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Peter H. Meurer

The article describes a short but innovative chapter in the history of Catholic atlas making. The work was done by exiled German Jesuits in the Dutch houses after the expulsion of the Jesuits in 1872 during the Kulturkampf. The project began in 1880–81 with four maps of China and India in the Catholic journal Die katholischen Missionen by Alexander Baumgartner, S.J. (1841–1910). His work was taken over by Oscar Werner, S.J. (1849–?). Werner’s Katholischer Missions-Atlas (1884) was the first Catholic missionary atlas. Its twenty-seven maps covered the worldwide dioceses subject to the Propaganda Fide. The supplementary Katholischer Kirchen-Atlas (1888) included fourteen maps of lands with an established Catholic hierarchy. Published in a large number of copies for a low price, both atlases helped to popularize Catholic cartography. This Jesuit groundwork abruptly ended when Werner resigned from the Society in 1891. The German tradition in Catholic atlas cartography was then taken over by members of Society of Divine Word, beginning with the Katholischer Missionsatlas (1906) by Karl Streit svd (1874–1935) and continuing for over a century with the Atlas hierarchicus (1913–2011).