A Guide to Archives and Manuscript Collections

in the Special Collections Division at The University of Texas at Arlington Libraries

The following is a summary of the materials on deposit at The University of Texas at Arlington, Special Collections.  The Society currently has seven (7) separate entries. A description of each entry has been retained, but duplicate information on the background of the Society has been removed.

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Throughout time, humans have ventured over the hill, beyond their own territories.  Wherever such journeys of exploration have taken us, we have learned about ourselves while interacting with others and sharing our ideas, history, and culture.  The Society for the History of Discoveries celebrates the geographic discoveries and cross-cultural interactions that result from travel around the globe and the exploration and mapping of Earth’s land and sea surfaces from earliest times to the present.

Geographic discovery is about more than the moment of discovery.  It is about theoretical geography put into practice; it is about bankrolling expeditions, whether through the investment of wealthy widows, old age pensions, financiers, or governments; it is about maps and mapmakers; it is about diplomats, missionaries, explorers, scalawags and pirates, naturalists, and merchant-adventurers.  Geographic discovery is about people broadening their horizons, encountering one another for the first time, struggling to understand a foreign culture, and braving the unknown in search of a new destiny.

The Society for the History of Discoveries was formed to stimulate interest in teaching, research, and publishing the history of geographical exploration.  Founded in 1960, the Society’s membership includes faculty and graduate students from a variety of academic disciplines as well as curators, archivists and librarians; non-affiliated or independent scholars; and laypersons who share their interests.

Our members study a wide range of fields of enquiry:  history, literature, language, geography, biography, ethnography, cultural studies, cartography, geology, astronomy, archaeology, bibliography, and maritime studies, among others.  We are interested in the processes and technologies used to undertake voyages of exploration, as well as the impact—contemporary and future—of the cultural exchanges and interactions that ensued, and how we study and document them.  A glance at some of the past issues of our journal, Terrae Incognitae, will provide a sense of the broad scope of our interests.

The Society for the History of Discoveries is a 501(c)(3) corporation, registered in the State of Minnesota, that is exempt from taxes under Title 26 of the United States Code.  Its registered address is 1402 50th Avenue North, Minneapolis, MN  55430.


Society for the History of Discoveries Records, 1960-1991; 15 boxes (7.5 linear ft.)

The Society for the History of Discoveries was organized in 1960 for the purpose of stimulating interest in teaching, research, and publishing in the history of geographical exploration.  Members include historians, geographers, and lay people with an interest in history, geography, and exploration. The society publishes Terrae Incognitae, an annual collection of research papers and book reviews on the topics of geographic discoveries; geographic exploration; and the techniques, impact, and literature of discoveries.  Annual meetings are held in the fall when papers by members are presented on subjects related to their areas of interest and expertise.

Correspondence, constitution and articles of incorporation, annual reports, financial records, newsletters, programs, annual and council meeting records, bibliographies, book reviews, and manuscripts.  The Society for the History of Discoveries records were compiled and created by the officers and secretaries of the society and were maintained by secretary-treasurers Barbara McCorkle and Eric W. Wolf.  Correspondence is between officers and members regarding membership, dues, individuals, meetings, paper proposals, abstracts of papers presented at meetings, business and council meetings, and information related to the publication of the society’s journal, Terrae Incognitae.

The University of Texas at Arlington, Special Collections Division is the official depository for the society’s records. Deposit, 1992.
Finding aid available.

Society for the History of Discoveries Records, 1962-1995, bulk 1991-1994 4 boxes (1.8 linear ft.)

Correspondence, 1984-1994; membership brochures, forms and lists, 1973-1994; election ballots, 1992-1995; annual meetings programs, registrant lists, papers, and abstracts, 1962-1995; tax records, 1984-1994; and ledgers, 1962-1992.  The records of the society were combined from two sources: Eric Wolf, Secretary-Treasurer, 1991-1995, and Dennis Reinhartz, vice-president and president, 1993-1995. The bulk of the material is the correspondence and membership information received from Wolf and Reinhartz for the years 1991 to 1994.  Correspondence topics include society business, membership concerns, the Vigneras Papers, and the society’s essay contest. Of particular significance are photocopies of the 1961 files of Wilcomb E. Washburn, president of the organization from 1963 to 1964, which document the first year of the organization’s history.  The president’s files also include correspondence concerning Society of the History of Discoveries by-laws, proposals concerning joint sessions between the society and other organizations, proposed articles of association, a proposal for the University of Texas at Arlington to sponsor the society’s journal, papers submitted for the essay contest, and papers by Douglas Peck and Keith Pickering.
Deposit, 1995, 1996.
Finding aid available.

Society for the History of Discoveries Records, 1973-1997; 1 box (0.33 linear ft.)

Correspondence, meeting programs, newsletters, annual reports, membership lists, typescripts, lists of papers and panels presented, 1962-1994, meeting files, and printed materials.  These are the papers of Louis De Vorsey, Professor Emeritus of Geography, University of Georgia, which relate to his activities in the society as an officer, member, and presenter. He was vice president and president, 1981-1983.
Deposit, 1997.

Society for the History of Discoveries Records, August 1998; 1 box (3 items)

Faxes with memos and drawings. The materials describe the work done by Hinckle & Son, San Francisco, to create a logotype, stationery system, and tie design for the society. Memos include costs and sketches in black and white and color. The materials were faxed to Dennis Reinhartz, a member of the society.
Deposit, 1998.

Society for the History of Discoveries Records, 1995-2000; 1 folder (1 inch)

Correspondence, programs, membership lists, conference papers, and treasurer’s reports.  These records of the Society for the History of Discoveries are from the files of past president, Dennis Reinhartz.  The records include programs and program announcements, correspondence regarding the design of a tie with a map illustration later sold by the society, conference registration materials, and a copy of some conference papers.  Many of the records in this accession overlap the dates of materials previously donated that have been processed. Consult both processed and unprocessed collections of the Society for the History of Discoveries.
Gift, 2000.

Society for the History of Discoveries Records, 1961-1999, bulk 1991-1997; 2 boxes (2 linear ft.)

Correspondence, financial documents, and printed material.  These are the records of secretary-treasurers of the society, Eric Wolf and Russell Magnaghi, 1991-1999.  They include scattered records from the early 1960s through the 1980s. The bulk of the materials include correspondence, membership lists and records, newsletters, annual reports, ballots, constitutions and bylaws, brochures, Terrae Incognitae files, treasurer’s reports, and conference files.  A notebook contains programs, reports, newsletters, and other early examples of materials generated by the society, 1961-1971.
Gift, 2000.

Society for the History of Discoveries Records, 1991-2001; 1 box (1 linear ft.)

Correspondence, newsletters, ballots, reports, minutes, membership forms and lists, financial records, and a book.  These are the records of the society from secretary-treasurer, Russell Magnaghi. The records include minutes of council meetings, member information, and documents related to elections and planning annual meetings.  The book is a compilation of technical essays by James E. Kelley, Jr., On Old Nautical Charts and Sailing Directions, published in 1999.  Financial documents, 1991-1997, are from the previous secretary, Eric Wolf.
Deposit, 2001.

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