Articles and Essays

  • Introduction to the Collection

    The Sanborn map collection consists of a uniform series of large-scale maps, dating from 1867 to the present and depicting the commercial, industrial, and residential sections of some twelve thousand cities and towns in the United States, Canada, and Mexico.

  • Sanborn Samplers

    To illustrate the value of fire insurance maps for historical research, maps of a number of locations around the country are reproduced here and presented with a brief history of the site and some explanation of significant features as portrayed on the maps. These locations were selected because of their historical importance, their popularity as places to visit, or because they represent important types ...

  • Sanborn Time Series

    Fire insurance maps are valuable to much historic research because they often provide evidence of change over time. Specific changes in an individual site such as when a building was expanded or torn down, can often be dated within a reasonably accurate time frame, depending on how many different map editions for that city are available. Change can also be examined in a larger ...