John George Bartholomew

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John G. Bartholomew (1860-1920)

Cartographer and Geographer

John George Bartholomew or J.G. Bartholomew (22 March 1860 - 14 April 1920) was a Scottish cartographer and geographer. As a holder of a royal warrant, he used the title "Cartographer to the King"; for this reason he was sometimes known by the epithet "the Prince of Cartography".

Bartholomew came from a celebrated line of map-makers: he was the son of John Bartholomew Junior, and the grandson of the founder of John Bartholomew and Son Ltd.

Under his administration the family business became one of the top operations in its field. Bartholomew himself was not merely a specialist in production, but also a talented geographer and cartographer. It was he who introduced the use of colored contour layer maps; he also anticipated the needs of late nineteenth and early twentieth century travelers by publishing street maps of major cities, cycling maps, railway timetable maps, and road maps for automobiles. He collaborated with major scientific figures and travellers of the period on projects involving their studies. Bartholomew's Atlas of Meteorology and Atlas of Zoogeography were issues from a planned five-volume series that was never finished. Before he died he was able to plan out the first edition of the Times Survey Atlas of the World; this and its succeeding editions represent the most successful atlas project of the twentieth century.

He handed the reins of the business on to his son John (Ian) Bartholomew (1890-1962).


  • 1860: born in Edinburgh on 22 March
  • 1880: begins work for his father in the family's map-making business
  • 1884: co-founder of the Royal Scottish Geographical Society
  • 1884-1920: honorary secretary, Royal Scottish Geographical Society
  • 1887: elected to the Royal Society of Edinburgh
  • 1888: succeeds his father in the family business
  • 1888: elected to the Royal Geographical Society of London
  • 1892: secretary, Section E, British Association for the Advancement of Science
  • 1895: publishes his Survey Atlas of Scotland
  • 1899: publishes his Atlas of Meteorology
  • 1903: publishes his Survey Atlas of England and Wales
  • 1905: receives the Victoria Research Gold Medal from the Royal Geographic Society
  • 1909-1912: council member, Royal Society of Edinburgh
  • 1910: appointed Cartographer Royal by King George V
  • 1911: publishes his Atlas of Zoogeography
  • 1918: receives the Helen Carver medal from the Geographical Society of Chicago
  • 1920: dies at Sintra, Portugal, on 14 April
  • 1922: first edition of the Times Survey Atlas of the World posthumously published

See also

  • John Bartholomew and Son Ltd.

External links