About the Society
SHD History
How to Join
Terrae Incognitae
Student Prize
SHD Fellows
SHD News
Members Area
Society Shop
Society Newsletter
Annual Meeting

About the Society

The Society for the History of Discoveries was formed to stimulate interest in teaching, research, and publishing the history of geographical exploration. Founded in 1960, the Society includes members from several academic disciplines as well as archivists, non-affiliated scholars, and laypersons with an interest in history. Fellows (or Honorary Fellows) of the Society will have distinguished themselves by scholarship or service; those honored thus far are John Parker, David Beers Quinn, Norman J. W. Thrower, Virginia Garrett , Jenkins Garrett, Arthur Holzheimer, Barbara Backus McCorkle, Louis De Vorsey, David Buisseret, Carol Urness, Sanford Bederman, Ralph E. Ehrenberg, Peter van der Krogt, John Logan Allen, Dennis P. Reinhartz, Francis Herbert, Carla Rahn Phillips and Thomas F. Sander.

Click here for recollections of the founding and growth of the Society from early members Sanford Bederman, Thom Goldstein, Barbara Backus McCorkle, John Parker, Norman J. W. Thrower, and Carol Louise Urness.

The scope of the Society's activities encompasses the discovery, exploration, and mapping of the earth's land and sea surface from earliest times to the present - the explorers and the explored. Fields of specialization thus include the history of European expansion, cartography, navigation, colonial settlement, biography, and bibliography.

The Society's program of publications includes Terrae Incognitae, a journal of research papers and book reviews published annually from 1969 through 2010, and semiannually beginning in 2011, and five volumes in the series Studies in the History of Discoveries published jointly with the Newberry Library. For a listing of past editors and publishers of Terrae Incognitae, click here.  In addition, the spring Newsletter reports current and planned activities of the Society's members and general news related to the history of cartography, discovery, and exploration. The Annual Report is issued in December.

Annual Meetings (sometimes held jointly with kindred societies such as the Hakluyt Society), are generally held in the fall and are two or three days in duration. They afford members an opportunity to present, hear and discuss papers on subjects in their fields of specialization; most also include visits to, or participation in, nearby points of interest and events. Click here for information on past and future meetings.

The records of the Society are kept at the University of Texas at Arlington. Click here for a SHD Records Finding Aid in A GUIDE TO ARCHIVES AND MANUSCRIPT COLLECTIONS in the Special Collections Division at The University of Texas at Arlington Libraries.

Click here for the Society's Articles of Association


PRESIDENT– Dr. Marguerite Ragnow (2017-2019)
Curator, James Ford Bell Library
University of Minnesota
309-19th Avenue South, 472 OMWL
Minneapolis, MN  55455

VICE PRESIDENT/PRESIDENT ELECT – Dr. MirelaAltić(2017-2019/2020-2021)
Institute for Social Sciences
Marulićevtrg 19
10000 Zagreb, Croatia

EXECUTIVE SECRETARY – Lydia Towns (2017-2019)
7641 W. Highland Road
Olivia, TX 75154

TREASURER – Don McGuirk (2017-2020)
1011 S. Valentia Street, Villa 32
Denver, CO 80247

Felipe Fernando Cruz (2017-2019),
Anne Good (2017-2019),
James Matthews (ex officio; 2017-2018),
Anthony Mullan (2017-2019),
Dennis Reinhartz (2017-2018),
Charles Sullivan (2017-2018),
Chet Van Duzer (2017-2019),

Click here for past officers and council members.


This position is currently open.  Please contact Marguerite Ragnow, president, if you are interested in serving: 


Editor: Lauren Beck, Dept Modern Languages and Literatures, Mount Allison University,
Associate Editors: Dr. Gayle Brunelle (California State University, Fullerton), Anthony Mullan (Library of Congress)
Book review editor: David Buisseret, Newberry Library

Editorial advisory board

MirelaAltić, Institute of Social Sciences, Croatia
ImreDemhardt, University of Texas-Arlington, Texas
Ralph Ehrenberg, Falls Church, Virginia
Barry Gough, Alexandro Malaspina Research Centre, Vancouver Island University, Canada
Donald Harreld, Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah
Francis Herbert, London, England
Gregory McIntosh, Piri Reis University, Turkey
Marguerite Ragnow, James Ford Bell Library, Minneapolis, Minnesota
Bruce Solnick, Lenox, Massachusetts
Carol Urness, Minneapolis, Minnesota

All original content, translations and code
Copyright © The Society for the History of Discoveries 1999 - 2018. All rights reserved.