Celebrating the 150th Anniversary of the Transcontinental Railroad

On May 10, 1869, the last spike of the Transcontinental Railroad was ceremoniously driven in at Promontory Summit, Utah, joining the Central Pacific Railroad and the Union Pacific Railroads to form one continuous railroad to connecting the east to the west. We are recognizing the 150th anniversary of this important event by featuring a few … Continue reading Celebrating the 150th Anniversary of the Transcontinental Railroad

Go Take a Hike! The Appalachian Trail Turns 96 Years Old

March 2019 marked the 96th anniversary of the opening of the first section of the Appalachian Trail which ran from Bear Mountain, New York, to Harriman State Park in Arden, New York. The brainchild of forester Benton MacKaye, the Appalachian Trail, or the “A.T.” as it is widely known, started out as an idea for … Continue reading Go Take a Hike! The Appalachian Trail Turns 96 Years Old

Cartographic Records Relating to African American History

February is African American History Month. All of our Special Media branches hold a variety of records relating to African American history. Today, we are featuring some related records from the Cartographic Branch. The above plan shows the layout for the Freeman's Village that was established on the estate of Confederate General Robert E. Lee, … Continue reading Cartographic Records Relating to African American History

Mapping the Battle of Fredericksburg

In honor of the anniversary of the Battle of Fredericksburg, which was fought December 13, 1862, the Cartographic Branch is highlighting some of its many maps related to Fredericksburg during the Civil War. In the fall of 1862, both armies began concentrating around Fredericksburg, a town halfway between Washington, DC and Richmond, VA.  Union General … Continue reading Mapping the Battle of Fredericksburg

Capturing the Beauty of America’s National Parks: National Park Service Master Plan Covers

August 25th marks the birthday of the National Park Service, which was established on that date in 1916. Over the course of the last 100 plus years, the National Park Service has grown, and now includes over 400 parks, representing America's vast array of natural wonders and significant historic sites. The Cartographic Branch holds a … Continue reading Capturing the Beauty of America’s National Parks: National Park Service Master Plan Covers

Mapping the Battle of Gettysburg

Fought July 1st, 2nd, and 3rd, 1863, the Battle of Gettysburg remains one of the most well known battles in American history. In honor of the 155th anniversary of the battle, we are featuring various maps related to the Battle of Gettysburg.  All of the maps featured in this post are from Record Group (RG) 77, … Continue reading Mapping the Battle of Gettysburg

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!

The Moll Atlas: How the World Appeared in 1721

Among the many treasures tucked away in the Archives is a series of maps known simply as “The Moll Atlas” (RG 76, Series 30).  While the name might not initially scream “excitement”, the Moll Atlas is breathtaking for not only its complexity, but the sheer beauty of the maps themselves.  Unfortunately, this is not the … Continue reading The Moll Atlas: How the World Appeared in 1721

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