Maps and Atlases
The collection of maps focuses on the United States, although there are maps of all parts of the world that were printed in the United States. The size of the collection is about 10,000 items. The strengths of the collection are maps of New England of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries and, more specifically, maps of Massachusetts. In 1910, the New England Historic Genealogical Society placed its collection of maps on deposit at AAS; AAS purchased this collection in 1992.
The atlas collection consists of about 650 volumes, dating from the late sixteenth century to the early twentieth century. Although there are many world atlases, the focus of the collection is atlases of the United States, particularly New England. There are atlases designed for school use as well as folio volumes devoted to maps of particular states, counties, and cities. The entire collection has been catalogued and access to this collection can be achieved by using the genre heading "Atlases."
The Society also has a collection of pocket maps which were intended to be carried and used during travel. The maps are usually small in size and fold neatly into a leather or paperboard binding. There are over four hundred of these maps in the collection, ranging in date from the 1820's through the end of the nineteenth century. State and city maps are found in the pocket map collection, as well as numerous maps showing railroad and steamboat lines, mining claims, and territorial divisions in the western settlements. Some are annotated by previous owners, showing preferred routes or noting hotels and other points of interest.
- Georgia B. Barnhill, Andrew W. Mellon Curator of Graphic Arts