Maps

The map collection at the Massachusetts Historical Society consists of approximately 2,500 maps and charts, including many manuscript maps. From its founding in 1791, the Society has collected maps that illustrate the history and development of the entire United States. The collection is particularly strong in maps of Boston, Massachusetts, and New England, including the first map printed in Massachusetts.  

Highlights

Highlights of the collection include the Francis Russell Hart Collection of maps of the West Indies and Central America, and the charts and engraved printing plates for Joseph F. W. Des Barres's Atlantic Neptune, 1776-1781. The Samuel Chester Clough collection consists of manuscript maps and atlas plates prepared by Clough in the early 20th century for a massive, but unfinished, topographical history of Boston.

How to Find Maps

The Society's maps, manuscript maps, and atlases are cataloged in ABIGAIL

Selections Online

View selected maps online.

Images of over 50 maps owned by the MHS are available for purchase through Historic Map Works, a company that maintains a digital map database of North America and the world. For a list of MHS images available for purchase as reproductions through Historic Map Works click here.

Upcoming Events

Online Event; Conversation

11 Places That Have Shaped Innovation in Boston, 1636-2021

12Apr 5:30PM 2021
This is an online program

Author of the recently-published book Innovation Economy and longtime Boston Globe columnist, Scott Kirsner, will take you on a photographic tour of 11 places ...

Seminar; Environmental History Seminar; Online Event

Kaleidoscope Metropolis: Autonomy and Integration in the Fractured City

13Apr 5:15PM 2021
This is an online event.

By the 1950s, just as technocratic consensus settled on the opinion that Boston’s metropolitan problems demanded municipal consolidation, meaningful regional ...

Online Event; Conversation; Racial Injustice Series

Confronting Racial Injustice: Boston School Desegregation through the Rearview Mirror

15Apr 6:00PM 2021
This is an online program

In 1972, a group of African American parents sued city and state officials over segregation within the Boston Public Schools. After a trial, a federal court determined ...

From our Blog

This Week @MHS

Join us for a program this week! Here is a look at what is going on: - Tuesday, 29 January, 5:15 PM: Better Teaching through Technology, 1945-1969, with Victoria Cain, Northeastern ...

Founder to Founder

Like so many good stories here at the Historical Society, it began with a reference question. Jeremy Belknap, hunting through his sources, asked Vice President John Adams for some help. Belknap, the ...

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