Raleigh Ashlin Skelton

Raleigh Ashlin Skelton (December 21, 1906 – December 7, 1970) is best known for his work on the history of cartography and his attempts to prove the authenticity of the Vinland map .

Known as “Peter” to his friends, Skelton was born in Plymouth, England . He was educated at Aldenham School and Pembroke College, Cambridge . He served as the Assistant Keeper of the Department of Printed Books of the British Museum from 1931 to 1953, with a break for military service from 1939 to 1945, and as Deputy Keeper from 1953 to 1967. British Museum on his return from military service in 1945 and in 1950 became the Superintendent, in which he continued to retire in 1967. He died in a crash.


  • The Vinland map and The Tartar Relation , written with Thomas E. Marston and George Painter , by Yale University Press ,
  • History of Cartography (with Leo Bagrow ), originally published in London and Cambridge by CA Watts and Harvard University Press in 1964.
  • Captain James Cook ‘s maps of Newfoundland , including The Marine Surveys of Captain James Cook in North America 1758-1768 .

Professional activities

Skelton served as Honorary Secretary of the Hakluyt Society from 1946 to 1966. He was the General Editor of Imago Mundi , the major newspaper in the field of the history of cartography, from 1957 to 1970. This was a collaboration with RV Tooley . He was Chair of the Working Group on Early Maps of the International Geographical Union from 1961. He was also a member of the Academic International of History of Science and of various other societies concerned with history, geography, archeology, bibliography and archives. During a sabbatical leave in 1962-63, he served as a consultant and Acting Map Curator at Harvard University in the Widener Library .


Skelton was elected a Fellow of the Society of Antiquities of London (FSA) in 1951. He was awarded the Gill Memorial of the Royal Geographical Society in 1957 and its Victoria Medal in 1970. [1]


  1. Jump up^ “Medals and Awards Recipients 1970-2007” (PDF) . Royal Geographical Society . Retrieved 2009-06-26 .

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