About this Collection
The Geography and Map Division, Library of Congress holds over 1.5 million single-sheet maps. Many of the single-sheet maps that were received by the Geography and Map Division before the advent of machine-readable cataloging in 1968 have been cataloged at a collection level instead of an individual sheet level. They are filed by geographic location. This portion of the Geography and Map Division's collections is known as the Title Collection. Although the Library's catalog has high-level descriptions for most geographic areas in the Title Collection, it can be difficult for researchers to search and locate individual maps in this collection without the assistance of trained reference librarians.
This online collection presents a portion of the Title Collection maps and the folders that contain and describe the maps. Some sections of the online presentation may only have images of the folders, which are designed to help researchers identify potential materials of interest. Each folder is typically labelled with information such as the map's location, date, scale, and creator or publisher—if known—and may also include descriptive notes or references to related materials. If you see an item that only has a folder image and you are interested in seeing the contents of that folder, we encourage you to contact our reference staff through the Ask A Librarian page or visit the Geography and Map reading room.
What you see online includes a small sample of the overall Title Collection, focusing on holdings from the United States. Researchers are encouraged to contact the Geography and Map Division and take advantage of the assistance of highly-trained reference and specialist staff members who are experienced in locating materials in the Title Collection to meet their needs. Frequently, staff can suggest items that are particularly useful for specific studies. Reference questions can be directed by patrons to the Division through the Ask A Librarian page or by visiting the Geography and Map reading room in order to determine what material meets their requirements.
Organization of the collection
The Geography and Map Division's Title Collection is vast and contains the bulk of the single-sheet maps at the Library. It is arranged by geographic and administrative areas from largest to smallest, starting with "Celestial" and “World,” then moving to continents and countries, and ultimately ranging to the smallest areas of individual towns and cities. Within a continent or country, maps are subdivided by date, subject, region, county or equivalent jurisdiction, and city. Within each of these subdivisions, the holdings are arranged alphabetically and then by date, with undated material arranged at the front. Each item in this online collection represents a drawer from the collection, such as "United States, Maine, Drawer 10", which in this case includes maps arranged by subject heading and date, alphabetically from "Administrative, 1930" to "Climate, 1967".
The Title Collection comprises a wide range of maps, including atlas plates or maps that originally were included in monographs or serials but have been removed from their bindings, photo-reproduced copies or facsimiles of material held by other repositories either in the United States or abroad, and maps that came to the Library through copyright deposit prior to the 1970s. In addition, there may be several possible filing locations for identical copies of the same item or very similar items, and a variety of additional filing locations for closely related items. There may also be duplicate maps filed in several locations.
How may I access the maps inside folders?
Many of the maps are available online through this collection. For those portions that only have images of the folder containing the maps, please see the Rights & Access page for details about how you can request in-person or digital access to the maps that are not yet online.