If you have ever visited Washington, D.C., one of the most striking features of the city is the National Mall and the area surrounding it. If you stand in the middle of the mall and look due east, you will find yourself facing the stately white dome of the Capitol Building. From there, if you … Continue reading The Only Constant in the Nation’s Capital is Change!
Maybe it is my past as a field archaeologist and a museum geek, but I love a good collection! Projectile points, pottery shards, fossils, drawings, or maps - groupings of things, especially old things catch my eye. So, how was I to resist writing about it when I came across a collection of beautiful drawings … Continue reading The Washington National Monument – A National Contest for a National Monument
There’s just something about old maps – some ineffable quality that draws the attention and makes one stop and bend closer to see what is there……and what’s not there. Has the landscape changed? Are towns missing or are towns shown that no longer exist? Is it engraved or is it a manuscript map? Are there … Continue reading Travelling Back in Time to the New York City of 1767-1768 via the Ratzen Map
While we frequently share interesting early maps from the Cartographic Branch holdings, today we wanted to focus on some of Cartographic's more recent maps. The RG 263 CIA Published Maps (also called the CIA Numbered Maps or Numerical Series) is made up of over 22,000 declassified maps. These maps date primarily from the 1940s to … Continue reading RG 263 CIA Published Maps: A Digitization Project In Progress
The RG 241: Restored Patents (NAID 305885) are finally here and available for viewing and download via the National Archives catalog! In addition to containing some very detailed and colorful images, this series is particularly interesting because of its unique background. In 1836, the Patent Office was being housed in the Blodget Hotel in Washington, … Continue reading RG 241: Restored Patents Now Fully Digitized and Available Online!
Deep in the stacks of the Cartographic Branch at Archives II, nestled in RG 76, is a series entitled “Maps and Records Pertaining to the Northeastern Boundary of the United States”. This series contains manuscript maps and drawings of various locations along the border, including a set of spectacular color drawings and manuscript maps offering … Continue reading RG 76: Maps and Records Pertaining to the Northeastern Boundary of the United States – An Artistic Glimpse of Past
The Cartographic Branch holds thousands of drawings, plans, and maps relating to forts, fortifications, and other military structures. These can be found in a variety of record groups and series, including RG 77 Fortification Map File (NAID 305749), RG 77 Miscellaneous Forts File (NAID 305806), RG 92 Post and Reservation Maps (NAID 305818), RG 92 … Continue reading Civil War Defenses of Washington Fort Plans Now Available Online
Always a staff favorite, the Polus Antarcticus atlas page, found within the Cartographic Branch's holdings, shows an early map of the South Pole region and includes interesting (although rather inaccurate) illustrations that decorate the edges of the map. The Cartographic Branch actually holds two copies of this historically significant map. Both can be found within … Continue reading Chronicling Cartographic’s Oldest Record: The Polus Antarcticus Map
The Cartographic Branch is digitizing the Record Group 77, War Department Map Collection (NAID 305808), which consists of maps of both the United States and foreign areas. At this time, only the maps relating to the United States have been digitized, although we hope to digitized the foreign maps in the future. The United States … Continue reading Highlights from the War Department Map Collection
Horsepower! We hear this common phrase everyday associated with everything from cars to lawn mowers to available human capital. It's all about power and the power to get things done. While today the term "horse power" typically refers to the power of an engine in a car or truck and is a single, compound word, … Continue reading Fire Up the Horses and Let ’em Run! Early Representations of Horsepower from RG 241: Restored Patents