The Palmerlee Map Collection

In the 1950's Tom Smith of the Geography Department began building a distinctive map collection in a special map library in Lindley Hall. He saw the UCR-KU exchange program as an opportunity to expand our map holdings. In 1960, Al Palmerlee began the compilation of a map bibliography of Costa Rica while he was a KU exchange student there for a year, and attempted to acquire all available maps for the KU map library. Upon return he checked his listings against those of the Map Division of the Library of Congress and the American Geographical Society. Geographers Tom Smith, John Augelli, and Bob Nunley encouraged Al to return to Costa Rica in 1962 under a grant from the Endowment Association for further checking and investigation. Based on his work with the above groups, plus the work with Jorge Lines (whose private collection was later added to the KU library) and the published works of Dobles Segreda, and the additional cooperation of Carlos Meléndez and Rafaél Obregón of UCR, José Fabio Góngora of the Compañía Bananera, and Federico Gutierrez Braun and Mario Barrantes of the Instituto Geográfico, Al published, in 1965, Maps of Costa Rica: An Annotated Cartobibliography through the University of Kansas Libraries. It remains one of the milestones of map bibliographies, and the collection it helped build is one of the most complete and best organized collections of maps on Costa Rica in existance. Indeed the new map library on level one of Anshutz is widely recognized as one of the few "world class" map libraries in existance.