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The University of Texas at Austin


Briscoe Center Acquires the Weatherby Map Collection

Detail from Battle of Gettysburg, 1863
Detail from Battle of Gettysburg, 1863

The Briscoe Center has acquired the Dr. T. Karman Weatherby Map Collection. Composed of hundreds of historic maps, the collection documents battles, cities, frontier territories, nations and continents across a number of centuries. Furthermore, the Weatherby family has made a significant gift to the center that will enable a gallery to be named in honor of Dr. Weatherby and his beloved wife, Carolyn.

"The Weatherby Map Collection is a stunning, extensive, and organized archive of cartographic resources that finds itself in good company at the center," said Don Carleton, executive director at the Briscoe Center. "The collection—open for research—and the gallery represent a fitting legacy to Dr. Weatherby, a man who cared deeply about Texas history."

According to Benedict Anderson, a historian of nationalism, maps were one of the technological innovations (along with others such as newspapers and navigation) that made it possible for large groups of people to imagine themselves as national communities in the early modern and modern eras. In a wash of colors and fonts, the Weatherby maps imagine communities from across the globe and across time.

"Maps are encoded with clues that illuminate how communities think about themselves, their surroundings and their neighbors," said Carleton. "The Weatherby Map Collection will benefit researchers and students across a range of disciplines for years to come."

Before his untimely death in 2010, Dr. T. Karman Weatherby amassed an impressive collection of maps, engravings and pages. A testament to his professionalism, Weatherby treated his collection with care, organization and attention to detail.

The Briscoe Center is also home to many collections that contain historically important maps, such as the Natchez Trace Collection. The center is also home to the now-digitized Sanborn Fire Insurance Map Collection, which includes over 17,000 maps detailing 426 Texas cities across 213 counties.