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

The First Reconstruction: Black Politics in America from the Revolution to the Civil War

17May 5:30PM 2021
This is an online program

It may be difficult to imagine that a consequential black electoral politics evolved in the United States before the Civil War, for as of 1860, the overwhelming majority ...

Online Event; Conversation; Racial Injustice Series

Confronting Racial Injustice: The War on Drugs in Massachusetts: The Racial Impact of the School ...

19May 6:00PM 2021
This is an online program

In the 1980s, Massachusetts embraced the War on Drugs, enacting harsh mandatory minimum sentences for nonviolent drug offenses. It took decades to confront the reality ...

Online Event

Of Thee I Sing: The Contested History of American Patriotism

26May 5:30PM 2021
This is an online program

When we talk about patriotism in America, we tend to mean one form: the version captured in shared celebrations like the national anthem and the Pledge of Allegiance. But ...

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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