National Geographic : 1929 Dec
THE SOCIETY'S NEW MAP OF EUROPE BY GILBERT GROSVENOR, LL. D., LITT. D. President of the National Geographic Society ANEW Map of Europe in 46 lan guages-such is the supplement which comes to the members of the National Geographic Society with this December issue of their Magazine. It is the first wall map published in the United States which shows in any considerable detail, and with consistency throughout, the geographical place names of the many nations of Europe and the Near East, spelled according to their local official forms. It represents more than three years of work in compilation, selection of names, drafting, engraving and print ing, and, including the cost of its distribu tion to each of The Society's 1,300,000 members, an expenditure of more than $200,000. Immediately following the signing of peace treaties, which established new na tional boundaries in Europe after the World War, the National Geographic So ciety issued to its members a new map of Europe as a supplement with the NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC MAGAZINE for February, 1921. In the ensuing nine years one of the most notable changes that has taken place in Europe has been the de velopment and intensification of national feeling with respect to geographical place names. The Polish people, for example, insist that their capital be recognized by their own name for that ancient city-War szawa, not an Anglicized Warsaw; the Estonians demand Tallinn, not the pre war nomenclature, Reval, for their chief city; the Russians have supplanted St. Pe tersburg and Petrograd with Leningrad. And so, over the whole face of Europe, new forms for old, or, more properly in many cases, older forms for old, have been established on the official maps of each nation. THE NEW MAP WILL PROVE A BOON TO TRAVELERS Doubtless many thousands of our read ers, when traveling in Europe, have found difficulty in identifying the names of towns as spelled in the railway time-tables, or at the railway stations, with the places on the American or English maps which they were carrying. But this embarrass ment will not occur when using the Na tional Geographic Society's New Map of Europe, as our spelling of place names accords with local usage. Every person expects others to spell his or her name as he or she spells it, wherever he or she may happen to be. Courtesy and custom will soon require that when we write to our friends in Eu rope we spell the names of their cities as these names are spelled at home. The National Geographic Society has 50,000 members in Europe. Communica tions coming to these members from the National Geographic Society addressed to Rome (Roma), Venice (Venezia), etc., would probably seem to them as illiterate as we regard letters coming to us ad dressed to Nuova York, Filadelfia, Salz seestadt (Salt Lake City), or Waszyng ton, which is the manner the names of a few of our cities are spelled in some Eu ropean gazetteers. MANY MAP NAMES UNFAMILIAR TO AMERICANS Foreseeing the ultimate desirability of according to each nation recognition of its own approved geographic names within its boundaries, the National Geographic Society three years ago began to assemble the data for and to construct the present New Map of Europe. Some months after The Society's cartographic department had begun its work, the United States Geo graphic Board officially adopted the gen eral principles of nomenclature upon which this map was then being constructed. Many of the names on our map will have an unfamiliar appearance to the aver age user, and yet these are the place names to which letters should be addressed; they are the names which the traveler abroad will find on his time-tables of the various countries; and they are the names which will greet his eye as his train or boat or airplane passes station, dock, or landing field.