It is forced to relate the way it happened. And this one is the place and the most propitious occasion. Hic et nunc which, in Latin, sounds to me more scholarly. Although it is rotten trick to have with Latin any solemn and deep triviality so that it seems wise sentence. In ordinary language, by principles of the 1997 my admired and good friend Manuel Bas Carbonell, scientific wise person, writer on a wide variety of subjects, booklover, collector and he will know whichever activities more, called me to communicate me that he had been named Commissioner of a Great Exhibition of Valencian Cartography referred to the sixteenth to nineteenth centuries. That the initiative started from the also admired and today unfortunately cried Manuel Tarancón Fandós, at that time President of the Diputación de Valencia, sponsor of the event to celebrate in Centre Cultural of the Charity between the 16 of April and the 1 of June of the same year. And he asked me whereupon it could contribute the Polytechnical University of Valencia.
The Iberian Peninsula in the Portulan Chart by Joan Martines
Sadly, I had to answer that my university and within its Campus de Vera, the Geodesic Engineering School, the Department of Cartographic Engineering, and the Valencian Cartographic Institute, to which I dedicated my professional activity at that time were modern institutions where one could get information about any cutting-edge technology no matter how esoteric, or any computerized or roboticized application, no matter how horrific. But a Mediterranean portolan chart of the sixteenth century was for us something dreamed, unattainable, a cult object. That simple. And I could offer nothing to him. That one was an academically sad day, inclined to shady places and pessimist meditations. Because I thought and think, as an example, that it advances better more and in the knowledge of the hyperspace microgeodesic enclosures of uncertainty and its definition mathematician-statistic also knowing who were Dulcert, or Cresques, or Oertel and their works. And thus to my students, to whom always I have been due, they needed something essential and hardly reasonable.
The Exhibition took place. The best one until today. With the greatest success. I visited and I contemplated it times out of number. For greater toil I also held the position of Director of the Institute of Geography of the extinct IVEI (Valencian Institution of Studies and Investigation), with seat in the same building. And whenever I went to my work, the Exhibition attracted me, irresistible. And thus I discovered that of 55 letters, maps and planes that were exposed, 32, three of each five belonged to the Collection Luis Giménez Lorente. The rest to the Huguet Collection, the Geographic Service of the Army, to the National Library, the Diputación, the Naval Museum…. and so on. I asked and I was informed into the high social, human and scientific category of the proprietor of such a treasure, pharmacist, historical cartographer, erudite collector and man of Renaissance curiosity. And I filed the subject in the hard disk of the most caressed hopes. Time went by and by the spring of 2003, dispatching with my Director and friend of so many years Justo Nieto, he said that Professor Gaja had spoken to him of the collection, who frequented along with his father the friendship of Don Luis Giménez Lorente and the social gathering that this one celebrated and directed in the ground floor of his house at the Navarro Reverter Street in Valencia, with intellectual reminiscences of wise person and comprehensive chemist back room of Alvaro Cunqueiro. And not having direct descendants and wishing to serve to Valencia more and to Cartographic Sciences, he had by advisable that they were not lost and were at the disposal to students and investigators when he were gone.
After such a revelation, I'm not certain I kept the composure expected of an "Excelentísimo y Magnífico Rector" acting officially, even though I am a good friend. I suspect I didn’t. Hastily I described what meant for our University such an opportunity, he understood it perfectly and he smoothed a way to me until then so wished as inaccessible. And from that moment I did not have priority greater than to make contact with Don Luis Giménez Lorente. And I had the opportunity to know a gentleman which nowadays is so scarce, brilliant intellectual and patron in the noblest sense of the word. In addition I obtained a close friend, unfortunately by very just a short time. God has wanted therefore it.
