Mapping Manifest Destiny: Chicago and the American West

Chicago Teachers as Scholars
Monday, October 21, 2013 to Tuesday, October 22, 2013
Dr. Diane Dillon, The Newberry

Maps played a crucial role in shaping the American West, literally and figuratively, from the sixteenth through the early twentieth centuries. Explorers, government officials, railroad companies, emigrants, land developers, tourists, and teachers made and used a wide variety of maps to comprehend the West’s geography and exploit its resources. Regarded together, these maps present the larger history of the West in microcosm, offering a fresh lens through which to interpret the region’s culture and its significance. Drawing on the Newberry’s rich cartographic holdings, this seminar will investigate frontier mapping from a variety of perspectives, including those of mapmakers, patrons, and consumers. We will pay special attention to the place of Chicago in this history, tracing its evolution from an Indian place name on early maps to the economic capital of the West and a major center of cartographic production.

Cost and registration information: 

For registration information, please contact Charlotte Wolfe Ross at

*There will be a follow-up lesson planning workshop as well as an end of the year wrap-up session in addition to the two-day seminar.

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