Library guides for research on maps and historical geography
The Boston Public Library offers Research Guides to help access information and sources both in our own collections and from other sources about many topics. The following guides have been produced by the Map Center.
City atlases published for the fire insurance and real estate industries in the United States during the 19th and 20th centuries provide information about historical urban neighborhoods down to the building-level. The LMEC’s best coverage is for Boston, with approximately 60 volumes, ranging from 1861 through to the 1920s, but also includes corrections, or “paste-ups”, updating the maps to the 1960s. Go to guide
City atlases published for the fire insurance and real estate industries in the United States during the 19th and 20th centuries provide information about historical urban neighborhoods down to the building-level. The LMEC holds scattered real estate atlases for other Massachusetts cities such as Brookline, Cambridge, Lynn, Quincy, Somerville, Springfield, and Worcester, as well as less detailed county atlases. Go to guide
This guide lists resources for researching boundaries of wards, cities, counties, and other administrative or legislative divisions. Go to guide
This guide covers maps and urban planning resources of Boston and Massachusetts towns at the Boston Public Library. There is also a brief list of other institutions with Boston and Massachusetts urban planning materials. Go to guide
The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) is the largest mapping agency in the United States and has published topographic maps of the nation since 1884. Their topographic map series, which shows physical landforms and features, can be useful for a wide range of research topics. Since they have been printed with uniform scales and symbols for over a century they are an excellent source for visualizing change over time. Go to guide
This page lists other digital map collections focused on Boston/New England or historical maps in general. Go to guide