Luis (I have allowed myself the privilege of calling him that) told me that he had been years dealing with many people. That he had not found the sincerity, the interest and the projection of future that he looked for. That he had had to reject with glacial courtesy some supply of economic negotiation. And that began to become bored. I explained to him that my University only could repay his gesture in admiration and academic honours according to the way prescribes the almost millenarian tradition of the patronage. Nevertheless, I could assure to him that the necessary thing would be done so that in our Campus de Vera, in Valencia, a Collection that would take his name in with dignity equipped premises and would offer, through the School and Department of Geodesic and Cartographic Engineering would be elevated, the possibility of spreading his work and of driving the lines of investigation and studies of the History of Cartographic Engineering in form regulated to the University Community and all that one who showed interest in them. Everything was solved immediately in a confidence climate, good will and syntony that never I will forget. In June of 2003 I had the honour to lift to the Research Vicerectorship, previous the pertinent consultations of support, even of the Delegation of Students, certainly unusual case in analogous distinctions, his proposal of investiture as Doctor Honoris Causa, first in Geodesic Engineering of our university history
In 11th June 2003 it was signed the Agreement between Don Luis Giménez Lorente and the Polytechnical University of Valencia, represented by its Magnificent Director Justo Nieto y Nieto, in whom the first donated his Cartobibliographical collections to the University, that was committed to guard them, to maintain them in their integrity, to increase them, to spread them and to foment their study and investigation, creating and equipping a Patronage with seat in the School of Geodesic Engineering, new building then in construction. The news jumps to university, local and national mass media. In the written press, Daily of Valencia, Levante, las Provincias, El Mundo, El País, they emphasize it and they deal with major or minor details, information and fortune. In the same way the other metropolitan newspapers, the radio and the television. The academic initiative of investiture deserved the approval of the Council of Government of the Polytechnical University of Valencia in July 2003.
Act of signature of the Agreement of Donation of the collections
The 12th December 2003 it was celebrated the solemn act of investiture as Doctor Honoris Causa by the Polytechnical University of Valencia of, from that one moment, Exc. Mr. Dr. D.Luis Giménez Lorente . It was a great day. The Paraninfo of the University crowded. I did what I could in the Laudatio and later on, according to the strict, noble and old protocol, Luis delivered a sparkling and heartfelt speech, full of scientific and human depth. And again the act was the outstanding news in social mass media. The daily Levante went ahead announcing the event with a great news article the day of eve and on the following day it returned to emphasize the event. In the same way and in the same date, Las Provincias, El Diario de Valencia, El Mundo, El País,…. and all the others. And the radio, and the television. It is celebrated in addition between days 12th and 15th December 2003, in the Exhibition hall of the Culture Vicerectorship and in the Hall of the Paraninfo of the Polytechnical University the first exhibition of the donated collections. And the tributes and pomps finish and it is necessary to confront the work that it always demands reality. It is precise to transform into prosaic operativity an idea of luminous hope.
In the first place it is urgent to advance in the Agreement signed like private document between parts and to elevate to public writing the reached agreements, being equipped with the necessary legal instruments that they allow to develop freely to the legal organization that is being born. Thus, the created Patronage is perfected being created the titled “Fundación Giménez Lorente de la Comunidad Valenciana”, by means of public writing of date 1st April 2004. The Statutes by which it must be ruled are here included, herein as Annex I at the end of this work, and it names the members of the Governing Patronage, made up of four people, two pertaining to the family Giménez Lorente and two to the Polytechnical University, as well as to the Director of the Collection.
The Diario Levante, 11th December 2003
The Polytechnical University carries out the first payment to take care of the current operation of the Institution. The Director of the Legal Area of the Polytechnical University, D. Carlos Garcia Gomez with his recognized effectiveness takes part directly and disinterestedly in the writing of described documents and in their legal and bureaucratic procedure. I don't know what had been of us without his aid. La Fundación will always be in debt with him. It fell to me to act as a Director and I still have the job. It was necessary to begin to physically transfer the donated collections, to order them, to catalogue them and to properly install them in the projected premises. Naturally, the works of the new building of the School of Geodesic Engineering were delayed and was necessary to look for a first transitory arrangement in the warehouses of the University Security Centre, so that they were suitably preserved and guarded. Luckily, by that time I had the fortune to count on the collaboration of the civil servants of the University Rosa Font Villanueva, Engineer in Geodesy and with a Degree in Geography and Maria Jesus Jiménez Martinez, Engineer Technique in Topography and about to graduate as Engineer in Geodesy. Later Mirian Villar Cano, also Engineer in Geodesy and with a Degree in Geography as scholarship holder joined the group. Thanks to them the first move could be realized happily. And also the second to the definitive premises. And thanks to them, their university vocation and their professionalism and scientific level we can continue working.
