Osher Map Library and Smith Center for Cartographic Education

Matthew Edney

Osher Professor in the History of Cartography; OML Faculty Scholar

Office Location

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


(207) 780-4767

Academic Degrees

  • B.Sc. (hons.), Geography, University College London (University of London) 1983
  • M.S., Cartography, University of Wisconsin-Madison 1985
  • Ph.D., Geography, University of Wisconsin-Madison 1990


As OML Faculty Scholar, Matthew has worked since 1995 to develop the collections, to interpret them, and to help the staff and the library’s readers understand various aspects of maps and their history. Although not formally a member of the OML staff, he has worked alongside the librarians to shape and organize their activities. He founded OML’s website and has created much of its content. He has curated several OML exhibitions, and organized several academic conferences. And he has offered many guest classes on map topics to a wide variety of courses (see below for a listing).

As Osher Professor in the History of Cartography and professor of Geography, Matthew teaches courses for USM undergraduates in maps and map history.

Matthew is a prominent map historian, with an international reputation. He is currently:

  • chair of the International Society for the History of the Map;
  • president of the American Friends of the J. B. Harley Research Fellowships, Inc.;
  • trustee of the J. B. Harley Research Fellowships Trust, in the U.K.;
  • director of Imago Mundi, Ltd., also in the U.K., which publishes the main journal in the field and sponsors the biannual International Conferences on the History of Cartography; and
  • member of the International Cartographic Association’s Standing Commission on the History of Cartography.

Moreover, Matthew has since 2005 directed the History of Cartography Project at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. The Project prepares the volumes of the award-winning series, The History of Cartography. All four of the series’ published volumes (1, 2.1, 2.2, 2.3, 3, and 6) are available for free access from the publisher, the University of Chicago Press. Volume Four, Cartography in the European Enlightenment, which covers the period 1650–1800 and which Matthew coedited with Mary Pedley, is in press and will appear in print and as an e-book in late 2019.


Professional Activity

Matthew has an extensive publication record, of which he gives a full accounting on his personal website. His main works cover several arenas of interest, from official nineteenth-century surveys in the U.S. and British India, to the nature of map history as a field of study. In addition to Cartography in the European Enlightenment, his monographs are:

Cartography: The Ideal and Its History. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2019. ISBN 978-0-226-60554-8 cloth; 978-0-226-60568-5 paper; 978-0-226-60571-5 e-book.

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. ISSN 0317–7173.

Mapping an Empire: The Geographic Construction of British India, 17651843. Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press, 1997. ISBN 978-0-226-18487-6 cloth; 978-0-226-18488-3 paper; 978-0-226-18486-9 e-book.

Guest Classes Taught

The following is a sample of the courses for which I have conducted guest classes on map matters, just in the five-year period of Fall 2013 through Spring 2018:

American & New England Studies (Graduate)

Museums and Public Culture


Carved, Warped, Twisted and Burned—Exploring the Book as Art

Introduction to Printmaking: Intaglio and Relief

Community and Planning Development (Graduate)

Global Planning Issues: Megacities and Megacity Regions


Early Women Writers

Entry-Year Experience

Norse Sagas and Skalds


Human Geography.

Urban and Regional Planning


Colonial America

Research, Reference, and Writing

History of Maine

History of Women in the United States


Global Ethical Enquiry

Interdisciplinary Introduction to Logic and Mathematics


Maritime Law Seminar


Africa, Social Justice, and Exile

Political Science

1919: A Year in the Life

US Border Politics and Policy


Sociology of the Body