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November 28, 2012

1999: Mapping Boston

Posted by: Katie Heasley

Carole Horne, general manager of Harvard Book Store, reflects on Mapping Boston edited by Alex Kriegerand David Cobb for day 34 of our anniversary series:

As the buyer of MIT Press books for Harvard Book Store, I was excited when I first saw Mapping Boston in the new title catalog. The book itself lived up to my highest hopes, and has become one of my favorite books of all time—it is the book permanently displayed on the cabinet next to my shelves of books on Boston. A history of my adopted city in the maps that have depicted it over the centuries, Mapping Boston is endlessly fascinating. Old and beautiful maps, maps of New England made as early as 1624, maps showing the growth of the city as land was created from marshes, aerial photographs of Boston—the hundred or so maps are both art and information. The accompanying essays are superb. I was happy to see Sam Bass Warner’s brief historical piece; his Streetcar Suburbs was one of the first books I read about Boston. The pieces by Nancy Seasholes on topography and Alex Krieger on the built environment are gems. And James Carroll, one of my favorite writers, adds his thoughtful, sometimes provocative insights on the city and its place in the American imagination. I take great pleasure in the paradox that there is a book of maps I can get lost in for hours.

Our 50 influential journal articles are listed here. The articles are in chronological order and will be freely available through the end of 2012.

For information about the MIT Press’ history, check out our 50th anniversary page.

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