Investiture as Doctor Honoris Causa
The things went improving and gaining consistency when in the summer of 2004 the Rector Nieto had the occurrence to go to the Government of the Generalidad as Conseller. There you are! The Polytechnical University that he directed for more than twenty years underwent a true commotion. First Vicerector, Javier Sanz Fernandez, took a step forward and he was in charge of everything. And there was also the Fundación that Justo Nieto supported and knew perfectly. Now it was necessary to explain it all to the new Director from the beginning. Evidently and within the extraordinary received inheritance he did not consider our problem among his most urgent priorities. I had to abuse the patience and friendship of Javier Sanz to the point permitted by our university education. On the other hand, the inevitable bureaucratic and misunderstanding problems that accompany to procedures like the described one had arisen, that was virtually failed. Another question existed. It is so that, after not few efforts, the worthy premises for the Fundación at the new School of Geodesic Engineering had been obtained. And everybody knows that in a University in expansion as ours it does not exist more precious material than the land, more than in Hong Kong and Manhattan along. My kingdom for an office. And everything seems to indicate that we had provoked the envy of the Gods. Without entering unnecessary details perhaps little elegant, a particularly ungrateful time went and fortunately all the problems in a new appearance and signature of public writing in 9th November 2004 could be solved. In spite of it all, until 2006 the problem of the space was still not settled, and they were received gratuitous ambushes given the unassailable firmness of the subscribed commitment. The understanding of the present Director, Juan Juliá and the support of Vicerectores Francisco Mora, of Coordination and Economic Planning and Juan Baptist Peiró, of Culture has led to its final settlement. So be it. And it would be very unjust not to remember the firm support of the present Director of the School Francisco Garcia.
The Fundación initiated its walking with a teaching classroom, enquiry and research service equipped with a score of computers of old fashioned model, leftovers of the classrooms of Computer science of the School, but enough for the new work they are devoted to. A conditioned space of security and with two saves allows filing more valuable original cartographic products suitably. Cartography Library, books and facsimiles gather in bookcases and cabinets. The means available are a Boardroom, three offices, another one of Management, zone of reprographics and exhibition hall, cartographic library, archive and warehouse. Everything located at the Fourth Floor, South Wing, of the new building of the School of Geodesic Engineering.
The first Exhibition
It was in July 15th 2005 when the transfer of the collections and the adjustment of the premises were completed. There was already a place to approach a program of useful work. Though there was an important cloud on the horizon. The University had acquired the firm commitment to finance the Fundación. It had made a payment in cash for the first establishment. But no agreement existed based of continuity, and so it was impossible not only to carry out acquisition that enriched our collections, but neither at least to draw up the essential budget of normal and consumptive expenses in materials and wages. Advancing events, and as the obligation of the poor man is to ask, and if he does not do thus since Aristotle it is known that he does not fulfil his duty, I teased and I asked, very insistently. Finally since the 2007 exercise, the horizon has cleared up and had included a specific consignment for the Fundación of 30,000 euros annually according to established Agreement between parties in the General Budgets of the University. From now on it is already possible at least to administer our own and meagre economic resources, always within the traditional university austerity and to plan the future in an organized way.
However, in the short time passed they have been undertaken and also completed important activities. Thanks to the aid of the Vicerectorship of Culture the digitalization of all the cartographic collections in hi-res Scanner it has been realized throughout the year 2006, with the same technique used in the National Library. In this way it is made unnecessary to handle the original documentation for any work of teaching, enquiry and investigation, even high precision. Miriam Villar and Maria Jesus Jiménez have worked hard.
Dra. Margarita Ordeig Corsini , University professor of Art and Director of the Museum of San Juan of the Hospital and her daughter, with a Degree in Art Mar Quesada Ordeig joined up since year 2007. Their contribution can't be paid with money. Maybe that's why they don't charge. The Foundation has been able and can work by its university vocation, professionalism and scientific level. Among others things, this reinforcement has made possible in a reasonable term to open the Permanent Exhibition of the Valencia Collection, possibly the most complete Cartography of our Community referred to sixteenth to eighteenth centuries, along with high quality facsimile editions of diverse Maps and Atlas of world-wide historical relevance. It was inaugurated on 13th November 2007 with the attendance of Exc. Mr. Magnificent Rector of the Polytechnical University of Valencia, Dr. D. Juan Juliá Igual and the Dean of the Real Academy of Valencian Culture Exc. Mr. Dr. D. Vicente Simó Santonja in the premises of the Fundación, properly prepared.
