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Map and Atlas Collection

What can I find here?

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The Society houses more than 25,000 maps and atlases in its Archives. The majority of the Maps and Atlas Collection focuses on Wisconsin, the Midwest, the United States and Canada. About 80 percent of the collection predates 1900.

Examples of nearly every type of traditional cartographic medium can be found — from elaborate maps of Renaissance explorations to simple outline maps suitable for classroom use. Major map categories are listed at the left.

The Maps and Atlas Collection does not include GPS data or other digital files other than scanned images of paper originals. Nor does it contain aerial photos.

These maps are an invaluable resource for researching the history of North American exploration, economic and social development, environmental change and genealogy.

How is it organized?

Physical

  • The majority of our map and atlas holdings are located in the Archives.
  • The Archives Research Room has an extensive card catalog, several guides describing the holdings and a helpful staff available to answer questions.

Online

  • A small portion of our Maps and Atlas Collection is available online via the CONTENTdm database.
  • Use the major category links listed at the left to browse or search the collection database.
  • Most maps are scanned at high resolution and can be easily viewed in close detail by clicking anywhere on the image.

Reproductions of many maps are available. See Wisconsin Historical Images.

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