Council of North American Map Societies

Minutes of meeting of October 26, 2016


Attendees: Presiding – John Docktor – President CONAMS, Art Holzheimer – Chicago Map Society, Jeremy Pool – Boston Map Society, Wes Brown – Rocky Mountain Map Society, Fred and Eilene Shauger – New York Map Society, Robert Clancy – Australian and New Zealand Map Society, Tom Sander – Society of History of Discoveries, Dennis Gurtz – Washington Map Society,

Chicago Map Society – We were in attendance enjoying the major event of the Chicago Map Society hosting the conference celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the Nebenzahl Lectures, the International Symposium of IMCOS, and the Chicago Map Fair. Art reported the society is 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. They are having about eight lectures and often a field trip during the year. The lectures are varying more widely and are no longer just antiquarian. The Chicago Map Fair seems to have become an annual event that, although not part of the Chicago Map Society, is advertised by them.

Boston Map Society – Jeremy reported they have a new President, Chris Butler. 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 of about 140 is going up slightly. 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. Finances are currently strong for the Society.

Washington Map Society – Membership hovers around 400, about 50 of whom are institutional members. 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 members attend programs. 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 must be actively monitored. There is new effort going into the website. The latest energy has been to prepare for recording the lectures and putting them up on their website.

Society for the History of Discoveries – Tom described the recent meeting to be in Rhode Island. It had a smaller attendance than usual and some significant financial losses by guarantying too many rooms. The next meeting is being decided on but the 2018 meeting will be co-hosted by the Rocky Mountain Map Society. Lauren Beck is the Editor of the Journal administered by Taylor & Frances; an arrangement that Tom describes as very satisfactory and greatly relieving the society of taxing administrative duties. There are currently 210 members.

Rocky Mountain Map Society – Membership has grown to about 115 paid members. There are about eight meetings a year. Annual dues are $25. This past year’s Map Month was titled Illusions, Delusions, and Confusions, about myths in mapping. The five lectures on subsequent Monday evenings in May were given at the Denver Public Library that also hosted a companion map exhibit. This is the third year of the event. The Map Month program experiences turnout of over 100 attendees, where regular meetings, of which there are about five a year, get 40 to 50. The concentrated effort on Map Month has allowed for greater publicity resulting in the higher turnout. The Rocky Mountain Map Society will be hosting SHD in 2018.

New York Map Society – Fred reported the Society is finally moving in a positive direction having moved its programs from the New York Public Library to the Society for Ethical Culture. There are several new board members and all the officers, but Alice Hudson, are in their 40s. Now, the NYPL, under new leadership that is no longer hostile to the Society, has invited the Society back. Saturday meetings had been designed to allow attendance for more outlying members, but they are moving more back to programs on weeknights, favored by the younger members. There are 70 paid members with between 10 and 50 attending meetings.

Australian and New Zealand Map Society – Robert Clancy reported that the society has about four meetings a year with about 30 attendees. There are 60 to 70 members. Robert noted that 2020 will be the 250th anniversary of the discovery of Australia. There will be many national celebrations. They are in discussions with IMCOS about having the International Symposium in Sidney during that year. There was also discussion of a companion meeting on the west coast of the U.S. focusing on exploration of the Pacific. It was suggested that Robert discuss a possible collaboration with Stanford’s Rumsey Map Center.

Prepared by Wes Brown, Secretary