The Atlas Room

I worked in the atlas room of the library’s Map Collection, cataloging and shelving atlases. It was a room not much bigger than an average living room, with high bookshelves on all sides, filled with mostly oversized books, a couple of work tables, and no windows as far as I recall.

The work load was light, so I had time to peruse the collection. The one that stuck with me for its quirky specialization was “A Linguistic Atlas of Texas German.” It noted a regional division among German speakers in Texas between those who used English “veranda” and those who used “porch.”

The curator of the collection was Alexander Vietor, a distinguished authority in the field. My contact with him was infrequent, as his office was elsewhere, but on my departure, he kindly presented to me a limited-edition reproduction of a rare 1675 map of New England from Yale’s collection. I still have it on a wall in our house.

David Monk