Armin Lobeck (1886-1958)

NARA April 06 032
Originally uploaded by ubikcan.
Source: NARA RG256, Entry 52 Folder 1-37
Detail of Armin Lobeck's block map of Albania, prepared for the American Inquiry in 1918. A particularly beautiful piece of work, Lobeck was renowned for his perspectival maps such as this example.

His work was so good that he taken by the American government to Paris to make maps for the Paris Peace Conference of 1919. He was a good observer and an evocative writer. Here is an extract of a letter he wrote while on board the ship with the president. It gives a good idea of daily life on the ship and the time it took to cross the Atlantic:

Dec. 12, 1918. [On board the USS Washington].
How are we idling our time at sea? With numerous and distinguished guests on board, all willing to talk of interesting experiences and fascinating topics, with the beautiful sea spread before our eyes and the finest of semi-tropical weather to tempt us always on deck, with three libraries of books, with a large Conference Room filled with maps, with the President and Mrs. Wilson, and Secretary [of State] and Mrs. Lansing, and Ambassador Davis, and ex-Ambassador White and Jusserand, General Churchill, Colonel Ayers, George Creel and others bobbing around and demanding attention, with three good meals a day and a frequent salt water shower, with an interesting ship filled with interesting machinery, coal bunkers, stoking rooms, troop quarters, bakery shops, all to be looked over, with the experiences of 1200 sailors to be listened to, with boxing and wrestling matches, pie eating contests, depth-bomb exhibitions by the convoying destroyers, target practice by the Pennsylvania, with two band concerts a day and a moving picture show every evening, with crew song recitals and a crew vaudeville, with the Azores relieving the journey by the anticipation of seeing them, the charming reality and the delightful memory of looking back at them, with the official photographer continually at work taking large groups and singles and moving pictures of all of us in little groups, with games of chess and discussions of affairs, with a long wireless report to be read every morning, and the need of brushing up on French, with an odd job or two now and then, there remain but few unoccupied moments on this momentous journey...

The French soldiers say France went into the war to win back Alsace-Lorraine, the British to get the German African colonies, and the Americans to get souvenirs...
His classic book Things Maps Don't Tell Us, is still in print.

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