Saturday, March 24, 2007

Boston Library Map Collection

A collection of historical maps is available online at the Boston Public Library site -

The information page says:

"The Norman B. Leventhal Map Center at the Boston Public Library has been established to provide free worldwide public access to an extraordinary collection of more than 200,000 original historic maps and 5,000 atlases that will be integrated with the technologies of Geographic Information Systems through its programs, exhibits, lectures and website.

"It is intended that these resources will be used for study, research, exhibitions, and public events, open to students of all ages, scholars, teachers, educational institutions, and all who are interested in enhancing their understanding of the world.

"The Norman B. Leventhal Map Center at the Boston Public Library is committed to maintaining a state of the art facility, physically, educationally, and programmatically, that will be a powerful tool for understanding human history and civilization."

A list of the currently available maps is located at

There are currently 24 maps of Boston (Mass) available (makes sense, eh?) from early colonial times into the 20th century. Clicking on Boston (Mass) brings up a thumbnail of each available map. When you click on one of them, you then have to click on "Open in Map Viewer." In the Map viewer, you can increase the magnification, and then put the cursor inside the map image and move it around using your mouse. In many cases, there is amazing detail.

I love to view these old maps. I look forward to BPL adding more online maps to this collection.

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