NYPL’s geospatial librarian Matt Knutzen observes: “Hienrich Keller’s Reichcarte Der Suisse, a tourist map of Switzerland, was published in 1819 and kept in a lovely slip case for protection; its folding pattern is such that it will fold up nicely to the size of a pocket, unlike many pocket maps we have today. Colorful outlines indicate the boundaries of the provinces, and all of the local and regional roads — which are important since that’s the primary way people got around — are clearly delineated. It was designed in a practical, built-to-last format in which each panel was mounted on a muslin backing; the cartographers who invented this type of map knew very well that paper folding on itself doesn’t pass the test of time. This type of map is important to the study of historical geography. When compared to a contemporary map of the same place, a user can see that many of the names have changed or become obsolete. Primary roads on an old map might now be just dusty, old back roads that have been superseded by interstate highways and autobahns that offer faster (though less scenic) routes through the countryside. Reichcarte Der Suisse is a wonderful example of a map that not only satisfied the needs of the 19th-century tourist, but also remained in good enough condition to meet the needs of the 21st-century historical geographer.” NYPL, Lionel Pincus and Princess Firyal Map Division

 
 

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