The University of Delaware Library

Special Collections Department

Chart of the Delaware Bay & River, 1776


The Historic Map Collection comprises over 800 published 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.

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 (1874), early twentieth-century Sanborn maps of Seaford and New Castle, and numerous road maps of Delaware dating from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

The Historic Map Collection also contains three 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.

Other Collections Containing Maps

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, which includes maps and surveys created by the town engineer of Newark, Delaware, at the turn of the twentieth century. The Pearl Herlihy Daniels Map Collection Papers documents Mrs. Daniels's creation of her map collection and her interest in maps.


The Historic Map Collection contains four atlases, but most of the historic atlases in the University of Delaware Library'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: 11/13/06