Historical Maps


Rare Maps | WWI Trench Maps | WWII Topo Maps | Korean War Topo Maps

Fire Insurance Plans | Topos | 19th Century Hamilton Maps | Aerial Photos | City Directories


Rare Maps logo

Rare Maps

Held in Archives and Research Collections
McMaster University Library

Description:

McMaster University Library is fortunate to possess a rich collection of rare, antique maps. The oldest map in the collection was published in Johannes Reger's 1486 edition of Ptolemy's Cosmographia.

The collection is an indispensible teaching resource providing students with the opportunity to examine cartography as not just a tool for navigation, but as a work of art, an expression of power, a cultural worldview, and a chronicle of scientific advancement.

Reproduction copies of some of these maps may be viewed in
the Lloyd Reeds Map Collection.

Original maps may be viewed in the Library's
Archives & Research Collections Division.

High resolution images of the maps in our collection are available to be viewed online.

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WWI Trench Maps & Aerial Photographs

Description:

Most of the maps were produced by the British Ordnance Survey for the Allied forces, although a few German, French and other maps purchased privately by officers exist within the collection.

They range in scale from very detailed operations maps used for trench raids to very broad overview maps used to show the entire front.

The majority of the collection is made up of 1:10,000 scale "trench maps ", 1:20,000 scale "artillery maps", and 1:40,000 scale "officer's planning maps".

The bulk of the collection is from the latter part of the war in the years 1917 and 1918 when map production had increased dramatically. Many are of the Canadian sector of the front during the so-called "Last Hundred Days" of the war (August 1918 - November 1918).

Aerial photograph coverage is scattered over much of the area of conflict in France and Belgium but there is a high concentration of photography in areas around Ypres, Meteren, Messines, Lille and  Wytschaete with some coverage around areas such as Albert, Cambrai, the Hindenburg line, Canal du Nord and Cuinchy brick stacks.

High resolution images are available to be viewed online when searching our collection.

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WWII topos logo

Description:

The more than 3,000 topographic maps in this collection were produced by the British War Office, Geographical Section, General Staff (G.S.G.S.) and the U.S. Army Map Service (A.M.S.) during the war years of 1939-1945. They cover most of Europe at multiple scales.

Although they do not contain military annotations, they provide a rich topographical database of information which can aid the researcher to comprehend puzzling aspects of terrain or to locate vanished villages, road networks and landmarks. They should be of particular interest to historians and genealogists but can also be used by anyone interested in obtaining a visual accompaniment to related texts, documents and records. They represent a valuable primary source of information which can be utilized to support research with many of McMaster's unique archives such as our Holocaust and Resistance Collection.

High resolution images are available to be viewed online when searching our collection.

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Korean War Topographic Maps

Description:

The maps in this collection were produced by the U.S. Army Map Service (A.M.S.) with some sheets published in cooperation with the Republic of Korea Army Map Service (ROKA) between the years 1945-1955. Most of the sheets are dated between the war years of 1950-1953.

Our collection consists of 160 map sheets from the set of nearly 700. Most fall within South Korea and some have more than one edition, bringing the total number of maps in the collection to almost 200. Some maps are monochrome with Sino-Korean characters while later editions tend to be in colour with text in English and place names in romanized letters.

High resolution images are available to be viewed online when searching our collection.

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Local Area Historical Resources

FIP logoFire Insurance Plans

Fire insurance plans are a very unique and detailed type of mapping created by insurance companies beginning in the late 1800s. At that time buildings in cities were still mostly made of wood and fire fighting techniques were rudimentary resulting in a very high risk of fires spreading rapidly through densely populated areas. FIPs were produced for every major city in North America and updated at irregular intervals for a period of about 100 years until the early 1970s when building materials and fire-fighting systems had improved sufficiently to minimize the need for this very detailed and costly sort of mapping.

Today the plans are no longer used for fire insurance purposes but, instead, are used as a highly detailed historical record of the city’s evolution over time.

High resolution images of all plans no longer restricted by copyright are available to be viewed online when searching our collection.

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topographic maps logoTopographic Maps Superseded Editions

Older editions of local topographic maps from approximately each decade dating back to 1909. These are presently not available in digital form. You may view them in paper format in the Lloyd Reeds Map Collection.

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Bird's-Eye View logo19th Century Hamilton Maps & Surveys

Historical maps of the local area dating back to the Augustus Jones survey of 1791. Presently, most of our collection is not available in digital form.

Reproduction copies of these maps may be viewed in
the Lloyd Reeds Map Collection.

Original maps may be viewed in the Library's
Archives & Research Collections Division.

This collection is currently being digitized. To see what high resolution images have been completed you can browse our digital archives.

There is currently no index map or search tool.

Browse the Digital Archives

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airphoto logoAerial Photographs

The collection consists of approximately 18,000 aerial photos covering portions of the local area dating back as far as 1919. The photos may be viewed in paper format in the Lloyd Reeds Map Collection.

High resolution images of all photos no longer restricted by copyright are available to be viewed online when searching our collection.

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city directory logoHamilton City Directories

Residential and commercial address listings for the City of Hamilton dating from 1853 to the current year. These are presently not available in digital form. You may view them in microfilm format in the Lloyd Reeds Map Collection.

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