Today, I was invited to the Geography and Map Division of the Library of Congress to present my Lincoln in Washington map for the Library’s permanent collection. The meeting came with an opportunity to walk through the “vault” and see some of the amazing map treasures that are available to researchers there.
My host was the head of the Division, Edward James Redmond. The holdings are vast, so he had to speed through the high level overview of some significant world maps before we got to the Civil War and Washington, D.C. section. There were several editions of the Boschke maps of the District of Columbia, beginning with 1857. The incredible detail of these large-scale works allowed me to first visualize the Lincoln visits that I described in my publication. Other maps showed the changing aspects of the “seat of war,” the Washington and northern Virginia region.
Redmond is expert in the drawings and maps of George Washington. When he brought out the original layout and plot plans for Alexandria, VA, created by 15-year-old George, Redmond couldn’t hide the respect and awe he holds for Washington’s graphic work. Indeed, he obviously takes pride in being able to display a few of the millions of documents for which he is responsible.
And my happiest meeting in recent weeks has to be the chance encounter with another “map guy,” Kieran McAuliffe. Kieran is the author of the popular, John Wilkes Booth Escape Route map. This was another inspirational piece for me. Early in our life here in Washington, my good wife agreed to spend a day retracing the assassin’s route through southern Maryland and into Virginia. Now, I have finally met the guy who showed me how to use geography to tell an interesting story. His new project is a map of Civil War Washington. I was happy to share some of what I have learned about the subject during four years of research.
The mission of this website is to continue to add to our knowledge of President Lincoln’s life in Washington, D.C. The blog posts have reported the reference citations that elaborate on the sites and stories that were featured in my map publication, Lincoln in Washington. The map is continuing to receive recognition as an authoritative guide for helping to better understand the life of President Lincoln in the National Capital. The Library of Congress now joins Ford’s Theatre and the Mary Surratt House in Clinton, MD, in presenting this interpretive piece to their visitors. But if you can’t get there, you can still buy your copy of the map at the Products tab on this site.