Earliest Maps of Georgia Included in Stunning Collection Donated to Columbus State University

Released: 16-Apr-2013 10:00 AM EDT
Source Newsroom: Columbus State University
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Newswise — COLUMBUS, Ga. — A leading Columbus State University supporter, J. Kyle Spencer, has donated to CSU Archives one of the most comprehensive collections of the early maps of Georgia.

“These maps represent the emergence of the people of Georgia as a state,” said Mark Flynn, CSU’s dean of libraries, which houses the Archives. “It’s all about our history and shows how land transformation relates to our history.”

Before becoming part of the CSU Archives on the top floor of CSU’s Schwob Memorial Library on main campus, a sampling of the maps will be on display as the J. Kyle Spencer Map Exhibition from April 19-June 14 at the W.C. Bradley Co. Museum, (1017 Front Avenue). The exhibition is sponsored by the CSU Archives of Columbus State Libraries and the W.C. Bradley Co. An opening reception will be held from 6 p.m. – 8 p.m. Friday, April 19 at the museum with a gallery talk to begin at 6:30 p.m.

Additionally, to help celebrate the Spencer map collection, Ken Jennings, the famed Jeopardy! champion and author of the New York Times Bestseller, “Maphead, Charting the Wide, Weird World of Geography Wonks” will be here April 23, 2013 at 7 p.m. at Riverside Theatre downtown for a lecture that is free and open to the public.

Flynn stressed the unique nature of the collection.

“This would be a rare collection to find,” he said. “You may find these maps at other collections. But to have all of this in Columbus, where people who are interested in geography and how it shaped our lives can use them, you don’t have to travel (to Atlanta or Athens). You could come here.”

The collection will reside in the CSU Archives, along with over 5,000 linear feet of archival material, including maps, architectural drawings, photographs, audio recordings and video recordings. The Spencer collection will include the first maps to identify the Margravate of Azilia, the precursor to James Oglethorpe’s colony and the first cartographic works to delineate Georgia.

Spencer, a senior member of the CSU Foundation, has collected maps dealing with the American colonies and Georgia for more than 30 years. The Georgia material includes the first cartographic images of the colony and the first rendering of the state on a wall map scale. The numerous Georgia works allow an observer to trace the disappearance of the Indians and the westward growth of the state’s counties.

This collection of Georgia maps is considered important to scholars because geographers can study them as works of cartography. Additionally, they can be used to teach the state’s history as this collection of maps depicts the removal of the Creek and Cherokee Indians and defines the growth of counties, always an important theme in Georgia history.

“The Georgia maps being donated by J. Kyle Spencer to the CSU Archives will make this repository equal to any in terms of the antiquity and range of images portraying the cartography of the Empire State of the South,” said John Lupold, professor emeritus of history at Columbus State.

During the April 19-June 14 exhibition, admission to the W.C. Bradley Co. Museum is free to the public. The gallery housing the map samples will be open from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. on weekdays, until 8 p.m. on Friday, April 26, from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. on Saturday, April 27 and from 1-5 p.m. on Sunday, April 28.

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