Skip Navigation Links The Library of Congress >> Researchers
Manuscript Reading Room (Library of Congress)
  Home >> Special Collections

Johann Georg Kohl Collection

Maps and papers of Johann Georg Kohl relating to the early history of America

When Johann Georg Kohl (1808-1878) came to the United States in 1854, he brought with him an important collection of facsimile drawings of maps relating to the discovery and exploration of the New World. The product of years of research in European libraries and archives, Kohl's drawings represented the most comprehensive collection of cartographic reproductions existing in America at that time. In 1856 Congress commissioned Kohl to duplicate his drawings for a proposed catalog of early maps of America. These remained in the custody of the Department of State until their transfer to the Library in 1903. A catalog, compiled by Justin Winsor in 1886 and reprinted with an index in 1904, describes 474 Kohl facsimiles now in the Geography and Map Division.

Another of Kohl's American projects, undertaken between 1855 and 1857 at the request of the U.S. Coast Survey, was a monumental study of the early history and exploration of the North American coastline. The twenty-nine-part manuscript included hydrographic and orthographic descriptions, route charts and narrative accounts of expeditions, catalogs of related maps, and bibliographies of historical source material. Some 101 facsimiles of maps of the West Coast and pertinent manuscripts were transferred to the division in 1912 and briefly described in the Lowery catalog. In 1925 the Coast and Geodetic Survey transferred to the Library five portions of the manuscript dealing with the Gulf Stream, the hydrography of the Gulf of Mexico, and harbors of the Atlantic Coast. The collection is partially listed in a card inventory in the Geography and Map Division. Fergus J. Wood discusses Kohl's work in America in his article "J. G. Kohl and the 'Lost Maps' of the American Coast," in The American Cartographer (GA101.A49), v. 3, October 1976, p. 107-115.

Other sections of the Kohl manuscript were transferred to the Manuscript Division in 1912: a "Historical List of Names" treating points on thc Atlantic Coast from Maine to Long Island; a bibliography on the history of the East Coast from 1519 to 1885; and part of the historical study of the Gulf of Mexico. The Kohl material is listed in the division's master record of manuscript collections and is available on microfilm.

  Top of Page Top of Page
  Home >> Special Collections
  The Library of Congress >> Researchers
  October 14, 2010
Legal | External Link Disclaimer

Contact Us:  
Ask a Librarian