A Gathering of Continents - A Rare Exhibit of Georgia Tech's Editions of Joan Blaeu's Grooten Atlas

Exhibition Dates: 
February 27 to June 26, 2015

Georgia Tech’s Price Gilbert Memorial Library and the Robert C. Williams Museum of Papermaking proudly exhibit Joan Blaeu’s Grooten Atlas from February 27 to June 26, 2015. Also called the Atlas major, the atlas was published in Amsterdam between 1662-1665. Blaeu’s nine volume atlas remains the foremost European Atlas published in the seventeenth century. These works are familiar to some faculty and students, but the larger community has been unaware that Georgia Tech has these treasures in the rare book collection. This particular edition is one of the few remaining hand-colored, gold-embossed deluxe editions of the Atlas, bound in Moroccan leather. Original volumes of the Atlas will be on exhibit along with reproductions of select maps from the collection.

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. The Robert C. Williams Museum of Papermaking map of Virginia and Florida will also be featured in the exhibit.

Explore how the Grooten Atlas came to be produced in 1660s Amsterdam, the culmination of years of research, the development of papermaking and printmaking, and the establishment of the art of map making. Joan Blaeu, a second-generation mapmaker, celebrates the work of Tycho Brahe, mentor to Blaeu’s father. Brahe’s study of astronomy and contributions to celestial navigation provide a solid foundation to the development of the Atlases.

Considered together, the Blaeu’s Grooten Atlas provides important examples of evolving cartographic technologies and rich material exploring the idea of Europe after the Thirty Years War.