Découvrez les bibliothèques de la Ville de Genève
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  • Les musées d’art et d’histoire, le Musée d’ethnographie et le Museum d’histoire naturelle, les Conservatoires et Jardin botaniques et le Fond municipal d’art contemporain proposent un accès à leur bibliothèque scientifique .
  • Site internet

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Scattered throughout a coherent universal collection, unique, hand-drawn or rare maps make it possible for researchers to document the sources of human geography.

Carte d'Amsterdam, 1877. (sans cote)© Bibliothèque de Genève

This collection allows researchers, through the examination of maps, to study how the science of geography developed in the second half of the 19th century. The maps used by Charles Perron and Élisée Reclus, along with the different versions of their preliminary work, are indeed important sources by which one can trace the different drafting stages right up to the final phase of the documents the two men produced for the edition of their Nouvelle géographie universelle.

Elisée Reclus had traveled widely and maintained special ties with figures living in certain parts of the world, and such areas were therefore especially well documented, Algeria, Russia, etc. Moreover, the presence of rare or hand-drawn maps can be explained by the fact that they were sent to Reclus and Perron by their correspondents abroad. Writing in Le Globe (Le Globe 30, 1891, pp. 162-163), Perron points out that “there are few that are bibliographic or historical curiosities, but they are generally the best modern maps we possess, which is highly valuable to practical geographers. And the worth of this collection is further heightened by the presence of a great number of original sketches and land surveys sent directly to M. Reclus.”

The collection also includes several thousand sea charts, which show the work of sailors and scientists to generate and share useful information for navigation. While the core collection put together by Perron and Reclus forms a very important set of documents, the collection also boasts a number of very fine ancient pieces (17th and 18th centuries) that illustrate the history of cartography as well as the history of our perception and political organization of the world, along with the art of illustration and engraving.

On the other hand, Swiss maps are well represented, topographical ones of course, as well as historical and thematic. The series of Dufour, Siegfried and national maps at 1:25,000 and 1:50,000 are complete, with all their separate sheets. Maps representing Geneva and its surroundings, however, are kept at the Centre d’iconographie genevoise.

Because of its proximity, the Savoy is naturally the best documented region of France, although other regions are hardly overlooked. A beautiful copy of the Cassini map is complemented by two other incomplete copies, certain sheets of which are heightened with watercolors.

Promenade des Bastions 1
1211 Genève 4

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Marianne Tsioli
T: +41 22 418 28 40