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Tuesday, October 4, 2011

A Giant Scholar at Northeastern Tells Me That My Gift of Maps Is Being Used.

Dear Graham,

I hope you are doing well, and I look forward to seeing you next Tuesday when I am in New York.  Today, we received the second paper assignment from the students in the course, a comparison exercise on the texts of Columbus and Camoes.  The first batch of papers, on Marco Polo, was the first college assignment for this class of freshmen, and even so,  some of the essays were real gems.

Today was also the first day I was able to teach the class with the full set of prints and maps hung in the classroom.  The students and I have been eager and anxious to see these for the last several weeks and it was a sublime delight to see their reactions to these tremendous pieces that dramatically brought to life the works we have been reading.  I was immediately able to give them a thorough lesson on printmaking and cartography leading up to the terrific polar projections by Floriano based on earlier work by Orontius, whom we have discussed in class.

I understand a photographer will take pictures of the classroom and class in action Wednesday when the class next meets.  While I can’t speak to the delays in hanging these great masterpieces (I know there was some difficulty getting access to the room during busy class times), it is thrilling to see them up and available for a new generation of students to learn about them close-up and in detail.

Thanks again for making this tremendous gift to our students possible!  Soon, they will be writing on the maps and botanicals and I expect to share some of their work with you.

I also understand there is a possibility of a further donation of reference books on cartography that would be a further boon to expanding the minds of our students.  Obviously, I would be eager to pursue this possibility with you and to continue making our shared dream a reality.

Yours as ever,


Georges Van Den Abbeele
Founding Dean, 
College of Social Sciences and Humanities
100 Meserve Hall
360 Huntington Avenue
Northeastern University
Boston, MA 02115

Member, European Academy of Sciences

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