Hiding in Plain Sight: The FDR Interstate Highway Map

Sometimes, the most extraordinary maps can be “hiding” in plain sight, passed by, overlooked because they are a bit plain on the surface.  However, once you know the real story behind the map, it can take on a whole different meaning and look completely new and exciting.  One such map that fits this description can … Continue reading Hiding in Plain Sight: The FDR Interstate Highway Map

Boston, 1775: A City Under Siege!

Of all the record groups in the Cartographic Department's holdings, one of the most interesting and varied is RG 77.   This record group, with its myriad of smaller series, holds many Revolutionary War, Civil War and Civil War-era maps, (both printed and manuscript), drawings and schematics of forts, posts, and reservations, and original designs for … Continue reading Boston, 1775: A City Under Siege!

Building Fort Sumter

Fort Sumter will forever go down in history as the location of the opening shots of the Civil War on April 12, 1861. The Cartographic Branch holds architectural plans and drawings associated with the construction of forts throughout our nation's history. This includes numerous plans relating to Fort Sumter's lengthy construction. Today we are featuring … Continue reading Building Fort Sumter

Ironclad Navies: The USS Monitor and CSS Virginia during the Civil War

March 9 marks the famous meeting of the Civil War ironclad ships the USS Monitor and the CSS Virginia at Hampton Roads, Virginia. The Cartographic Branch holds numerous plans and maps relating to the Battle of Hampton Roads and to the Civil War ironclads and ships involved in the battle. This post highlights some of … Continue reading Ironclad Navies: The USS Monitor and CSS Virginia during the Civil War

Jedediah Hotchkiss: Mapmaker of the Confederacy

The Cartographic Branch holds numerous maps created by noted Civil War mapmaker Jedediah Hotchkiss. Born in Windsor, New York, Hotchkiss moved to the Shenandoah Valley in Virginia prior to the Civil War. He worked as a tutor and eventually founded and opened two schools. Although not professionally trained in geography or cartography, Hotchkiss studied map-making … Continue reading Jedediah Hotchkiss: Mapmaker of the Confederacy

Cartographic’s Favorites of 2017

Co-written with Amy Edwards The Cartographic Branch holds a wide variety of materials. While working with these documents for reference requests, projects, or research room requests, our staff comes across some very cool and significant documents. Today, we are featuring a few of our favorite records that we've come across this year. We hope that … Continue reading Cartographic’s Favorites of 2017

The Haunted Archives

To celebrate Halloween, we took a look in our cartographic records at the National Archives to see if we could find any spooky records. We came across the following Utility Patent Drawings which certainly help to set the mood for the Halloween season. A number of jack-o'-lantern designs came up in the patent drawings. You … Continue reading The Haunted Archives

RG 109 Confederate Maps Series Now Digitized and Available Online!

Civil War maps are always popular at the National Archives, and the Cartographic Branch is pleased to announce the digitization of over 100 Confederate maps from Record Group (RG) 109.  All are now available to view or download through our online catalog. Maps played a very important role during the Civil War. They were instrumental to … Continue reading RG 109 Confederate Maps Series Now Digitized and Available Online!

Maps of the Great War: Army Cartography in World War I

One of the most illuminating groups of records found in the Cartographic Branch at the National Archives is Record Group 120: Records of the American Expeditionary Forces (World War I), 1848 - 1942 (seen in our catalog here). These records cover many different aspects of the war. Included are maps from various United States army … Continue reading Maps of the Great War: Army Cartography in World War I

Mapping the Civil War: Antietam and South Mountain

The Cartographic Branch holds many maps relating to Civil War battlefields. Today we’re highlighting some maps relating to the battles of Antietam and South Mountain. The battle of South Mountain took place just east of Sharpsburg, Maryland, on September 14, 1862, only days before the larger and better known battle of Antietam. At South Mountain, … Continue reading Mapping the Civil War: Antietam and South Mountain