Historical & Rare Maps

The historical and rare maps in the Lloyd Reeds Map Collection span the years between 1486 and the end of the Cold War in 1990. 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. Original maps may be viewed in the Library's Archives and Research Collections Division. High resolution, scanned images of the maps are available to be viewed online and freely downloaded for non-commercial purposes.

You may also be interested in...a series of lectures on historical cartography by McMaster University Library's Map Specialist, Gord Beck.


McMaster University Library has just acquired permanent access to the digitized archives of the Royal Geographical Society (1478 to 1953). This digital database contains a range of primary sources, searchable manuscripts, correspondence, reports, conference papers, proceedings, maps, charts, atlases, photographs, surveys, data and ephemera produced by the researchers and members of RGS. The history of geography throughout the British Empire in all its aspects is represented in this collection, which also focuses on environmental history, exploration, colonization and decolonization, anthropology, law, climate science, gender studies and cartography.