Dear Colleague:

On behalf of the Washington (D.C.) Map Society, I am seeking your help in publicizing the 2018 Ristow Prize competition, named in honor of the late Walter W. Ristow, former chief of the Geography and Map Division of the Library of Congress and co-founder of the Washington Map Society.

The Ristow Prize encourages young scholars in the field of the history of cartography by recognizing outstanding papers. The competition is open to full- or part-time undergraduate, graduate and first-year post-doctoral students attending accredited colleges and universities anywhere in the world. The winner of the best paper submitted will receive a cash award of $1000, a one-year membership in the Washington Map Society, and publication of the work in The Portolan, the Society’s journal.

The field of the history of cartography is devoted to the study of maps in their historical context. Scholars in the fields of geography, history, art history, and literature have contributed to a deeper understanding of the map as historical document, artifact, image, and vehicle of communication, which can reveal much to us about the society and period in which it was made.

Enclosed please find a flier, which I ask you to post on your office bulletin board. Several outstanding scholars in the field of the history of cartography got their start by winning or receiving Honorable Mention in the Ristow Prize competition. Please encourage your students to think of submitting a paper. Submissions are due June 1, 2018.

The winner of the 2017 Ristow Prize is Lauren Killingsworth of Stanford University for her paper, “Mapping Public Health in 19th Century Oxford.” Honorable Mention was awarded to Koca Mehmet Kentel of the University of Washington for his essay, “Navigating the British Empire through Geographical Board Games in the 19th Century.”

Comprehensive information, including a list of prior winners of the Prize, may be found on the Washington Map Society’s website at Additional questions can be addressed to me at

Sincerely yours,

Evelyn Edson, Chair, The 2018 Ristow Prize

268 Springtree Lane

Scottsville, VA 24590, U.S.A.