Click to search the Andrew Heiskell Braille and Talking Book Library Skip Navigation

Blog Posts by Subject: Maps, Atlases, Cartography

Charting the Future I

Over the years, as we push more and more of our maps onto the web, such as Pieter Goos' Zee-Atlas, 1672, from which the below image was taken, we ask… ...what do we do with all this stuff? ...how do we make digital maps meaningful?

One approach is through our blog, where we highlight various places and themes depicted. Often there is much more to read between the contours, about, among 

... Read More ›

Mapping New York's Shoreline: The Storied River

Staff of the New York Public Library recently hand picked a set of nearly 500 images, collected from across our Digital Gallery, composing them as a curated set of images at the Commons on Flickr. They represent the Hudson River Valley through several hundred years of history and complement

... Read More ›

Hudson's Legacy

No, I'm not referring to Henry Hudson and his quadricentennial of "discovering" Manhattan and the river that's named after him. I'm speaking of Alice Hudson, Chief of the Lionel Pincus and Princess Firyal Map Division, who retires this week after a long and glorious career at NYPL. She's someone who impacted many lives, leaving behind a shining legacy that will continue to glow for years.

I'll particularly miss Alice's wry humor. I still chuckle when I recall her telling me that she first wanted to title 

Read More ›

Village Haunts

After 165 years things are bound to change, even in the Village. Maps are a great way to see that change, and fortunately The New York Public Library has one of the world's great map collections. Here's a map of lower Manhattan when Edgar Allen Poe roamed the Village:For fun, compare it to my Google map:

For a nice stroll around the Village, visit the locations of each of Poe's homes. I suggest that you start at Waverly and Sixth, go down to W. 3rd Street, over to Carmine and end up at James J. Walker Park where there is just 

... Read More ›

Hudson Park and the Center of the Literary Universe

Want to breakfast with Theodore Dreiser? Grab a cup of coffee at Grey Dog Coffee or Out of the Kitchen and mosey on down to 16 St. Lukes Place.

Hey, you’re right across from the Hudson Park Library! And just down the street at 14 and 12 St. Lukes Place are the former homes of Marianne Moore and Sherwood Anderson. They all lived here in the 1920s.

Use this map (I'll 

Read More ›

Mapping NYC

We've updated the Map Division's Google Earth index to digitized NYC map collections to include more than 2000 maps from 32 titles, organized chronologically and geographically (by borough), all published between 1852 and 1923. The map index (download .kmz file) requires installation of Google Earth on your computer. There are three recommended ways to search for maps using this 

... Read More ›

Weeksville Revisited

In a previous post, we looked at maps of Brooklyn from the 19th and early 20th centuries of the neighborhood once called Weeksville, centered on Hunterfly Road. It was there, in 1969, according to The Weeksville Society, that researchers rediscovered the "Hunterfly Road houses," the neighborhood's only remaining residential structures from the period.

I'm curious to know if those same researchers used the

... Read More ›

Crystal Palace at Reservoir Square

On today's map you wouldn't have a clue as to where the Crystal Palace at Reservoir Square was located. Looking at a William Perris' fire insurance map from 1853 however reveals that, where now stands our magnificent central library on the corner of 5th 

... Read More ›

Digitizing the Historical Landscape

We've digitized more historical maps documenting the changing New York City landscape. Follow the link to a comprehensive listing of close to 2,700 maps showing buildings, old streets, farm lines, streetcar routes historical shorelines and more.

Here's a small section from G.M. Hopkins' 1880 Farm Line Atlas of Brooklyn.

... Read More ›

Weeksville

Weeksville was a community of African Americans founded in 1838 by a freed slave named James Weeks in an area straddling modern day Bedford-Stuyvesant and Crown Heights in Brooklyn. By the 1860s, according to Weeksville Society, it had become a cultural nexus and a draft riot safe haven for New York City's growing African American population. While much has been written about its people, both today, as in this

Read More ›

Profiles and sections of the city (a worm’s-eye view?)

“Cartographic materials” and “cartographic resources” are phrases that we use in the map library world to describe a whole gamut of map-like information sources. Elevation profiles and geologic sections are particular types of cartographic materials that represent vertical planes, perpendicular to the earth’s surface, in contrast to the typical horizontal-surface representations commonly referred to as maps. Here are a couple of examples from the NYPL Digital Gallery that show the added dimension that profiles can provide for an understanding of the New 

... Read More ›

County Atlases

A popular collection in the NYPL's Lionel Pincus and Princess Firyal Map Division, and one of my personal favorites, is the county atlas series, most of which was published following the passage of a federal law commemorating the centennial of the United States. We have recently digitized 43 atlases covering New York and New Jersey from our collection of more than 420 titles printed before 1900. See this page for a list of digital holdings from this series.

Their pages are filled not only 

... Read More ›

Coney Island Maps

I've always been fascinated with landscapes changing through time as seen though the lens of the map. Shorelines, especially where there are lots of waves and tides, are particularly interesting things in that they are so clearly dynamic. These fire insurance maps of Coney Island, created between 1880 and 1907 document those changes beautifully. In addition to those covering Coney Island, the NYPL has digitized close to 2000 maps at this level of detail for all five boroughs of New York City.

G.W. Bromley, 

Read More ›

Staten Island Aerial Photos from 1924

If you like the "Satellite View" feature in Google Maps then you should enjoy these aerial photographs of New York City. In 1924 Arthur Tuttle flew over the city snapping pictures of every building and landmark there was. His images of NYC rooftops clearly show the outline of all the buildings. The atlas containing his photos is called:

Sectional aerial maps of the City of New York / [photographed and assembled under the direction of the chief engineer, July 1st, 1924]. 

Read More ›

Historical Staten Island Maps in the Digital Gallery

There's a great selection of Staten Island maps and Atlases in the NYPL Digital Gallery. Using the "Pan and Zoom" feature the maps can be enlarged to the point where you can read street names and even the names of residents of individual houses. "Pan and Zoom" is not available on all maps, however.

Here are some of the maps and atlases available:

Read More ›

New York City Zoning Maps

Researchers who visit the Lionel Pincus and Princess Firyal Map Division are interested, more often than not, in our resources on New York City history. If they don’t know about them before they arrive, our readers quickly become familiar with names like Perris, Bromley, Robinson, Sanborn, and Hyde for the fire insurance and real estate maps, showing buildings block by block, that they published over the years. Without doubt, we will write

... Read More ›
Previous Page 2 of 2