Locations and Wanderings of the Aboriginal Tribes
Published 1828, New York
Size: 18" X 24"
An important map of the Northeast and Midwest of America showing the locations of different aboriginal tribes in the early 19th Century, by a renown American pioneer in the field of cartography and a women’s rights activist focused on education, Emma Willard. This map was published in her important work A Series of Maps to Willard’s History of the United States, or Republic of America, in 1828.
It has been argued that this map is of particular importance because it was the first depiction published to show the American aboriginal migrations over time.
Willard’s map is also of interest because of the nomenclature that she uses throughout the map. Although state boundaries are delineated, no European nomenclature exist to define them. Important bodies of waters such as the Five Great Lakes or major river systems use their original native names such as the Cataraqui River to depict the St-Lawrence River, or Lake Oswego for Lake Erie.
Unlike a more precise European manner of land possession, Willard’s map is conceived more in terms of spheres of influence and control that are not static. To convey this concept, Willard uses directional arrows to show the direction of the “wanderings” of the different tribes.
It should noted that Willard’s founded the first institution focused on higher education for women, the Troy Female Seminary, in Troy, New York in 1821. As such, the curriculum paid special attention to areas as diverse as mathematics, philosophy, history, science, and of course geography. According to Willard, the women’s right movement would be accomplished through education with geography playing an important part. It has been argued that;
“Willard was adamant that it was more important to teach students how to think, rather than what to think and that the study of geography could promote this teaching philosophy.
Willard's pedagogical approach to geography was groundbreaking many different ways. As opposed to starting with global geography or the composition of the universe, she urged her fellow teachers to start on a more local scale. "Instead of commencing the study of maps with the map of the world, which is the most difficult to understand," she and her co-author William Woodbridge wrote, "the pupil here begins, in the most simple manner imaginable, to draw a map of his own town." This pedagogy is reflected not only in the geography textbooks she wrote with Woodbridge, but also in the atlas she published to accompany her "Willard's History of the United States, or, Republic of America."
Her tireless work in making the Troy Female Seminary a success and her long list of published work that included the History of the United States, made her into an icon that see her bestowed her with many honours such as her induction into the Hall of Fame for Great Americans in 1905, and more recently into the National Women’s Hall of Fame in 2013.
(Sources: Worlds Revealed: Geography & Maps blog at the Library of Congress. BRM A landmark historical Atlas…)