Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Sanborn Maps Checklist Online

The Geography and Map Division, Library of Congress, has just announced the online availability of its Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps Checklist, a new version of the popular out-of-print Library publication entitled "Fire Insurance Maps in the Library of Congress: Plans of North American Cities and Towns produced by the Sanborn Map Company” (Library of Congress, 1981). The new website can be accessed directly via

This checklist describes the nearly 700,000 sheet collection of maps published by the Sanborn Map Company from 1867 to the 1960’s in the Library's collection, the single largest and most comprehensive collection of maps published by the Sanborn Map Company. These maps were acquired by the Library as a result of copyright deposits, government agency transfers, and gifts. For those who may be unaware, fire insurance maps and plans show detailed, accurate and large scale building “footprints” of individual structures and are often the earliest large scale urban mapping available for small cities.

In addition to a searchable database which lists all editions and number of sheets for each city/town/village represented in the collection, the online checklist will be continually updated to reflect new acquisitions.
Most importantly, the online checklist contains links to existing downloadable digital images from the collection and will be continually updated as new digital images are added to the online checklist.

The web site includes essays on the history of large scale mapping related to fire insurance efforts and examples of how large scale maps can be used by historians, geographers, and researchers in virtually any discipline.

For additional information contact Ed Redmond, Library of Congress,
Geography and Map Division at

Please note that Tulane University's Southeastern Architectural Archive retains a unique copy of the 1876 Sanborn Atlas for New Orleans, as well as a compilation of Proto-Sanborn Atlases (c. 1850s-1874).

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