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The Hidden Histories of Maps Made By Women: Early North America

The first part in a series exploring little-seen contributions to cartography.
relates to The Hidden Histories of Maps Made By Women: Early North America
Mark Byrnes/CityLab

In the 1970s, early in her career as map librarian at the New York Public Library, Alice Hudson started researching women mapmakers throughout history. With few other women in her chosen field, she wondered how many had come before her. “I thought I might find 10,” she tells CityLab.

But over the years, as she combed through maps, censuses, newspapers, and tips from colleagues, she was amazed by how many women there were in the early days of mapmaking. By the late ‘90s, she’d found over a thousand names of women who had drawn, published, printed, engraved, sold, or traded maps prior to 1900 alone.