A New Book Of Maps Shows The Evolution Of Texas’ Shape

The Lone Star State’s contours changed over time as the territory passed from the control of one government to another.

By Joy DiazFebruary 21, 2020 12:39 pm, ,

Texas’ shape is iconic, and yet, the Lone Star State did not always look the way it does today.

Six flags have flown over Texas – and borders have changed over time, too.

John Wilson is Interim Dean of Libraries at Baylor University and the editor of a new book, “Mapping Texas: A Cartographic Journey, 1561-1860.”

Wilson has been at Baylor for over 30 years and he says that his favorite part of the job is being the director of the University’s Texas Collection. It has over 15,000 maps, primarily of Texas. The maps in the book are from the collection, and Wilson says that’s a way to showcase what Baylor owns as a University.

“I have always thought maps are intriguing because they tell a story,” Wilson says. “And storytelling, I think is one of those unique gifts that humans have of connecting with one another from generation to generation”

There are few words in the book because previous books on the subject have been more academic in nature, Wilson says. He wanted to showcase Texas visually, so he prioritized high-quality printing over lots of text.

“Texas – I think there’s something that’s bigger than life. It’s full of imagination and it’s full of potential. And I think that’s what maps convey to people. It’s the unknown,” Wilson says.

“Mapping Texas: A Cartographic Journey, 1561-1860” is published by Baylor University Press. The maps are also available for viewing on their website.


Written by Morgan Kuehler.