Monday, 23 June 2014

Dr Rainer Gruessner: Map Collector

Dr Rainer Gruessner is a surgeon who was appointed Chairman of the Department of Surgery at the University of Arizona’s College of Medicine in 2007. Dr Rainer Gruessner has been in surgical leadership positions or the last sixteen years, either as chair or vice-chair.

Gruessner is also a leading authority on diabetes mellitus, transplant immunology, and clinical transplantation.

Dr Rainer Gruessner has many interests outside of the discipline of medicine. He studies American Indian culture and contemporary art, and is also a collector of books and maps.

As Gruessner knows, a map must have been printed or drawn at least one hundred years ago in order to be considered an antique. Many antique maps include the date the map was published, either in the title or in other parts of the map where publication information is included. These dates usually refer to the first year the map was offered for sale or the year the right to print the map was obtained. Dates on maps are not entirely reliable. Many maps were issued for more than one year without any changes having been made. For example, many 19th Century mapmakers did not change the dates on their atlas maps. For these maps, collectors like Dr Rainer Gruessner look at the content of the map, or for other clues that will provide them with a more accurate dating.

Gruessner is specifically interested in maps of the Americas of the 16th and 17th century when very little was known about the New World. “These maps are completely inaccurate, but they give us an understanding of how cartography and the mapping of America has evolved over time.”

Dr Rainer Gruessner keeps fit by playing tennis, skiing, swimming, and by running. He is also a music lover who plays the piano and organ.

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