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

Malgeri Modern American Society and Culture Seminar; Online Event

Writing Uncompensated Emancipation into the Lost Cause

27Oct 5:15PM 2020
This is an online program

After the US Civil War, white southerners claimed federal reimbursements for the value of freed slaves Federal lawmakers rejected these claims in the Fourteenth Amendment ...

Online Event; Conversation

Jefferson: Then and Now

29Oct 5:30PM 2020
This is an online program

The reputations of all of the founders have changed dramatically over the course of American history, none more than that of Thomas Jefferson. Historians Annette Gordon ...

African American History Seminar; Online Event

Success to the Literary Society! Black Male Youth Organizing in Early Nineteenth-Century Boston

5Nov 5:15PM 2020
This is an online program

In 1841, a dozen or so African American male youth aged twelve to sixteen established the Young Men’s Literary Society in Boston with the stated aim to promote ...

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 ...

Read more from our blog

Have you seen?