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Harvard Map Collection

The Harvard Map Collection is one of the largest and oldest collections of geospatial materials in the United States. As a geospatial hub, the Harvard Map Collection combines a world-class special collections and current data. We are open to all researchers. To learn more about our collections and how to find our materials, scroll down! To schedule a research visit, call or email us at the contact information below. To schedule a class visit, visit the Harvard Library's class request tool.  We are constantly adding new digital content that highlights our remarkable maps. Here is a sampling of some of our recent efforts  

 

 

Contact Information

 
(617) 495-2417
maps@harvard.edu
Address:
Pusey Library, Harvard Yard Harvard University Cambridge, MA 02138
 
MapMap pin
Open atlases welcome you to the Map Collection
 
 

HOURS OF OPERATION

 
Harvard Map Collection 1583,3359 View Hours by Month
Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
General Hours
Pusey Library
 
 

ABOUT

 

The Harvard Map Collection was founded in 1818 when Israel Thorndike, a merchant from Beverly, MA, purchased and donated the library of Christoph Ebeling. Ebeling, who before his death in 1817 was a professor in Hamburg, was perhaps the preeminent scholar of the geography and geographical history of North America. His collection, therefore, encompassed some of his own manuscripts, thousands of maps of the Americas, and, because of his own location, an extensive collection of maps of German lands. Since then, through a mix of generous donations and acquisitions, we have grown to more than 500,000 maps and atlases and terabytes of data.

The Harvard Map Collection was founded in 1818 when Israel Thorndike, a merchant from Beverly, MA, purchased and donated the library of Christoph Ebeling. Ebeling, who before his death in 1817 was a professor in Hamburg, was perhaps the preeminent scholar of the geography and geographical history of North America. His collection, therefore, encompassed some of his own manuscripts, thousands of maps of the Americas, and, because of his own location, an extensive collection of maps of German lands. Since then, through a mix of generous donations and acquisitions, we have grown to more than 500,000 maps and atlases and terabytes of data.

 

Collections

 

Overview

At the Harvard Map Collection, you can find everything from rare cartographic material to geospatial data. We hold topographic maps, city plans, nautical charts and thematic maps are represented through all chronological periods and significant map makers. We provide access to GIS software and geospatial data at global, national, state and local levels. Many visitors, for instance, come to see editions of Mercator(like the 1633 English edition), Ortelius (the 1606 English edition is available online), and Ptolemaic atlases (our 1511 atlas is available online) or browse the Harvard Geospatial Library to find useful data. Not all of our material is discoverable directly in HOLLIS and HGL. For maps published between 1900 and 1970 outside of New England and for maps in some geographical regions before 1900, our records exist only in our card catalog (which you can browse online). If you haven't found what you hoped to find, do not hesitate to contact us at maps at harvard.edu 

Print Collection

Our print collection includes aerial photography and remotely sensed images; antiquarian maps; atlases, gazetteers, books and periodicals; fire insurance maps; nautical charts; street maps; thematic maps; topographic maps and wall maps. See the Print Collection page for more information. 

Digital Collection

Thousands of data layers are available for use in Geographic Information Systems on the HMC research workstations. The Map Collection is also the primary contributor of GIS data to the Harvard Geospatial Library, where even more layers can be downloaded. See Digital Collections for more information.

 
 

LIBRARY STAFF

 
Clark, George Research Librarian Request an Appointment
Denis, Lena Cartographic Assistant
Rosenwasser, Jonathan Library Assistant VIII Request an Appointment
Schreiner, Martin Librarian of Lamont Library & Director of Maps, Media, Data and Government Information Request an Appointment
Walker, Scott Digital cartography specialist Request an Appointment
Weimer, David Librarian for Cartographic Collections and Learning Request an Appointment
 

VISITOR POLICIES

 
  • Visitor
  • The Harvard Map Collection is located in Pusey Library. You can enter the first floor of Pusey directly through the entrance in Harvard Yard across from the northeast side of Widener Library. Harvard affiliates may also enter via Lamont Library, at the corner of Mass. Ave. and Quincy St.

    • Patrons who are not currently affiliated with Harvard University or who do not hold a Special Borrower Card will need to visit the Library Privileges Office at Widener Library after registering to obtain a Harvard College Library Special Collections Card. Patrons are required to present a valid Harvard ID, HCL Special Borrower Card, or HCL Special Collections Card at the library in order to enter the building.
    • Group tours and classes must be arranged in advance by contacting us via e-mail (maps at harvard.edu).
 
 

ACCESSIBILITY

 
  • The Map Collection is located on Level P1 of Pusey Library, which is accessible through the Lamont West Entrance or the front door of Lamont Library. Please call in advance to make arrangements to visit. Please note that the Harvard Theatre Collection materials are only accessible through Houghton Library. See the Disability Services page.

 

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