Matthew Edney

Professor of Geography; Osher Professor in the History of Cartography

Office Location

Osher Map Library, 112 Glickman Family Library, Portland, ME


(207) 780-4767

Academic Degrees

  • Ph.D., Geography, University of Wisconsin-Madison
  • M.S., Cartography, University of Wisconsin-Madison
  • B.S. (hons.), Geography, University College London (University of London)


Matthew Edney was born and raised in southwest London, England. He came to the USA in the fall of 1983 and has lived here ever since. He taught at SUNY-Binghamton from 1990 to 1995. He then moved to USM to teach both Geography-Anthropology and American & New England Studies (the ANES program was eliminated in December 2014), and to be the “faculty scholar” in the Osher Map Library and Smith Center for Cartographic Education. He became the Osher Professor in the History of Cartography in 2007.

 In 2005, Matthew also became director of the History of Cartography Project at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he is also a visiting professor of geography.


Courses Taught:

GEO 170: Global History: Mapping the World Across Cultures

GEO 270: Mapping Environments and People: The History of Information Graphics

GEO 370: Maps, Territory, Power

  • Also: independent studies and internships within the Osher Map Library and Smith Center for Cartographic Education
  • Also: many guest classes in other courses!

Research Interests

I am generally interested in all things cartographic, but especially map history. I am currently engaged in three principal research projects. First, I'm working on the colonial mapping of New England and of North America more generally. Second, I co-edit *Cartography in the European Enlightenment*, Volume 4 of *The History of Cartography*, 6 volumes in 12 books. Third, I have been working on a number of issues surrounding how map historians have thought about their subject, about the formation of the “modern cartographic ideal” (the body of concepts and presumptions that govern how people think about maps and mapping), and an alternative theoretical approach to understanding the processes underpinning the many modes of mapping.

Recent Publications

Edney, Matthew H. “Hugh, Earl Percy Remakes His Map of New England.” Portolan, no. 84 (2012): 27-37.

Edney, Matthew H. “Plus ça change: Defining Academic Cartography for the Twenty-First Century.” Cartographica 47, no. 1 (2012): 64-69.

Edney, Matthew H. “Cartography's 'Scientific Reformation' and the Study of Topographical Mapping in the Modern Era.” In History of Cartography: International Symposium of the ICA Commission, 2010, ed. Elri Liebenberg and Imre Josef Demhardt, 287-303. Heidelberg: Springer for the International Cartographic Association, 2012.

Edney, Matthew H. “Field / Map: An Historiographic Review and Reconsideration.” In Scientists and Scholars in the Field: Studies in the History of Fieldwork and Expeditions, ed. Kristian H. Nielsen, Michael Harbsmeier, and Christopher J. Ries, 431-56. Aarhus: Aarhus University Press, 2012.

Edney, Matthew H. “Competition over Land, Competition over Empire: Public Discourse and Printed Maps of the Kennebec River, 1753-1755.” In Early American Cartographies, ed. Martin Brückner, 276-305. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press for the Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture, 2011.

Edney, Matthew H. “Knowledge and Cartography in the Early Atlantic.” In The Oxford Handbook of the Atlantic World, 1450-1850, ed. Nicholas Canny and Philip Morgan, 87-112. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011.

Edney, Matthew H. “Progress and the Nature of ‘Cartography.’” In Classics in Cartography: Reflections on Influential Articles from Cartographica, ed. Martin Dodge, 331-42. Hoboken, N.J.: Wiley-Blackwell, 2011.

Edney, Matthew H. “A Cautionary Historiography of ‘John Smith’s New England.’” Cartographica 46, no. 1 (2011): 1-27.

Edney, Matthew H. “Simon de Passe’s Cartographic Portrait of Captain John Smith and a New England (1616/7).” Word & Image 26 (2010): 186-213.

Edney, Matthew H. “The Anglophone Toponyms Associated with John Smith’s Description and Map of New England.” Names: A Journal of Onomastics 57, no. 4 (2009): 189-207.

Edney, Matthew H. “The Irony of Imperial Mapping.” In The Imperial Map: Cartography and the Mastery of Empire, ed. James R. Akerman, 11-45. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2009.

Edney, Matthew H. “John Mitchell’s Map of North America (1755): A Study of the Use and Publication of Official Maps in Eighteenth-Century Britain.” Imago Mundi 60, no. 1 (2008): 63-85.

Edney, Matthew H. “Mapping Parts of the World.” In Maps: Finding Our Place in the World, ed. James R. Akerman and Robert W. Karrow, Jr.,117-57. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2007.

Edney, Matthew H. “A Publishing History of John Mitchell’s 1755 Map of North America.” Cartographic Perspectives, no. 58 (2007): 4-27 and 71-75.

Edney, Matthew H. The Origins and Development of J. B. Harley’s Cartographic Theories. Cartographica Monograph, 54; Cartographica 40, nos. 1 & 2. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2005.

Edney, Matthew H. “Putting ‘Cartography’ into the History of Cartography: Arthur H. Robinson, David Woodward, and the Creation of a
Discipline.” Cartographic Perspectives, no. 51 (2005): 14-29. Reprinted with corrections in A Reader in Critical Geographies, ed. Salvatore Engel-Di Mauro and Harald Bauder (Praxis (e)Press «», 2008), 711–28.

Edney, Matthew H., and Susan Cimburek. "Telling the Traumatic Truth: William Hubbard's Narrative of King Philip's War and his Map of New-England (1677)." William & Mary Quarterly 3s 61, no. 2 (2004): 317-48.

“Discourse, Process, and Map History.” In The Routledge Handbook of Mapping and Cartography, edited by Alexander J. Kent and Peter Vujakovic, chapter 5. London: Routledge, scheduled for publication in 2016.

“Mapping, Survey, and Science.” In The Routledge Handbook of Mapping and Cartography, edited by Alexander J. Kent and Peter Vujakovic, chapter 12. London: Routledge, scheduled for publication in 2016.

“The Rise of Systematic, Territorial Surveys.” In The Routledge Handbook of Mapping and Cartography, edited by Alexander J. Kent and Peter Vujakovic, chapter 13. London: Routledge, scheduled for publication in 2016.

Contributions to Cartography in the Twentieth Century, edited by Mark Monmonier. Volume 6 of The History of Cartography. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2015. Specifically: “Harley, J(ohn) Brian” (577–79); “Histories of Cartography” (607–14); “History of Cartography Project” (614–16); “Modes of Cartographic Practice” (978–80); and “Woodward, David” (1761–64).