. 2015 was in South Africa and 2016 will be in Chicago. He mentioned that IMCOS tried Facebook about five years ago and it didn’t go well at all. The Society publishes their Journal quarterly at the cost of 50 pounds per year and they don’t charge a foreign shipping premium. About 80% of the cost of the journal is covered by advertising. There are about 450 members that has been rising very slightly every year.

Rocky Mountain Map Society – Membership slowly growing and now about 100 members and about eight meetings a year. Annual dues are $25. This past year’s Map Month involved four Monday nights in a row during the month of May with a theme of Twentieth Century Mapping. Two lectures were at the University of Denver and two at the Denver Public Library. Each institution mounted a map exhibit concurrent with the lectures. The program for 2016 will be Map Myths and involves five lectures over five weeks and two exhibits, one by the Denver Public Library and one by the University of Colorado, Boulder. The Map Month program experience turnout of about 100 attendees where regular meetings, or which there are about five a year, get 40 to 50. The concentrated effort has allowed for greater publicity resulting in the higher turnout.

Philips Lee Phillips Map Society of the Library of Congress – Dick Pflederer discussed how it would be helpful if each regional society made an appeal to its members for support of the Phillips Society, support organization of the Map and Geography Division of the Library of Congress. The Society has a contributing membership of about 175, three to four newsletters a year, and has recently crossed one million dollars as total donations received.

Prepared by Wes Brown, Secretary