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Collection Description - Map Division
Maps and atlases documenting the urban environment throughout the world represent a core strength of the collection, with the historical New York City map holdings among the deepest and most heavily used anywhere. With more than 2,000 sheet maps and 18,000 atlas map sheets illustrating the city and its five boroughs before 1922 (often to the building level), this collection is a critical support to many researchers of the local environment. For a guide to what has been digitized from this collection, please click here.
Our antiquarian atlas and map collection includes many important Dutch, English and French imprints dating to the 15th century. Initially formed from the collections of John Jacob Astor and James Lenox, the holdings were augmented by significant gifts including the Ford Collection, John Levine Bequest, Emmet Collection, and Lawrence H. Slaughter Collection. The antiquarian map collection is supported by a strong corpus of secondary resources for its use and study, including: illustrated and annotated cartobibliographies, histories of cartography, periodicals, price guides, as well as dealer and auction catalogs.
The Map Division holds over 150,000 topographic maps, including historical map sets from the founders’ libraries such as Cassini’s Carte de France… covering pre-Revolution France in 175 sheets. The bulk of our topographic maps, however, came to the NYPL during the 20th century as part of the (FLDP) Federal Library Depository Program with significant map coverages added through aggressive collection development policies aimed at deepening map strength for the entire world.
Upwards of 10,000 of our maps have been digitized thus far, with plans to increase those digitally available to 17,000 by the end of 2013. Those can all be found on the NYPL's Digital Gallery Page (where the collection can be seen in the wider NYPL collections context), on this simplified digital map collections page (that distills the maps into their geographic categories), and finally at maps.nypl.org (a web map browser, georectification and tracing toolkit that adds Geographic Information Systems (GIS) functionality to our extensive digital map collection).