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In 1984, Simon Burrow began collecting maps. As a global industrialist, his hobby aligned with his business interests. Burrow owned factories in the United States, Singapore, China and Mexico. Motivated by a desire to better understand the U.S. and Mexico borderlands, he focused on maps that tell the history of this region. In over twenty years Burrow accumulated more than 100 original maps and 200 books all related to the evolving relationship between the United States and Mexico.
To engage and stimulate dialogue on issues related to the U.S. and Mexico border, Burrow organized an exhibit of his maps. In 2010 he began to tour his show “Changing Boundaries” at various museums and academic institutions in the Southwestern U.S. and Mexico. When the exhibit came to the ASU School of Transborder Studies in fall 2011, Burrow decided that ASU and the School were a natural site for his collection. The donation of his collection of maps and books was formalized in August 2012.
What is unique to the Simon Burrow Map Collection is that it illustrates the evolution of the western hemisphere’s histories, cultures, and communities. Close examination of the maps often reveals the true nature of place as constantly in flux rather than fixed, the formation and sometimes decline of nation-states and towns, the growth of industries, and the impact of development and colonization on these unique regions. The Collection promotes constructive dialogue and scholarly research related to the shared geographical, cultural, and economic interactions between the United States of America (USA) and the United Mexican States (Mexico).
The School of Transborder Studies (STS) has a vested interest in being able to share the Simon Burrow Map Collection with scholars and the community with the objective of stimulating dialogue about the historical nature of national borders and the transborder communities who live with, on, and across them in the Americas and around the world.
STS believes that through shared data, services, technological infrastructure, staff, and expertise, the School along with interested partners can create online research environments aligned with users’ expectations and expand educational opportunities for communities. Access to the map collection and the development of partnerships on common value projects grounded in the map collection are some of the examples of how STS can collaborate with other institutions and researchers.
For more information on using the map collection, please see our Use Guidelines.