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Historical Maps


Ancient World Mapping Center
The Center “exists to promote cartography and geographic information science as essential disciplines within the field of ancient study.” The Free Maps tab contains digitized maps available on topics such as Roman history and ancient Egypt. A compilation of suppliers and publishers of wall maps is also included on the site.

David Rumsey Map Collection
The David Rumsey Collection focuses on 18th and 19th century North and South American cartographic materials. The collection includes atlases, globes, school geographies, maritime charts, and a variety of separate maps including pocket, wall, children’s and manuscript maps. The digital images and associated descriptive data are copyrighted © by Cartography Associates. Read more about the collection. The collection includes over 8,800 maps with 811 new images added June 1, 2003.

FirstGov for Citizens — Maps
Part of the “Reference Center” this section of FirstGov offers links to sites with historical maps as well as community, environmental, health, space, U.S., weather, and world maps. “Historical maps” include American Revolution, various collections in the Library of Congress’ “American Memory” web site, and U.S. historical event maps (from NIMA).

Historic Cities
This site contains maps, literature, documents, books and other relevant material concerning the past, present and future of historic cities and facilitates the location of similar content on the web. Search by city, country, year, or map maker. Read more about the project.

Historical Mapping  [PDF]  [HTML]
USGS Fact sheet 154-99 (November 1999) contains information on researching and investigating historical maps.

Images of Early Maps on the Web
From Map History / History of Cartography. A comprehensive listing comprising about 600 links, updated monthly. Images are not included on this site.

Library of Congress, American Memory:
The American Memory collection can be searched by keyword, subject, creator, location, and title.

  • The American Revolution and Its Era: Maps and Charts of North America and the West Indies, 1750-1789
    Most of the items presented here are documented in Maps and Charts of North America and the West Indies, 1750-1789: A Guide to the Collections in the Library of Congress compiled by John R. Sellers and Patricia Molen van Ee in 1981. The bibliography contains approximately 2,000 maps and charts.
  • Civil War Maps
    The Civil War Map collection of the Geography and Map Division consists of reconnaissance, sketch, coastal, and theater-of-war maps which depict troop activities and fortifications during the Civil War.
  • Map Collections: 1500-2002
    The collection consists of digitized maps in the following areas: Cities and Towns, Conservation and Environment, Discovery and Exploration, Immigration and Settlement, Military Battles and Campaigns, Transportation and Communication, and General Maps.
  • Mapping the National Parks
    This collection documents the history, cultural aspects and geological formations of areas that eventually became National Parks. It consists of approximately 200 maps dating from the 17th century to the present, reflecting early mapping of the areas that would become four National Parks, as well as the parks themselves.
  • Maps of Liberia, 1830-1870
    This collection of Liberia maps includes twenty examples from the American Colonization Society, organized in 1817 to resettle free black Americans in West Africa. These maps show early settlements in Liberia, indigenous political subdivisions, and some of the building lots that were assigned to settlers.
  • Panoramic Maps, 1847-1929
    The panoramic map was a popular cartographic form used to depict U.S. and Canadian cities and towns during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Although not generally drawn to scale, they show street patterns, individual buildings, and major landscape features in perspective.
  • Railroad Maps, 1828-1900
    The Railroad maps represent an important historical record, illustrating the growth of travel and settlement as well as the development of industry and agriculture in the United States. Included in the collection are progress report surveys for individual lines, official government surveys, promotional maps, maps showing land grants and rights-of-way, and route guides published by commercial firms.
  • Rochambeau Map Collection
    This collection “contains cartographic items used by Jean Baptiste Donatien de Vimeur, comte de Rochambeau (1725-1807), when he was commander in chief of the French expeditionary army (1780-82) during the American Revolution. The maps were from Rochambeau’s personal collection, cover much of eastern North America, and date from 1717 to 1795. The maps show Revolutionary-era military actions, some of which were published in England and France, and early state maps from the 1790s. Many of the items in this extraordinary group of maps show the importance of cartographic materials in the campaigns of the American Revolution as well as Rochambeau’s continuing interest in the new United States. The collection consists of 40 manuscript and 26 printed maps, and a manuscript atlas, the originals of which are in the Library of Congress’ Geography and Map Division.”

