A Gathering of Continents Exhibit

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Georgia Tech’s Price Gilbert Memorial Library and the Robert C. Williams Museum of Papermaking are giving visitors a unique passport back in time to the early mappings of the earth by featuring A Gathering of Continents, an exhibit showcasing a 17th century atlas.

Joan Blaeu’s Grooten Atlas, also referred to as Atlas Major, was published in Amsterdam between 1662-65. The nine-volume atlas remains the foremost European atlas published in the 17th Century.

“We are thrilled to host this precious artifact, one of the few remaining editions of its kind,” said Teri Williams, director of the Williams Museum. “It is a rare treat to have this on display for the larger community to enjoy.”

Georgia Tech acquired the atlas in the 1960s. This edition is one of the few remaining hand-colored, gold-embossed, deluxe editions bound in Moroccan leather. Kenneth Knoespel, a professor with joint appointments in the School of Literature, Media, and Communication and the School of History, Technology, and Society serves on the team curating the atlas exhibit. Ivan Allen College is a sponsor.

Exhibited maps include European views of Africa, the Americas and Asia, depicting important trade routes and ports. Detailed views of European cities and countries provide insight into a continent developing the geopolitical regions known today. Original volumes of the atlas will be on exhibit along with reproductions of select maps from the collection.

Visitors will follow the advancements of this revolutionary era as the study of astronomy, the development of papermaking, printmaking and mapmaking culminate in Joan Blaeu’s atlas. A second-generation mapmaker, his extensive research and attention to detail provide important examples of evolving cartographic technologies and rich material exploring the idea of Europe after the Thirty Years War.

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