Lobeck was one of the first men specially targeted to join the Inquiry in the early days (November 1917), the same year he got his PhD at
Lobeck's papers are held in at least three archives. Columbia University holds papers relating to his journey to Paris with the Inquiry, the National Archives contain his correspondence, maps, and papers relating to the inquiry and the American Commission to Negotiate Peace (the official name of the Inquiry in Paris), while the American Geographical Library in Milwaukee contains papers about his career more generally, including some correspondence while at sea on the way to Paris.
Joining the Inquiry.
After graduating with this PhD Lobeck was ordered through the Selective Service law to perform military service at
[Lobeck] can make a kind of map which we absolutely need to have made and there are only four men in the whole country who can make these maps. We shall need all of them. Try to arrange [his release] immediately as these maps are basic to all our work (Lippmann - Hays, 16 Nov. 1917).Hays was reluctant to let Lobeck go by "imperial edict" as he put it, but was willing to have Lobeck detailed or furloughed to
Here Lippmann was drawing on his extensive network of colleagues in high places, as he would throughout his career (Lippmann was an assistant to Baker when he was appointed to the Inquiry himself and addressed him familiarly as "NDB").
Lippmann and Bowman sat down and drafted a response that would explain their need for Lobeck's skill in drafting block diagrams. It was, they said "a highly specialized and accurate form of drawing and is not ordinary map construction which can be done by almost any trained engineer or draftsman. It is display in perspective of the relief and hydrography of a region with all the geometrical accuracy of a map." Bowman signed it as Director of the AGS.
Lippmann added that the Inquiry planned to use Lobeck for about six months, although this would in fact turn out to be woefully wrong; the number seems to have been chosen merely as something the War Department would accept. Lippmann and Bowman wanted these maps for the ÂWestern Front from the
If we look at LobeckÂs
Meanwhile, Lobeck was whiling his way at
In a letter to Bowman he wrote that Âthe barracks are cheerful and comfortable and I sleep wonderfullyÂ This week in spite of the very bad weather we have been on the big rifle range learning how to use the new Enfield pieces with high power ammunitionÂ you know we have to march 51/2 miles to the range. Many of the men had frozen ears and it was necessary to bring them back to camp by ambulance.Â (Lobeck to Bowman, Dec. 13, 1917).
Lobeck also commented on his fellow reservists and their lack of training. ÂAn infinitely small percent of the men are technically trained. Most of them are of the laboring type and many of them are of foreign origin and can hardly speak, let alone write English.Â (Lobeck to Bowman, Dec. 13, 1917). Lobeck finally made it to
Work for the Inquiry.
In the summer of 1918, after working on the Italian area all spring, Bowman, who was spending Independence Day in
Leon Dominian was originally from
Dominian had written a survey book on
LobeckÂs maps were not puny affairs, but rather large scale sheets, often five feet by five and done at tthe regional scale (eg., 1:300,000) with a vertical exaggeration of four times. In this way he could show in detail the area of interestÂthe border between
While LobecksÂ block diagrams were certainly attractive and easy to use, one problem with them was that it was hard to get a sense of absolute height. They dealt more with the relative relief, what one ridge looked like compared to another. An ordinary map however such as a topographic map in common use in the military, had the advantage that absolute heights could be determined, so that for example it could be seen whether one ridge was visible from another one, or if one portion of the map was higher than another portion.
Lobeck wrote excitedly to Bowman on July 7, 1918 with a proposal for an Âentirely new wayÂ of showing relief that would solve this problem. His suggestion was to combine his block diagrams with contour lines shown in perspective. The result Âis simply a bold rounded outline of the mountain rangesÂ with the contour heights labeled.