New exhibit at Washington County Free Public Library displays maps of region from Revolutionary War era

HAGERSTOWN, Md. (DC News Now) — For history buffs, this is an exciting time to pay a visit to the Washington County Free Public Library in Hagerstown.

A new cartography exhibit, which makes an impactful connection with history, opened over the weekend and revisits Maryland history from the Revolutionary War era.

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Retired Maryland state archivist, Ed Papenfuse, said John Adams relied heavily on maps to defend the American colonies’ fight for independence.

“Adams was always providing maps,” Papenfuse said. “Being able to figure out where the theatres of war were going to be.”

Papenfuse explained how dependent Adams and the Founding Fathers were on these maps.

“[The Revolutionary Army] had to map its roads and if it didn’t do so, it was going to be in deep trouble,” Papenfuse said. “He was really involved in the whole effort to get really good maps of the country.”

The exhibit also includes maps donated by Ira Laurie, who started his own collection of historic maps at his Georgetown home in the 1970’s.

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He explains that each details a rich history of the region.

“These maps give a real understanding of how Maryland developed as a state, where people came from, how they saw themselves, how they saw their world,” Laurie said. “There are lots of stories in these maps.”

There are a total of 190 maps and atlases that make up the collection which are on display at the library.

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