Links to Historical Maps on Other Sites
Another resource produced by a librarian, Matthew White, who states in a related site’s FAQ: “… never trust any information without double checking.” Includes: Detailed chronological list of maps and atlases (e.g., paleogeography, general world history, general European history, Asian and African history across time, ancient Egypt, ancient Greece, Biblical era, Roman Empire, Medieval trade, Islam, American Revolution, Napoleonic Wars, environmental deterioration); online map libraries; online histories of the twentieth century; useful historical reference sites; and sections grouping maps by natural history, human history organized by place rather than time, and human history organized by time rather than place. Also includes a section entitled “Hidden, Revealed or Imagined” which includes fictional maps, paranormal maps, and prophetic maps, as well as a 1941 “New World Order” map. (Last updated June 2003.)

Map Collection Search (Texas State Library and Archives Commission)
The Texas State Archives Map Collection contains original, photo reproduced, and compiled maps covering the period from the early seventeenth through the late twentieth centuries. For general information about the holdings and descriptive information available, read About our Map Collection. For specific information to assist searching, read indexes and types of maps, subject authority file, and guide to codes. For reproductions policy, read notes on map preservation, access, and copies.

Oddens Bookmarks (The Fascinating World of Maps and Mapping)
Over 21, 000 map-related links. Includes digitized maps in its wealth of links.

Texas Digital Sanborn Maps (via TexShare TexShare Logo) (from off-campus, available only to ASU students, faculty, and staff using the University’s EZProxy Service)
“Sanborn fire insurance maps are the most frequently consulted maps in both public and academic libraries. Sanborn maps are valuable historical tools for urban specialists, social historians, architects, geographers, genealogists, local historians, planners, environmentalists and anyone who wants to learn about the history, growth, and development of American cities, towns, and neighborhoods. They are large-scale plans containing data that can be used to estimate the potential risk for urban structures. This includes information such as the outline of each building, the size, shape and construction materials, heights, and function of structures, location of windows and doors. The maps also give street names, street and sidewalk widths, property boundaries, building use, and house and block numbers. Seven or eight different editions represent some areas.”

Texas General Land Office Map Collection. Texas History, Texas Maps(Archives & Records)
The archival map collection of the TGLO consists of over 10,000 maps dating from the 1820s. More than 200 of these maps have been digitized and preserved over the course of an initiative called “Adopt-A-Map/Adopt-A-Document.” A search option is available.

Texas Historic Sites Atlas (Texas Historical Commission)
The Atlas features more than 200,000 historic site records, including Historical Marker inscriptions and National Register of Historic Places property photos. Includes interactive digital maps showing site locations.

United States Digital Map Library (USGenWeb Archives)
“The United States Digital Map Library is a USGenWeb Archives project, developed in April of 1999 under the coordination of Fred Smoot.” The site is hosted by RootsWeb. The collection includes the following projects:

  • State and County Maps
  • United States National Maps
    • Includes North America, 1845; U.S. Meridians and Baselines; National Geographic vol. 26, 1914 (map of the Grand Canyon); Western United States, circa 1897; Pacific States and Territories; Map of Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming (1892); The New Reference Atlas of the World (1910) (includes state maps and 18 city maps).
  • Indian Land Cessions to the United States Treaty Maps
    • “While this project will deal with the maps of the Indian land cessions made by the Nations of our First Peoples, the time period covered will be from the formal establishment of the United States government to the year 1894. There were earlier cessions between the First People and the European colonials.”
    • “This American History Project contains all sixty-seven maps from the 1899 paper, Indian Land Cessions in the United States. It was compiled by Charles C. Royce. The paper appeared in the 18th Annual Report of the Bureau of American Ethnology, to the Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, 1896-97, by J.W. Powell, Director - In Two Parts - Part 2. Printed in Washington, by the Government Printing Office, 1899.”

University of Georgia. Hargrett Rare Books & Manuscripts Library. Rare Map Collection
“… [A] collection of more than 800 historic maps spanning nearly 500 years, from the sixteenth century through the early twentieth century. The collection provides a graphic resource upon which scholars can draw in re-discovering the minds and movements of early American explorers, revolutionary statesmen, cultural figures and politicians represented by the library’s book and manuscript collections. Although not limited to a single geographic subject, the collection emphasizes the state of Georgia and the surrounding region …” Site contents include: New World, Colonial America, Revolutionary America, Revolutionary Georgia, Union & Expansion, American Civil War, Frontier to New South, Savannah & the Coast, Transportation.

The University of Texas at Austin, Perry-Castañeda Library

Yale Map Collection. Online Maps
The Map Collection has the largest collection of maps in Connecticut and one of the largest university collections in the United States. Some of the historical maps have been digitized and made available online.

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Updated: May 2019. Currently maintained by Kimberly Wirth, Coordinator of Information Literacy/Research Librarian.

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