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Karen Wynn Fonstad

Karen Lea Wynn Fonstad (April 18, 1945 – March 11, 2005) was an American cartographer and academic who designed several atlases of fictional worlds.

Karen Wynn Fonstad
Karen Wynn Fonstad.jpg
Fonstad in 2004
Karen Lea Wynn

(1945-04-18)April 18, 1945[1]
DiedMarch 11, 2005(2005-03-11) (aged 59)
Resting placeForest Cemetery (Stevens Point, Wisconsin)
Alma materUniversity of Oklahoma
OccupationCartographer, academic
Known forAtlases of fictional worlds

Early life and educationEdit

Born Karen Lea Wynn in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma to parents James and Estis Wynn, she graduated from Norman High School in Norman, Oklahoma, and then earned a B.S. degree in Physical Therapy and an M.A. in Geography, specializing in cartography, from the University of Oklahoma. While attending the University of Oklahoma she met Todd A. Fonstad. They married on March 21, 1970, and had two children: Mark and Kristina.[citation needed]


Before her "retirement" to raising children and writing companion atlases, Fonstad was Director of Cartographic Services at the University of Wisconsin–Oshkosh.[2] Her formal acknowledgments for The Atlas of Pern (1984) include "my husband, Todd, associate professor geography" and the UW Oshkosh Department of Geography.[3] She served on the Oshkosh City Planning Commission for twenty-four years and was a member of the Oshkosh Common Council. Other interests and activities included the Grand Opera House Board of Directors, Hotel/Convention Center and Mass Transportation Center Development Committees, Oshkosh Commercial Development Corporation, Business Improvement Council Board of Directors, Downtown Oshkosh Committee, the Oshkosh Symphony League, the Camp Fire and Cub Scout programs, and the UW-Oshkosh Faculty Dames, where she held the offices of president and secretary.[4]


Karen Wynn Fonstad died, aged 59, from complications of breast cancer.[citation needed]


Fonstad's speciality was the creation of fictional atlases:[5]

  • The Atlas of Middle-earth (1981) ISBN 0-395-28665-4
  • The Atlas of Pern (1984) ISBN 0-345-31434-4
  • The Atlas of the Land (1985) ISBN 0-345-31431-X
  • Atlas of the Dragonlance World (1987) ISBN 0-88038-448-4
  • The Forgotten Realms Atlas (1990) ISBN 0-88038-857-9
  • The Atlas of Middle-earth: Revised Edition (1992) ISBN 0-395-53516-6


  1. ^ "United States Social Security Death Index," index, FamilySearch ( : accessed 12 Feb 2013), Karen L Fonstad, 11 March 2005; citing U.S. Social Security Administration, Death Master File, database (Alexandria, Virginia: National Technical Information Service, ongoing).
  2. ^ The Atlas of Pern, "About the Author".
  3. ^ The Atlas of Pern, "Acknowledgements".
  4. ^ Author Karen Wynn Fonstad: 1945–2005, Obituary, March 12, 2005 at
  5. ^ Karen Wynn Fonstad at the Internet Speculative Fiction Database. Retrieved 2011-11-20. Select a title to see its linked publication history and general information. Select a particular edition (title) for more data at that level, such as a front cover image or linked contents.

External linksEdit