Antiquarian and Rare Maps

Most antiquarian maps in the Map Collection are facsimiles, or exact reproductions, of very old maps. Facsimile maps may be black-and-white photostats, or lithographic prints, some offering full color images. Scholars use antiquarian maps primarily for their historical value. But admirers also appreciate these maps for their beauty. In the United States, maps published before 1900 are considered rare.

Antiquarian maps in the Map Collection are classified under Library of Congress call numbers. They may be located by searching the Libraries' Catalog, obtaining the call number, and then retrieving the desired map from the Map Room (the map below shows the location of antiquarian maps in the Map Room). Original rare maps may also be found in the Poetry Collection.

Search Tips:
To locate antiquarian maps of a particular country, state, city, etc. in the Libraries' Catalog, use the following search tip: Enter the keyword search place name and facsimiles and map. The following is an example:

k = tokyo and facsimiles and map

Or, enter a subject search for place name--maps in the Libraries' Catalog. This search may result in many maps, both old and new, so you may need to browse through the results. For example:

s = tokyo japan--maps

To locate antiquarian maps of places within the United States, enter the following subject search: place name--maps--to 1800. For example:

Sample antiquarian maps:

Thumbnail Tokyo, Japan in 1854
Reproduced in 1974 from a woodcut in the collection of Historic Urban Plans, Ithaca, NY. Features Japanese characters. (297 KB JPG image)
Call Number: G7964.T7 G46 1854 .F8 1974

Thumbnail City of New York
An aerial view of New York City in 1856, reproduced in 1975 from a lithograph in The Library of Congress, Washington, D.C. (370 KB JPG image)
Call Number: G3804.N4 A35 1856 .P3 1975

A Plan of the City of New York

[Scale 1:6,500].
Reduced from an actual survey. Reproduced in 1964. (251 KB JPG image)
Call Number: G3804.N4 1755 .M3 1964