Terra Cognita

Newsletter of the Society for the History of Discoveries

Page 4

May 2002

David Beers Quinn, FSHD (1909-2002) (continued)
Born in Ireland on April 24, 1909, Quinn until the age of 14 attended a one-teacher school. He graduated from Queen’s University, Belfast in 1931, and received the Ph.D. degree in 1934 from King’s College, London. He taught for several years in Southampton, and returned to his alma mater in 1939. He moved to University College, Swansea in 1944, and then to the University of Liverpool in 1957, where, until his retirement, he wrote, taught, and mentored many students who became distinguished scholars in their own right.
      He was only 31 when the Hakluyt Society published his two-volume documentary, The Voyages and Colonising Enterprises of Sir Humphrey Gilbert (1940). The Hakluyt Society published another two-volume work in 1955- The Roanoke Voyages to North America under the Patent Granted to Walter Raleigh in 1584. Other works published by the Hakluyt Society were Principall Navigations, Voyages and Discoveries of the English Nation (with R.A. Skelton, 1965), The Hakluyt Handbook (with Alison Quinn, 1974), English New England Voyages, 1602-8 (1983), and Discourse on Western Planting (1993). Another well-known book he wrote (with Paul Hulton), again in two volumes, was The American Drawings of John White (1964). Historians of the early exploration and mapping of North America may know Quinn better through his more popular works, The Discovery of North America (with W.P. Cumming and R.A. Skelton, 1971), and Exploration of North America, 1630-1776 (with W.P. Cumming, et al., 1974) 
      Quinn had the reputation of being the “pre-eminent authority on the history of early European exploration of North America.” In an address to the American Historical Association in 1986 titled “Reflections,” he said “I have thought of myself very much as a historical work horse, clearing the way through documentary tangles for others to follow.” It was Quinn who made the most compelling arguments for the possibility of the English discovery of America between 1480 and 1484. H.G. Jones spoke for our entire learned society when he exclaimed: “David Quinn stood as a giant among specialists in the history of discovery and exploration.”

SHD 2002 Annual Meeting in Guadalajara, Mexico (October 24-27) 
(Editor’s Note: This article appeared in last year’s newsletter, and has been posted on our website. I believe the information contained in it is even more appropriate now than when it appeared in 2001 The deadline for receipt of proposals for papers is July 15, 2002. The Local Arrangements Chairman is Michael Mathes, and the Program Chairman is Richard Francaviglia.) 
       Guadalajara (founded in 1542 by Cortés’ colleague, Cristóbal de Oñate), although seat of a diocese and royal court from 1548, was a minor settlement in west-central New Spain until the late 17th century. With the growth of missions and mining into Sonora and Baja California, the town became the commercial hub for the expansion of New Spain to the northwest, and eventually the base for Spanish exploration and settlement in California, British Columbia, and Alaska. Following the opening of the Mexican Wars of Independence in 1810, Guadalajara became the major center for insurgency and counter insurgency and, following the formation of the Mexican Republic in 1824, a leading actor in national politics. Capital of the State of Jalisco, Guadalajara is the stereotype of Mexico in the world: the home of the mariachi, tequila, charros, and the “Jarabe Tapatío.” At 52-5500 feet above sea level, the climate is moderate throughout the year with general daily temperatures between 70° and 80° F.; rain is infrequent between October and May.
      The metropolitan area of Guadalajara has a population of approximately 3 million with all of the benefits (excellent museums, theater, markets, stores, hotels, and restaurants) and problems (traffic, smog, crime, and trash) of a major world city. The former far outweigh the latter, and common sense and the usual precautions taken in any large urban center make the city as safe as any. Of particular importance are the 18th century buildings of central Guadalajara including the Cathedral, Government Palace, City Hall, Regional Museum, Congress, and the Cabañas Hospice (now a cultural center and museum).
Other major cultural attractions are the 19th century Degollado Theater, the City Museum, and the several colonial churches of La Merced, Carmen, Aranzazú, San Francisco, and San Felipe. Of course, the Plaza de los Mariachis, Mercado Libertad, and Plaza Tapatía offer music, drink, and shopping for local artisanry such as Tonalá ceramics and leather work.
      The venue of the 2002 SHD conference is El Colegio de Jalisco, founded in 1982, a graduate school of social sciences specializing in regional studies, although numerous students and researchers from other areas, especially Puerto Rico and Cataluña, form part of the Colegio. 

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