Eastern Michigan University hosts two-day Mark Jefferson at Versailles Symposium to celebrate EMU Professor’s work as chief cartographer at the Versailles Peace Conference of 1919

Mark Jefferson with map and journal

YPSILANTI – Eastern Michigan University will host a two-day symposium on October 17 and 18 to celebrate Eastern Michigan University Geography Professor Mark Jefferson’s contributions at the Versailles Peace Conference, the meeting of world leaders that established a new international order after World War I. This year marks the 100th anniversary of the historic event.

In 1918, Jefferson was asked to serve as the chief cartographer for the American Commission to Negotiate Peace. In 1919, presidents, diplomats, and state leaders gathered in Paris to redraw national boundaries, negotiate settlements, and work toward peace in a time of global upheaval—Jefferson is responsible for drawing the maps. Between December 1918 and June 1919, Jefferson oversaw the creation of more than 500 maps that marked new boundaries in postwar Europe.

Speakers for the two-day event include Jeremy Crampton and Wesley Reisser, two geographers who have published on Jefferson’s work at Versailles, EMU students Cassie Thayer and Dustin Elliott, who have conducted research with the Jefferson papers at the EMU Archives, EMU Archivist Alexis Braun Marks, and EMU history professor and World War I expert, Jesse Kauffman.

The symposium schedule is as follows:

Thursday, October 17

Friday, October 18

The symposium is an opportunity for EMU students, faculty, and staff and the broader community to learn about with Jefferson’s distinguished career, the legacy of the Versailles conference, and EMU’s connections with World War I. As a geographer, professor, and public intellectual, Mark Jefferson epitomizes the ways that Eastern Michigan University has recruited faculty of the highest caliber and emphasized academic excellence.

The EMU College of Arts and Sciences is also celebrating the anniversary by creating the Mark Jefferson Student Travel Fund, which will fund competitive awards supporting travel by undergraduate students. It is fitting to name this award for Mark Jefferson, becausehe was an enthusiastic traveler who encouraged his students to be curious and to seize every opportunity for travel and exploration. Funds raised from the Gala Reception on Thursday, October 17 at the Ypsilanti Freighthouse in Depot Town, the point of departure for Jefferson’s many journeys, will benefit the Mark Jefferson Student Travel Fund.

The departments of Geography & Geology, History & Philosophy, and Political Science are sponsoring the event. All events are free and open to the public, but registration by October 10 is required for the Thursday reception, the Friday lunch, and the Archives tour. Please contact emu_history@emich.edu for information.

To learn more about the Mark Jefferson Symposium, visit the website.

About Eastern Michigan University

Founded in 1849, Eastern is the second oldest public university in Michigan. It currently serves more than 18,000 students pursuing undergraduate, graduate, specialist, doctoral and certificate degrees in the arts, sciences and professions. In all, more than 300 majors, minors and concentrations are delivered through the University's Colleges of Arts and Sciences; Business; Education; Engineering and Technology; Health and Human Services; and, its graduate school. EMU is regularly recognized by national publications for its excellence, diversity, and commitment to applied education. For more information about Eastern Michigan University, visit the University's website.

September 25, 2019

Written by:
Morgan Mark

Media Contact:
Morgan Mark