The Library of Congress, Geography and Map Division holds approximately 675,000 Sanborn sheets in its collections. This collection is one of the largest in the world and continues to grow.
Only a few Sanborn sheets are actually cataloged, though there is a collection level record. The expansiveness of the collection makes it more efficient to use a separate, searchable database to reflect holdings in the Geography and Map Division of the Library of Congress. Sanborn maps acquired since 1981 (the date of the original printed guide Fire Insurance Maps in the Library of Congress) have also been added to the database.
Maps that were out of copyright when the scanning project began are available on the Library's website. New images that come out of copyright, including those from 1924 and 1925, will be made available as soon as possible. We will link the scanned image to the entry within the "URL" field of the Sanborn checklist. See "Copyright Information" for further details.
Look for the map key, often at the beginning of books, but not always. This will assist in the interpretation of the map. Fire insurance maps indicate many different building structures and codes through colors and symbols. Different building materials and resources resulted in different building styles and representations on the maps. For example, the use of adobe will not be seen in states East of the Mississippi River. Read more about this under "Interpreting Sanborn Maps" in this resource guide.
The Geography and Map Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps collections spans from 1867 - 1995. The U.S. Copyright law prohibits the Geography and Map Division from reproducing items still in copyright. To assist researchers, the Geography and Map Division provides a complete listing of physical copies held by the division. Searching the database allows researchers to determine specific coverage prior to coming to the Library of Congress or contacting the nearest institution. The Sanborn Union list External provides a listing of organizations (library, archive, or historical association) with Sanborn Fire Insurance collections.