Cartography and Geography

Review: Monmonier, From Squaw Tit to Whorehouse Meadow

June 21, 2006
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Review: Monmonier, From Squaw Tit to Whorehouse Meadow

The Sunday Telegraph featured a review of Mark Monmonier’s From Squaw Tit to Whorehouse Meadow: How Maps Name, Claim, and Inflame. Lawrence Norfolk wrote: "The direct relevance of this book to anyone besides mapping administrators is not immediately obvious. It is, though, a treasure-trove of geographic factoids, ranging from ‘trap streets’ (fictitious features inserted in maps to guard against copyright infringements) to the importance of inverted commas in Hawaiian place names. But an enticing practical narrative lies buried in these pages: a civil activist’s handbook on how to change the toponyms around you. Or, to be blunt, how to get something named after you.… From anecdotal evidence (gathered in From Squaw Tit to Whorehouse Meadow and elsewhere), this reviewer suggests the surest route to toponymic immortality is becoming the President of the United States of America. Then being shot." Read an excerpt. . . .

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Gilfoyle is Chicago Reader‘s Critic’s Choice

June 21, 2006
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Gilfoyle is Chicago Reader‘s Critic’s Choice

Tonight at 6:00 p.m., Gilfoyle will discuss and sign Millennium Park at the Harold Washington Library. Items from the official archives of Millennium Park will be on view during the event. The event is free and open to the public. Timothy J. Gilfoyle’s reading was chosen by the Chicago Reader as its Critic’s Choice of the week. Harold Henderson wrote, "The story of Millennium Park, as told by Loyola historian Timothy J. Gilfoyle in Millennium Park: Creating a Chicago Landmark, is three uplifting tales in one: the site, up from the lake and the post-Fire rubble; the politics, up from a landfill’s worth of failed plans; and the culture, up from a conservative vision of merely filling out the north end of Grant Park to a tightly packed series of walkways, sculptures, and theatrical spaces.… This impressively organized and lavishly illustrated book itself wouldn’t exist without financial support from the Minow Family Foundation. Those uncomfortable with the project’s delays, cost overruns, privatized process, or jangly outcome get their say, but the mayor has the last word." . . .

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[Zippy title goes here]

June 19, 2006
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[Zippy title goes here]

In his June 18 "On Language" column in the New York Times Magazine, William Safire gives a nod to Mark Monmonier’s new book, From Squaw Tit to Whorehouse Meadow: How Maps Name, Claim, and Inflame. Safire briefly discusses the three "slurs" or "vulgarisms" in the title of the book. (Can you spot them? I knew you could.) Mr. Safire further nods to us and our colleagues when he says: "This scholarly treatise of topography and cartographic analysis was given a zippy title by the swinging marketers in Chicago." We were taken aback by that word "swinging.&quot Isn’t that what the parental units were doing in Ice Storm? Does Mr. Safire know something about the Chicago marketing department that we don’t know? And if "scholarly treatise" sounds a bit dismissive, do yourself the favor of reading an excerpt from Monmonier’s zippy little tome. . . .

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Author events: Gilfoyle, Millennium Park

June 14, 2006
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Author events: Gilfoyle, Millennium Park

Tonight, Timothy J. Gilfoyle, author of Millennium Park: Creating a Chicago Landmark, will appear on WTTW’s "Chicago Tonight" television program. The show airs at 7:00 p.m. (CST). Tomorrow morning, Gilfoyle will be interviewed by Gretchen Helfrich on WBEZ 91.5 FM radio’s "Eight Forty-Eight" program (9:00-10:00 a.m.). In addition to regular broadcast, the show will be accessible via an online audio stream on the WBEZ Web site. Next Wednesday, June 21 at 6:00 p.m., Gilfoyle will speak at the Harold Washington Library’s Cindy Pritzker Auditorium (400 South State Street). Gilfoyle will discuss and sign Millennium Park: Creating a Chicago Landmark. Items from the official archives of Millennium Park will be on view during the event. . . .

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Review: Gilfoyle, Millennium Park

June 12, 2006
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Review: Gilfoyle, Millennium Park

Sunday’s edition of the Chicago Sun-Times featured a nice review of Timothy J. Gilfoyle’s Millennium Park: Creating a Chicago Landmark. Kevin Nance wrote, "The creation of the $475 million park, which opened in July 2004 four years late and at more than twice its originally projected cost, was fraught with tension among its high-powered participants.… This high-stakes game of push-and-pull forms the dramatic core of historian Timothy J. Gilfoyle’s absorbing and lavishly illustrated Millennium Park: Creating a Chicago Landmark, to be published this week." . . .

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Review: Bruegmann, Sprawl

June 12, 2006
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Review: Bruegmann, Sprawl

Chicago Life recently reviewed Robert Bruegmann’s Sprawl: A Compact History: "At a recent panel discussion at the prestigious Chicago Architecture Foundation, the distinguished Doug Kelbaugh, dean of the University of Michigan’s School of Architecture, described the book Sprawl: A Compact History as the most dangerous book he as read. The book was written by the also very distinguished Robert Bruegmann, professor of architecture at the University of Illinois at Chicago. The word ‘dangerous’ suggests that something is very wrong with this book. In fact, the book, which is short and easily consumed, turns conventional wisom on its head suggesting that ‘low-density scattered, urban development without systematic large-scale or regional public land-use planning,’ in other words sprawl, is not all that bad." The first major book to strip urban sprawl of its pejorative connotations, Sprawl offers a completely new vision of the city and its growth. Bruegmann leads readers to the powerful conclusion that "in its immense complexity and constant change, the city—whether dense and concentrated at its core, looser and more sprawling in suburbia, or in the vast tracts of exurban penumbra that extend dozens, even hundreds, of miles—is the grandest and most marvelous work of mankind." Read an excerpt. . . .

