Historic Maps (Special Collections & University Archives)
Historic maps in SCUA
Special Collections & University Archives
Bookmark and ShareHistoric Maps in SCUA
Map of Massachusetts by Samuel Lewis, ca.1804
Map of Massachusetts from
A New and Elegant General Atlas
by Arrowsmith and Lewis,

The Department of Special Collections and University Archives of the W.E.B. Du Bois Libraries, UMass Amherst, houses hundreds of historic maps relating primarily to New England and the northeast. Among the highlights are examples of many H. F. Walling’s wall maps of Massachusetts and its counties; approximately 200 atlases for Massachusetts and other northeastern states (including those of Beers, Walling and Gray, Walker, the Town Boundary survey, and the Massachusetts Topographical Survey Commission), and a series of surveys of the Quabbin watershed prepared for the Massachusetts Metropolitan District Water Supply Commission between 1926 and 1933. The collections also include a mix of town plans, pocket maps, railroad and road maps, travelers’ and tourists’ guides, and birdseye views of Massachusetts towns.

Apart from its New England maps, SCUA holds a noteworthy collection of rare maps and plans from Meiji-era Japan, including geological, topographic, and touristic maps collected or drafted by the geologist Benjamin Smith Lyman. In both English and Japanese, occasionally both, these maps reflect the unique history connecting UMass and Japan and they document a period of intensive transfer of western technology.

The general Map Collection in the Du Bois Library contains over 110,000 maps, atlases, and related materials, including electronic resources, that document themes ranging from topography and geology, to political boundaries, hydrology, soils, land use, insurance risk, recreation areas, travel and transportation, and the Second World War. Although there is a special focus on maps of Massachusetts, these maps cover the solar system, the world, continents, oceans, and all countries.

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