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Parker Map Collection

The George S. Parker Map Collection

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What can I find here?

Between 1975 and 1986, George S. Parker, CEO of the Parker Pen Company, acquired 29 superb examples of the most significant maps related to New France and French exploration of the Great Lakes.

Eventually Parker collected 57 maps, including early maps of Florida and Mexico, and later maps of Wisconsin. The George S. Parker Map Collection illustrates French perceptions of their New World empire as well as the ways in which Europe's most important cartographers represented North America to the public.

The collection is on long-term loan from the Caxambas Foundation of Milwaukee.

How is it organized?

Physical

  • The George S. Parker Map Collection contains 57 maps. Meticulous reproductions of all maps are available for viewing in the Society's Archives.
  • 29 maps of New France
  • 5 maps of Mexico dating 1660-1668
  • 4 maps of Florida
  • 19 maps of Wisconsin during the 19th century

Online

  • All maps area available for viewing online.
  • They were digitized at extremely high resolutions to create images that faithfully reflect the original colors and papers.

About George S. Parker

George S. Parker (1929-2004) was CEO of the Parker Pen Company from 1952-1986. His grandfather co-founded the company in Janesville, Wisconsin, in 1891. The history of the company, including marketing, advertising strategies, innovations and successes, can be found in the Society's Archives: "Oral history interview with George Parker [sound recording], 2001."

Parker's passion for early maps led to two publications. He described his collecting in an essay printed in "Maps of Encounter: The French in Seventeenth-Century Wisconsin," a 24-page exhibit catalog published by The Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts, and Letters in 1995. He was also the author of "The Mapping of the Great Lakes," published in 1989 by the John Carter Brown Library.

Parker, who also collected colonial American art and furniture, intended his collection to be valuable for scholars as well as the general public.

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