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Tag: Ephraim Gilman

Mapping Out A Mystery

In this guest blog post, Dr. Mark Stegmaier, Professor of History at Cameron University in Oklahoma, discovers that sometimes even professional researchers find answers to questions when—and where—they aren’t looking for them!

In the Winter 2009 issue of Prologue magazine, Dr. Richard McCulley of the National Archives and I published an article titled “Cartography, Politics, and Mischief” describing and analyzing the features on a map of the United States drawn in late 1848 by Ephraim Gilman of the U.S. General Land Office as a document to accompany President James K. Polk’s last annual message of December 1848.

Dr. McCulley and I realized that Gilman had used other maps as sources for information for his own map. However, the map from which Gilman copied place names and terrain features for the section of his map depicting the northwestern part of the country—the recently organized Oregon Territory—eluded our efforts to locate it in several prominent collections of maps.

But sometimes historical investigators experience strange and serendipitous events in their research efforts.

I was doing research on an entirely different topic at the St. Louis Mercantile Library. This institution is now located on the campus of the University of Missouri at St. Louis and shares the same building as the university’s library. Before reaching the UMSL reference desk, you first pass by a wall of framed … [ Read all ]