For some reason, maps have always piqued my interest. Even as a child, I loved rifling through old maps of places near and far, imagined and real, tracing the boundaries and plotting adventures.
Sadly, precious few maps have survived the centuries. But one of the most remarkable collections I’ve ever seen came to my attention via the magic of Twitter. The David Rumsey Historical Map Collection has a breathtaking online gallery of 19th Century maps drawn by children, most of whom were young women. The quality is astonishing, making even my best attempts at map-making look rather childish in comparison.
From the site:
In the 18th and 19th centuries, children were taught geography by making their own maps, usually copies of maps available to them in books and atlases at their schools or homes. Below is a group of maps and geographical diagrams made by children in the 19th century; and some of the school atlases, geographies, and wall maps that may have been their sources. These old maps made by children were hand drawn and colored, one-of-a-kind productions, and it is amazing that any have survived down to our time. That they have is due to luck and the efforts of families to preserve the history of their children. These maps have a special poignancy today in the way that they reflect the optimism of youth from another time.