Results and Next Steps

The goal of our project was to group together atlas sheets with similar characteristics based upon an analysis of the paper. Our assumption that these maps were at one time bound together was confirmed. With additional bibliographic analysis we recreated four atlases and were able to substantiate the following:

1.) Only one of the four recreated sets matched known titles. 

2.) There are gaps in the handwritten pagination on the maps. This could suggest that Vignaud may never have had complete versions of these atlases and only purchased what was available from a map dealer or other collector.

3.) The broken atlases that the maps came from were almost certainly disbound, or broken, before the University purchased them. It is also probable that they were broken even before Vignaud acquired them. Some of the maps that we determined go together also have conflicting characteristics, meaning that they were most likely not always together.

4.) The most surprising and interesting finding of our research is that 45 of our 188 maps did not match any listed in Koeman’s Atlantes Neerlandici or any other sources. Many of these maps are variants of those found in van der Krogt, because they lack text on the verso. Especially notable are two maps by the great cartographer Mercator, one of Anjou and one of Burgundy. Seven of these forty maps did not match the four recreated atlases.

Going forward, we plan to do further research to determine what the possible map titles are that would fill in the “gaps” in our atlases. With that information we will query map listservs, search Worldcat, other library catalogs, and map dealer and auction catalogs to ascertain who owns the other maps from the atlases in our project. Beyond Henry Vignaud’s interest in the Columbian Encounter, we still do not know much about his preferences as a collector and why he owned these particular maps. Further research of his papers at other institutions and locating his unpublished manuscript may shed light on this question.

Ultimately, our findings agree with van der Krogt’s assertion, “that the ideal copy does not exist either for these folio atlases in particular or, arguably, for most folio atlases in general” (Van der Krogt, 1996, p.150).

Van der Krogt, Peter. “Amsterdam Atlas Production in the 1630’s: A Bibliographer’s Nightmare.” Imago Mundi, Vol. 48 (1996).

Understanding Atlas Terminology