How to View Maps
Maps and other large images are presented as GIF or JPEG files and require no special viewers, unless you choose to download and view maps offline.
Collections of Sanborn insurance maps are to be found in other North American libraries. The holdings of some of these institutions are listed in the two-volume checklist, Union List of Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps Held by Institutions in the United States and Canada External, published in 1976-77 by the Western Association of Map Libraries.
Rights & Access
The maps in the Map Collections materials were either published prior to 1922, produced by the United States government, or both (see catalogue records that accompany each map for information regarding date of publication and source). The Library of Congress is providing access to these materials for educational and research purposes and is not aware of any U.S. copyright protection (see Title 17 of...
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.
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...