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Library of Congress Geography & Maps: An Illustrated Guide

Special Collections

With this I hand to each of you a copy of a map, compiled from the best sources, and which in the main is correct. . . . You all now have the same map, so that no mistakes or confusion need result from different names of localities.


Early world map by Martin Waldseemüller, the first document known to name America
Martin Waldseemüller. Universalis cosmographia secundum Ptholomaei traditionem et Americi Vespucii alioru[m]que lustrationes. [1507]. Library of Congress Geography and Map Division.

The Geography and Map Division maintains more than one hundred individual collections that have been acquired through gifts, government transfers, and purchases or assembled by division specialists according to common themes. In addition, the Vault Map collections include manuscript and rare printed maps and other cartographic items that have been filed together for their intrinsic, artistic, or historical significance. With few exceptions, these collections are stored in a specially designed vault equipped with temperature and humidity controls.

An assortment of Special Collections material can be found in the tabs to the left, organized by geographic area, as well as two categories for military maps and special format maps.

For a list of all special collections, see the PDF file below. Additionally, consult the finding aids for the division's special collections by using the link below.