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Fire Insurance Maps at the Library of Congress: A Resource Guide

Searching for Sanborn Maps

All public domain Sanborn Fire Insurance maps have been digitized and are available online (with the exception of a few sheets from 1923-1924). Sheets that are still under copyright restriction are not available online. Tools for searching the Sanborn maps at the Library of Congress are fully described and linked below.

Sanborn Fire Insurance Map Advanced Search

This searchable database includes records for the entire collection of Sanborn fire insurance maps, including bound and unbound maps as well as microfilm reels, in the custody of the Geography and Map Division. The online platform also contains links to existing digital images from our collection and will be updated as new images are added.

Understanding the Records

Each Sanborn record includes the state, city, the date of edition, the number of sheets, any additional place names cited by the publisher in map titles, any additional or special notes, and any digital files if they are available. In the notes field, there may be "500" and "000" series numbers that identify the volumes acquired from the Bureau of the Census. The standard map is colored and measures 65 x 55 cm; variations have been noted. Editions issued by the company in atlas format are here described as "bound."

The database is continually updated to reflect new acquisitions and new scanned material.

Sanborn Maps Digital Collection

This tool provides searchable access to the digitized Sanborn Fire Insurance maps. It also includes an introduction to the collection and several essays.

Sanborn Atlas Volume Finder

This GIS tool will help pinpoint the correct Sanborn fire insurance atlas volume for locations in large cities. As there are usually many volumes that cover larger cities, with shifting volume boundaries, it can be confusing or difficult to ascertain which volume covers a specific area or address. With this tool, researchers can enter an address which will immediately show which volume covers that area and a link to any online images. Click on the link below to access these maps.

Available cities include: