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Harley Fellowships

The J B Harley Research Trust

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             Establishing the fellowships

The J.B. Harley Fellowships were set up in London in 1992 in memory of Brian Harley (1932-91). Prof. Harley was founding co-editor of the History of Cartography Project and the leading theoretical thinker in the field. For an obituary and a bibliography of his writings relating to the history of cartography see Imago Mundi: the International Journal for the History of Cartography 44 (1992): 120-125.

The Harley Fellowships are prestigious as the only ones of their kind in Europe. Applications are invited from anyone pursuing advanced research in the history of cartography, irrespective of nationality, discipline or profession, who wishes to work in London and other parts of the United Kingdom. While independent of them, the fellowships are run in association with the four institutions in the London area that, together, hold the greatest number of early maps, namely: British Library, The National Archives (formerly Public Record Office), National Maritime Museum, and Royal Geographical Society.

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             J B Harley

J B Harley was a giant among late twentieth-century historians of cartography. His early research at the University of Birmingham was in historical geography, and it was from this that he developed his interest in maps, map-making and the cultural significance of maps. He taught first at the University of Liverpool and then at the University of Exeter. Hardworking and meticulous, he was also imaginative and could at times be deliberately provocative. Furthermore, he was an outstanding communicator. Brian Harley's approximately one hundred and fifty publications embraced many aspects of the mapping of Britain and the Americas, as well as a series of seminal methodological and epistemological papers. As an editor he was responsible for facsimile editions of several atlases and map series. With David Woodward, he conceived, guided and edited the first two volumes of The History of Cartography.

His publications will continue to be influential for many decades but, during his life, Brian Harley's impact was equally strong at the inter-personal level. He shared information and ideas with more than thirty co-authors, in the course of which he communicated to others something of his own elegant style. His international network of correspondents was enormous. Especially in the latter part of his career, at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, he encouraged and guided graduate students from several parts of the world. At this stage he was much in demand as a guest lecturer and he used his oratorical skills unstintingly to promote to all kinds of audiences the field to which he had devoted his life. He died when his career was still in its ascendancy. These memorial Research Fellowships are intended to assist others to develop further the field to which Brian Harley contributed so much and was influential in reshaping.

Click here to access a small booklet produced in celebration of Harley’s life and contribution to the history of cartography, by his friends and colleagues in 1992. Please refer to current information on these webpages to donate to the Trust or to apply for a Fellowship [this was mounted on the site in February 2017].

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  • Sarah Harley (Milwaukee)


  • Dr Elizabeth Baigent (University of Oxford)
  • Peter Barber (formerly: The British Library)
  • Dr Sarah Bendall (University of Cambridge) - Hon. Treasurer
  • Professor Felix Driver (University of London)
  • Professor Matthew Edney (History of Cartography Project, Madison)
  • Tom Harper (The British Library) - Hon. Secretary
  • Professor Paul Harvey (University of Durham)
  • Professor Mike Heffernan (University of Nottingham)
  • Professor Roger Kain (University of Exeter)
  • Dr Alexander J. Kent (Canterbury Christ Church University)
  • Dr Carla Lois (CONICET - Universidad de Buenos Aires)
  • Nick Millea (Bodleian Libraries, University of Oxford)
  • Rose Mitchell (The National Archives)
  • Sarah Tyacke (formerly: The National Archives) - Chairman

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              Donations to the Trust Fund

The more the fund grows, the greater the number and size of the awards that can be made. Anyone wishing to make a donation should contact, please, the Hon. Treasurer, Dr Sarah Bendall, via email: sarah.bendall(at) emma.cam.ac.uk [replacing (at) with the @ symbol] - to arrange for the most convenient way to give money. Donations can also be made online.

For those in the USA it is possible to make tax deductible donations to The American Friends of the J.B. Harley Research Fellowships, Inc., 214 Main Street, Freeport, ME 04032-1412.

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              Contact details

NB. Email is preferred:

rose.mitchell(at)nationalarchives.gov.uk [NB. You need to replace (at) with the @ symbol]

Rose Mitchell
Hon. Sec. J.B. Harley Fellowships
Map Archivist
Advice and Records Knowledge Department
The National Archives
Richmond, Surrey TW9 4DU

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