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Lehigh University Libraries - Library Guides

Archives at Lehigh University: Maps

Library guide for identifying, understanding and using archival collections, including personal papers, organizational and institutional records; primary and secondary sources.

Maps and Cartography

Maps and atlases are some of the most important primary sources documenting the discoveries of the new territories, development of land, transportation, ways of navigation, communication and interactions of communities. As historical evidences, maps and atlases produced usually based on the first hand accounts of the explorers' travels. Lehigh University Archives holds significant collections of local maps, city views and site plans, aerial photographs, canal and railroad maps and charts, and land ownership documents.

Maps and Atlases in Lehigh Libraries

Ptolemy 1561

Special Collections houses unique  maps and atlases, rare astronomy and  geography books from 12th century to the present day documenting the world, Americas, South Seas, Pennsylvania, Lehigh Valley, and Lehigh Campus. Some of the remarkable examples of the cartographers and their works are Portolan Charts, Julius Solinus, Abraham Ortelius, Ptolemy, Gerhard Mercator, Giovanni Botero, John Speed, to name a few.
ASA Library catalog: Sample rare books with maps and early atlases in library catalog.

  • Digital Projects:

Geology of Lehigh and Northampton Counties, Pennsylvania: Historical Works
Lehigh Portolan Charts in PACSCL Bibliophilly (Bibliotecha Philadelphiensis)
Lehigh Coal and Navigation Company Records (1826-1940)
Digital Scholarly Editions: The North American Atlas (1759-1777)

Several library exhibits with rare maps and atlases presented to the public in Linderman Library, some significant ones are:
The American Environment through Travelers' Eyes (2011)
Cartographic Perspectives: From the New World to Your World (2008)
The Great South Sea (1962)
The Size and Shape of the Earth (1958)


  • Databases - (Requires valid Lehigh username):

Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps - Penn State University Libraries 
The Sanborn Map Company, the best known of the US fire-insurance map producers, has made maps since 1867. The fire insurance maps produced by Sanborn show building footprints, building material, height or number of stories, building use, lot lines, road widths and water facilities. The maps also show street names and property boundaries of the time.

Social Explorer 
Easy access to demographic information about the U.S. Create custom maps and reports. Covers 1790 to present.

Contains over 3 million references to geoscience journal articles, books, maps, conference papers, reports and theses.

Bloomsbury Architecture Library
E-books, maps, building pages, timelines, and articles about architecture, urbanism, and interior design.

Data-Planet Statistical Ready Reference 
This database is designed to allow users to quickly navigate the 35 billion points of data contained in the repository, representing 4.9 billion datasets covering thousands of geographic entities. With Data-Planet Statistical Ready Reference, users can quickly search and view charts, maps, and rankings of time series at the country, state, county, MSA, postal code, and census-tract/block group levels.

Lehigh Valley Historical Map Collections

Lehigh Valley Historic Map Collection on Lehigh Valley Engaged Humanities Consortium
Collection of historic local maps from the archives, libraries and museums in Lehigh Valley (ongoing collaborative project)

Campus Maps

Freshman Handbook Maps of Bethlehem (South and North) 1890s - 1950s: Student handbooks were published by various University offices, departments, clubs and committees for the orientation of first year students to academic and social life including the surrounding Bethlehem area. These maps served as campus and neighborhood guides.

Visitor Guides and Campus Maps: 1960s to 2020s


Maps about Pennsylvania, Lehigh Valley and Environs

More comprehensive Pennsylvania map resources can be found at the LibGuide by Heather Ross, Penn State Libraries

State Maps