I’m excited to announce that GSU Magazine has done a feature story on my work on the OSS and mapping.
The story covers the work I’ve been doing in the National Archives on the OSS and its Map Division, which was headed by the cartographer and geographer Arthur (“Robbie”) Robinson. Personnel records of the OSS were only declassified 2 years ago. The OSS was the first coordinated intelligence agency of the United States and was headed by WWI army colonel Wild Bill Donovan. Donovan once said that “the ideal OSS operative is a PhD who can win a bar fight”!
Robinson was a PhD candidate at the time, as he was hired away for wartime service. He became a Major while at OSS, and afterwards went on University of Madison-Wisconsin. His Division produced some 3,000 maps during the war, not to mention assembling the biggest ever mapping intelligence library of 2.5 million maps. He was President of both The International Cartographic Association and the Association of American Geographers (1963).
When I went to have my picture taken (above), the photographer suggested the map area of the library, naturally enough, and posed me with rolls of maps they asked me to bring. What I realised when I got there was that when the remodeling of that floor had been done recently they’d printed a huge world map on the wall…of a Robinson projection! Great serendipity.