And if you notice who's signing this Research - Catalogue you'll see that they are the three that have worked it from the ground up. Well, a fourth is missing, of enviable sharpness of mind and an endless list of accomplishments. Do you guess who? The Cataloguing of the collections by the General Library of the University is progressing more slowly, so that they can be acceded from his centralized Data Bank. Sometime it will be completed.... In February 2008 the Foundation will concur to the programmed Exhibition within the International Congress of Geomatic and Surveying Engineering that will be celebrated in Valencia sponsored by the Real Academy of Valencian Culture, the Polytechnical University of Valencia and Illustrious Technical Engineers in Topography Association.
But it seems necessary to realize that, if it is wanted that the aims of the Fundación be fulfilled, is essential that the historical cartographic studies be of interest to the young generations. And being at a University, this only can be called teaching and investigation, with its consequence of Thesis, Minor Thesis, publications, communications, etc… And the first and decisive action is defined in that, for the first time in the Valencian Community (and until where I grasp in the rest of the Spanish Universities that our specialty is given) since the Academic Course 2006-07 it is explained the History of Cartographic Engineering and Historical Cartography in regulated teaching, as free election credits, in the premises of the Fundación and within the Official Curriculum of Superior Geodesic Engineer. It has been addressed to a group of elite of seven students and distributed by Miriam Villar and Maria Jesus Jiménez, with my purely symbolic aid. They have done a great work. The Program, also made by them and approved by the Headquarters of Studies of the School, is really ambitious.
Building of the School of Geodesic Engineering
Now the commitment is to create an educational unit of History of Cartographic Engineering and Historical Cartography that allows to the promotion and future development of teaching staff, lines of investigation and extension of teaching. We work on it, and we expect the support of the School and his present Director. The rest depends on being able to stimulate the pupils towards studies of the highest cultural qualification, certainly indispensable in the integral formation of the Engineer, although they are not of extended application in the professional practice. Personally I hope to be able to help Miriam Villar and Maria Jesus Jiménez in their promising academic career beginning for collaborating in the text book they are writing up. It is another objective and commitment of future, well important and necessary to contribute at the high level of the studies of Geodesic Engineering in our School and University and that it would be nonsense and it would have no means outside the Fundación. Afterwards, may God's will be done, and the work of such a tiny as well as hopeful team is able to undertake and to obtain the promotion, development and investigation of the humanistic and cultural component that always should accompany any university technical degree. And that all this serves as invitation to the multidisciplinary interuniversity collaboration in common tasks of the same denomination. Because all the eagerness of the technical studies does not have to go exclusively to the creation at any cost of jobs. Perhaps it is even a counter-productive error that becomes against itself.
And unfortunately the present work does not finish in this point. Because in 29th April 2006 I had the sad duty of writing and publishing the obituary of the first President and Founder of the Institution that takes his name, Exc. Sr. D. Luis Giménez Lorente, just passed away. In the hope of being in the future worthy of his teaching and after choosing his brother Jose Vicente as new President in a board session January 20th, 2007, I finish with a prayer for his soul and as in the obituary with a “May you rest in the peace of the Lord, my friend”. We want the present Catalogue and Study of the collections of the Fundación to serve to the future works of students and investigators and posthumous tribute to Doctor Giménez Lorente, his maker and creator.
The Campus de Vera of the Polytechnical University of Valencia is in the north of the city of Valencia, 4 km far to the port, 7,5 km to the RENFE North Station and 13 km to the Valencia-Manises airport.
Si vienes en metro, en este plano del metro de Valencia se ha señalado la ubicación del campus de Vera, y de forma destacada, las paradas más cercanas a la universidad: U.Politécnica, La Carrasca, Tarongers y Serrería (todas de las líneas 4 y 6):
If you come by bus, you have 7 bus routes that take you to the Campus de Vera: 9, 18, 29, 40, 41 and 71
Interactive map of the UPV, where you can locate the building 7I of the Fundación Giménez Lorente.