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Get these inflammatory toponyms before they’re gone

June 6, 2006
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Get these inflammatory toponyms before they’re gone

    Squaw Peak, which overlooks Phoenix, Arizona, drew the attention of Native American activists, who sought to change the name, and place names purists, who resented the governor‘s attempt at renaming. (From the Sunnyslope, Arizona USGS topographic quadrangle map.)   An essay by Mark Monmonier, distinguished professor of geography at Syracuse University and the author of From Squaw Tit to Whorehouse Meadow: How Maps Name, Claim, and Inflame. I‘m surprised few people collect twentieth-century maps, which are more readily available than earlier artifacts, less expensive to acquire, and more varied in content. In contrast to traditional themes like military maps, nautical charts, or a particular mapmaker, the collector of modern maps can easily focus on his or her ancestors, birthplace, travels, hobbies, or occupation. History buffs can concentrate on places prominent in military, diplomatic, industrial, or intellectual history—Gettysburg, Versailles, Thomas Edison‘s Menlo Park (New Jersey), and London‘s Bloomsbury district spring to mind—or on specific types of places, such as battlefields, National Parks, or even disaster sites, which afford intriguing cartographic narratives of affluence, devastation, and recovery. Collectors eager to mix history and design can concentrate on propaganda or transportation maps, while hobbyists fascinated with mapping technology can focus on . . .

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Review: Monmonier, From Squaw Tit to Whorehouse Meadow

May 30, 2006
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Review: Monmonier, From Squaw Tit to Whorehouse Meadow

In today’s Boston Globe Michael Kenney writes about Mark Monmonier’s "entertaining and enlightening" new book, From Squaw Tit to Whorehouse Meadow: How Maps Name, Claim, and Inflame. Kenney summarizes the book’s description of the process of renaming controversial geographic locations and why it’s important: "Monmonier writes, ‘how a nation manipulates and preserves its place and feature names says a lot about its respect for history, minority rights and indigenous culture.’" From Squaw Tit to Whorehouse Meadow probes this little-known chapter in American cartographic history by considering the intersecting efforts to computerize mapmaking, standardize geographic names, and respond to public concern over ethnically offensive appellations. Interweaving cartographic history with tales of politics and power, celebrated geographer Mark Monmonier locates his story within the past and present struggles of mapmakers to create an orderly process for naming that avoids confusion, preserves history, and serves different political aims. Read an excerpt. . . .

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Review: Bruegmann, Sprawl

April 26, 2006
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Review: Bruegmann, Sprawl

The London Review of Books recently praised Robert Bruegmann’s Sprawl: A Compact History. From the review by Andrew Saint: "To judge whether sprawl is a symptom of global capitalism at its most rampant and wasteful … technical arguments must be addressed. Bruegmann takes us through them lucidly and economically, neither flinching from nor getting mired in detail, and steering deftly between neo-con smugness and liberal anguish. These qualities make Sprawl a textbook for our times." In his incisive history of the expanded city, Bruegmann overturns every assumption we have about sprawl. Taking a long view of urban development, he demonstrates that sprawl is neither recent nor particularly American but as old as cities themselves, just as characteristic of ancient Rome and eighteenth-century Paris as it is of Atlanta or Los Angeles. Nor is sprawl the disaster claimed by many contemporary observers. Although sprawl, like any settlement pattern, has undoubtedly produced problems that must be addressed, it has also provided millions of people with the kinds of mobility, privacy, and choice that were once the exclusive prerogatives of the rich and powerful. Read an excerpt. . . .

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Review: Monmonier, From Squaw Tit to Whorehouse Meadow

April 13, 2006
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Review: Monmonier, From Squaw Tit to Whorehouse Meadow

Library Journal recently praised Mark Monmonier’s new book From Squaw Tit to Whorehouse Meadow: How Maps Name, Claim, and Inflame: "An amusing, informative, and topical study of the contentious issue of place names, this is recommended for public and academic libraries." Brassiere Hills, Alaska. Mollys Nipple, Utah. Outhouse Draw, Nevada. In the early twentieth century, it was common for towns and geographical features to have salacious, bawdy, and even derogatory names. In the age before political correctness, mapmakers readily accepted any local preference for place names, prizing accurate representation over standards of decorum. From Squaw Tit to Whorehouse Meadow probes this little-known chapter in American cartographic history by considering the intersecting efforts to computerize mapmaking, standardize geographic names, and respond to public concern over ethnically offensive appellations. Interweaving cartographic history with tales of politics and power, celebrated geographer Mark Monmonier locates his story within the past and present struggles of mapmakers to create an orderly process for naming that avoids confusion, preserves history, and serves different political aims. . . .

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