The William H. Galvani Rare Maps Collection of more than 1,000 maps depicting various regions of the globe from antiquity to the 20th century is now available for research at the library’s Special Collections and Archives Research Center (SCARC). Included in Galvani’s generous bequest of his personal library to the university, it is one of the library’s largest map collections. See the list of maps in the Galvani Collection at http://scarc.library.oregonstate.edu/findingaids/?p=collections/findingaid&id=2110. 

This impressive cultural resource will support the research interests of students, professors, historians, literary scholars, military enthusiasts, geographers, cartographers and artists. The broad temporal and geographical scope of the maps represents Galvani’s interests as a voracious private collector, and this maps collection will now serve to enhance learning and teaching opportunities.   

Predominantly focused on military history from the 18th and 19th centuries, the collection depicts the French Revolution, the Napoleonic Wars, the United States Civil War, the Crimean War, the Russo-Japanese War, the Spanish-American War and the Italian War of Independence. Additionally, the collection records the military and sociopolitical history of France, England, and ancient Greece and Rome. Reflecting his professional background as a civil engineer for the Northern Pacific Railway, Galvani’s collection also includes topographical surveys of the Adirondacks, military surveys of Cuba, railway and telegraphic lines in Africa, and Captain Cook’s circumnavigation route.   

The collection is categorized into seven geographical series (Africa, Asia, Europe, North America, South America, World, and miscellaneous). Within each series, the maps are grouped by an identifiable bibliographic source, as many of the maps were originally part of books or publications. Notable sources of the maps include: “Viaje del Joven Anacarsis á la Grecia a mediados del siglo cuarto antes de la era vulgar” (“Travels of Anacharsis the Younger in Greece”), by Juan Jacobo Barthelemy, 1845; “Histoire de Polybe,” 1753; and the “U.S. Military Governor of Cuba Report, 1900-1902.” Each item entry includes available information about the various map creators, such as the engraver, lithographer, cartographer, printer or publisher. The majority of the maps are not in English, so the addition of specific geographic location information aims to help researchers locate relevant maps within a given series.

Posted - September 08, 2016