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America’s First Female Mapmaker – 6/7/19

In 1828, Emma Willard was 41 years old, only slightly older than the United States itself. She is one of the first, perhaps the very first, female mapmaker in America. A teacher, pioneer of education for women, and founder of her own school, Willard was fascinated with the power of geography and the potential for maps to tell stories. In 1828, she published a series of maps as part of her History of the United States, or Republic of America, which showed graphically how the country, as she understood it, had come to be. It was the first book of its kind—the first atlas to present the evolution of America.

Emma is famous for a map she made which documented the history and movement of Native American tribes in the precolonial past. She included it in an atlas which also told a story about the triumph of Anglo settlers in this part of the world. She helped solidify, for both her peers and her students, a narrative of American destiny and inevitability. [Source: AtlasObscura.com]