A collection of maps that depict California as an island off North America's western coast, reflecting the beliefs of 17th-18th c. explorers and cartographers, are now available for online viewing. Silicon-Valley-based venture capitalist Glen McLaughlin bought hundreds of them over the past 40 or so years, and in 2012 released his unusual and historic map archive to Stanford University's Branner Earth Sciences Library and Map Collections. The transaction was "part sale and part donation," reports the LA Times, and resulted in online access for the public: 731 of the maps are already available, thanks to a digitizing project at the university.
The online repository is expected to attract viewers interested in early California history, or at least the imaginations of European explorers of the region. Spurred in part by fantastical descriptions in an early 16th century novel, Spanish travelers originally searched for an island supposedly populated by cannibalistic Amazons with plentiful jewels and gold.
Right, so in other words, West Hollywood.
View the collections online: "California as an Island" [Stanford University]
An interesting essay by the collector is here.
More at the LA Times: "Stanford's historic maps of California as an island are online"
And previously, in 2012: "A collection that identifies California as a world apart"