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   In Memoria:  Richard Melvin

In Memoria:  Donald W. Perkins 1931-2021

Donald Wyndom Perkins was an active and dedicated member of the Society for the History of Discoveries, serving as treasurer from 2008 to 2014.  He passed away on January 11, 2021.  Washington Post Obituary   

In Memoria: Norman J. Thrower 1919-2020

Norman J. Thrower had a profound impact on the study of geography and cartography, receiving multiple awards over the years, including:  Fellow of the Society for the History of Discoveries (2002), the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Association of American Geographers (1998), the Helen Wallis Award from the International Map Collector’s Society (1997), and the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Fellowship (1962).  In 1993, he received the Cross First Class of the Orden del Merito Civil from H. M. King Juan Carlos of Spain.

Norman joined the geography faculty at UCLA in 1957, serving there until his retirement.  During that time, he authored, co-authored, and edited eleven books and over 150 other contributions on cartography and geographical discoveries.  He also chaired ten doctoral and seventeen MA committees.  Several of his students have gone on to build distinguished careers in their chosen fields.

Of the many books he has written, perhaps his best know is Maps and Man (1972), enlarged as Maps and Civilization:  Cartography in Culture and Society (1996), published by the University of Chicago Press, and since 1999 in its second edition.  It is considered to be the premier one-volume history of cartography.  His other major academic contributions include The Complete Plattmaker:  Essays on Chart, Map, and Globe Making in England in the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries (1978); The Three Voyages of Edmond Halley in the ‘Paramore’, 1698-1701 (Hakluyt Society, 1981); Sir Francis Drake and the Famous Voyages, 1577-1580 (1984); A Leaf from the 1619 French Edition of the Mercator-Hondius World Atlas (1985); Standing on the Shoulders of Giants:  A Longer View of Newton and Halley (1990); and A Buccaneer’s Atlas:  Basil Ringrose’s South Seas Waggoner (with Derek Howse, 1992).  Additionally, he served as SHD president and on the council for a number of years.  For more information on Norman Thrower’s outstanding career and contributions, please visit the SHD Fellows page for a short biography.

In Memoria: Roy Bridges

Roy C. Bridges was a longtime member of SHD whose academic work focused on British institutions and personnel in East Africa in the mid-nineteenth century.  He authored numerous publications, served with distinction as President of the Hakluyt Society, and was a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society and the Royal Historical Society.  He will be greatly missed. An obituary for Professor Bridges prepared by the Hakluyt society. 

In Memoria: Rand Burnette

August 10, 1936 – March 3, 2020

SHD Life Member Rand Burnette died on March 3, 2020, in Jacksonville, Illinois, at age 83.  In the Winter 2008 issue (#73) of The Portolan, he provided the following member spotlight:

RAND BURNETTE:  Cartographic Interests: the history of cartography and especially the career of Thomas Hutchins (1730-1789).  Academic Background:  A.B., Wabash College; M.S., University of Wisconsin, Madison; and Ph.D. Indiana University all in history.  I am trained as an early American historian, but taught history courses covering a broad range of subjects for forty years at Carthage College and MacMurray College, where I am a Professor Emeritus.  I am a life member of AHA, OAH, and SHD and I belong to WMS (ten years), Chicago Map Society, Hakluyt Society and IMCoS.  I have collected books and materials on the history of cartography and Thomas Hutchins over the past 25 years.  I did a term paper on the history of cartography my senior year in high school, but I never had a geography course.  Then I attended David Woodward’s NEH Summer Institute on the History of Cartography at the Newberry Library in 1980.  Ten years later I taught my first course in the History of Cartography and continued to teach it until I retired in 2002.

Rand continued to pursue his academic interests after retirement, reading academic publications (especially in cartography), and publishing numerous book reviews in scholarly journals.
Read Rand’s obituary at

Rand’s wife Patricia died on May 14, 2020, 72 days after Rand’s death.  See her obituary at

In Memoria: Kenneth Nebenzahl

On January 29, 2020, SHD lost a beloved member, Kenneth Nebenzahl. He passed away peacefully in his home at the age of 92. He was the author of numerous books, including Maps of the Holy LandsThe Atlas of Columbus and the Great Discoveries and Mapping the Silk Road and Beyond: 2,000 Years of Exploring the East. Kenneth and Jossy Nebenzahl founded The Kenneth Nebenzahl, Jr., Lectures in the History of Cartography in 1966 at the Newberry Library in Chicago, Illinois, named after his predeceased son. The lecture series brought together map enthusiasts from around the world and recently celebrated its 20th series.

Celebration of Kenneth’s Life and Achievements will be held on Saturday, March 14, 2020, from 12:00 PM- 01:00 PM at the Newberry Library, 60 W Walton St, Chicago, Illinois 60610.

Kenneth Nebenzahl’s obituary, posted by the Chicago Tribune, can be find here:

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