Who did this research?
Hi! I’m Daniella Snyder, a rising junior at Gettysburg College originally from Northumberland, Pennsylvania. As a Mellon Summer Scholar, I spent the summer of 2016 researching the Blaeu family and a map of the world by Willem Janszoon Blaeu in the college’s Special Collections. I am an Art History and English double major. On campus, I work as a resident assistant, a tour guide, an office assistant in the Women’s and LGBTQA Resource Center, and the editor-in-chief of the campus newspaper, The Gettysburgian.
I fell in love with art history long before I moved into Gettysburg. My mom, an art history minor in college, took me to every art museum possible growing up. So, when I began selecting classes for my first semester of my undergraduate career, I registered for a class titled, “Art, Money, and Power: Art History of Renaissance Florence”. Following that semester, I took two more art history classes before my research began: a survey class on Western Art History, as well as a class titled “Twentieth Century European Painting”. Still inspired from her first art history class, however, I will be spending a semester abroad in Florence, Italy in the fall of 2016.
While none of these art historical experiences directly cover seventeenth century Dutch cartography, I love learning and telling the stories behind any type of art. The stories surrounding the Blaeu dynasty and the Golden Age of Dutch Cartography are rich with discovery and untold narratives and I cannot wait to share them with the rest of the world.
What does it mean to be a Mellon Summer Scholar?
The Mellon Scholar Program at Gettysburg College offers generous grants to ten undergraduate students to participate in faculty-mentored student research projects. Preference is given to the arts, humanities, and any project interdisciplinary by nature. With ten weeks of research, students are expected to complete their project and implement a digital way of showcasing their research. Students write blog posts to journal their time researching, and participate in discussions at luncheons with the other scholars throughout the summer. All of the scholars spend the entire summer in the same apartment, to provide them with a living learning community.
What did you do in ten whole weeks of research?
While I originally thought ten weeks was a long time to do research, I was wrong. My summer practically flew by! I met with my faculty mentor Dr. Felicia Else about two times a week, had meetings in Special Collections & College Archives, and attended digital scholarship workshops to learn the basics of WordPress, StoryMap, and Sites. The rest of my days were spent reading and finding sources, creating a website, and compiling my research together into this one site. One unexpected component to my research was that there was no prior art historical research on this specific map. While there is countless information about Blaeu and his legacy, as well as Dutch cartography, the Dutch print sources for the images around the frame of the world map were only found by chance! It felt pretty incredible to know that the research I was doing was entirely original.
One day, I got to sit down with Gettysburg alum Joshua Poorman who had written a paper about a Blaeu map during his time here on campus. Together we got to look and discuss the map I researched, as well as the map he researched. To see Joshua’s paper in Gettysburg’s Cupola, click here. To see his feature “The Gettysburg Cabinet” exhibit in the Schmucker Art Gallery, click here.
I spent two days in Chestnut Hill, Philadelphia at the Philadelphia Print Shop with a print appraiser, collector, and dealer named Don Cresswell. Don appraised the Stuckenberg Map Collection in the Musselman Library, but he also spent 11 years as an appraiser on Antiques Road Show.
Don offered me numerous sources from his large collection of map books. While I was there, he let me touch a $40,000 from the sixteenth-century.
I definitely nerded-out about it.
This summer of research gave me an unforgettable experience. Not only did I gain so much knowledge from this process, I got to uncover and tell a story that had never been told before. I found a new and unique interest, learned invaluable skills, and found a love for interdisciplinary research. I wish I could do it all again!
Many thanks to Robin Wagner for her initial enthusiasm about the project, Carolyn Sautter, Molly Reynolds, and Melanie Fernandes in Special Collections for their unwavering wisdom and assistance, Dean Forrestal for inspiring students to apply for the Mellon Summer Grant, Mallory Jallas for her insane citation and research knowledge, Paula Baer for always being a friendly face, and R.C. Miessler for being a Tech God. Special shoutout to Dr. Felicia Else, who has constantly inspired me to think differently about art since my first day of college and has led me through an incredible ten-week long research project.
A special thank you to my Mom, Nana, and PopPop. Love you always.