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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 Checklist

This searchable checklist includes descriptions of 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. It was compiled between 1974 and 1978 by staff members of the Reference and Bibliography Section of the Geography and Map Division, with the assistance of several summer employees assigned to the section in 1976 and 1977.  The online checklist also contains links to existing digital images from our collection and will be updated as new images are added.


Entries are arranged alphabetically by state and by the name of the principal city in the map title. Following the state lists are citations of special maps produced by the Sanborn Map Company to show whiskey warehouses in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, West Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee, Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois, sugar warehouses at principal ports in Cuba, and citations of other special maps showing fire insurance maps of cities in British Columbia and Mexico.

Understanding the Entries

In five columns the checklist records: (1) the date of edition, (2) the number of sheets, (3) additional place names cited by the publisher in map titles (4) comments and (5) the URL if digital files are available. In the comments column are the "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 are noted in the comments column. Editions issued by the company in atlas format are here described as "bound."

The checklist is continually updated to reflect new acquisitions.

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:

Screenshot of Volume Finder Map