University of Delaware Library

Special Collections Department

Historic Map Collection

1561 - 1995

Extent: 993 items
Content: Map and atlases
Access: The collection is open for research.
Processed: 2001-2002 by Laura Cochrane and Theresa Hessey

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Special Collections, University of Delaware Library
Newark, Delaware 19717-5267
(302) 831-2229

Table of Contents

+Table of Contents of Historic Map Collection

Introductory Notes

The Historic Map Collection comprises nearly 1000 maps dating from the sixteenth to the twentieth centuries. The majority of the maps depict North America during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, but the collection also holds early maps of the New World, maps of Europe, Asia, South America, and Africa, as well as world maps and atlases. Although this is a comprehensive collection, Delaware state maps; maps of the Middle Atlantic Region; and charts of Delaware Bay make up the most extensive part of the collection.

Many maps of Delaware and the Mid-Atlantic Region are viewable in the University of Delaware Library Digital Collections.

Among the important Delaware and regional maps from this collection are John Senex's A New Map of Virginia, Maryland & the Improved Parts of Pennsylvania and New Jersey (ca. 1719), Joshua Fisher's A Chart of Delaware Bay and River (1776), Lewis Evans’s Map of the Middle British Colonies (1776), and an anonymously produced Plan of Wilmington and Its Environs (ca. 1798). The collection also contains an anonymous manuscript map of Delaware (ca. 1715), a bird’s-eye view map of Wilmington (1784), early twentieth-century Sanborn maps of Seaford and New Castle, and numerous road maps of Delaware dating from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

Note on Arrangement and Map Location

The maps are arranged by geographical region. In most cases they are listed by continent and then country, except for United States maps, which are arranged by state. Under Delaware, the maps have been further subdivided into counties and towns. Under each geographical heading the maps are ordered by their date of publication. In the finding aid, each map's location (map case, drawer, and folder number) is noted to the left of the map title. Under the location is the accession number, which is the map's unique identifier, which is necessary, as there are multiple maps in each folder. There are also maps in the vault, in Hollinger boxes, and hung in frames. The abbreviations below appear in the finding aid after the accession number and identify the location of each map.

               f         Framed map (hanging)
               gr        Green map case
               h         Hollinger boxes (above the green map case)
               mc2       Map case 2 (Pearl Herlihy Daniels map collection)
               new       New map case
               ovr       Oversized map drawers
               rol       Rolled map
               v         Vault
               vf        Framed in vault (hanging)


Note on Collections

The Historic Map Collection comprises a core group of maps that were collected by the curators of Special Collections during the past forty years. This part of the collection is comprehensive and includes maps from around the world dating from the sixteenth to the twentieth centuries, although a bulk of the collection comprises nineteenth- and twentieth-century maps of the Delaware area.

In addition to this core group, the collection also contains three other collections that were either given to or purchased by the Library. The most significant of these is the Pearl Herlihy Daniels Collection, which includes about 150 maps, books, atlases, and visual materials, mainly related to the history of Delaware and the surrounding regions. The two other collections included are the Robert D. Fleck Collection, which comprises a group of over 250 maps of Delaware, mainly from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries and the Dunlap Collection, a group of fifteen maps of the Newark area.

Although these collections remain together as discrete entities, for the purposes of this finding aid, the maps are organized by their geographic locations rather than their respective collection. However, the accession number that appears next to the map’s title identifies the collection: maps that were collected by the curators of Special Collections have accession numbers ranging from 01800- 03099; maps from the Dunlap Collection have accessioning numbers ranging from 03101-03107; the Fleck Collection number range from 03201-03252; and the Herlihy Daniels Collection maps range from 04001-04121.

Related Collections

In addition to the Historic Map Collection, maps can also be found in the several of the University of Delaware Library’s manuscript collections. Because they are part of larger collections, they are not housed or indexed with the Historic Map Collection. Collections that have map components include the Christopher Ward Papers (ms 107), which contains maps relating to Ward's literary and historical works on the American Revolution and Delaware history; the World War II Maps and Radio Broadcasts Collection (ms 325), a group of briefing notebooks of maps and newspaper clippings which tracked military progress of Allied and Axis powers throughout World War II on an almost daily basis; and the Wilbur T. Wilson Map Collection , papers created by the town engineer of Newark, Delaware, during the early twentieth century. The Pearl Herlihy Daniels Map Collection Papers documents Mrs. Daniels's creation of her map collection and her interest in maps.

Related Atlases

The Historic Map Collection contains four atlases, but most of the historic atlases in the University of Delaware's collection can be found by searching DELCAT , the library’s on-line catalog. Important atlases that are listed in DELCAT include Mercator’s Atlas Novus (1638), Ortelius’s Epitome Theatri Orteliani (1589), Mathew Carey’s American Pocket Atlas (1805), D. G. Beers’s Atlas of the State of Delaware (1868), and Baist's Property Atlas of the City of Wilmington, Delaware (1901).

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Last modified: 01/19/11

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