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New to Maps?

For someone interested in learning more about maps or how to start a collection, there are a huge number of books, articles, blogs, and digitized map collections available online. To get started, it is best to focus on a few of these and move outward as you increasingly decide to hone on special areas of interest. The following are some suggestions to start:

General Books for Beginners Interested in Maps

Collecting Old Maps, by F.J. Manasek, revised and expanded second edition by Marti Griggs and Curt Griggs, Clarkdale, Arizona: Old Maps Press, 2015. (An important, basic reference to anyone interesting in collecting old maps.)

Collecting Antique Maps: An Introduction to the History of Cartography, by Jonathan Potter, London: J. Potter Ltd, 2002 (includes a general price guide)

The Mapmakers, by John Noble Wilford, New York: A.A. Knopf, 2000. (Revised edition -- the first was published in 1981; a well-written introduction to the story of maps)

Mapping the World: an Illustrated History, by Ralph Ehrenberg, National Geographic Books, 2005

A Guide to Collecting Antique Maps, by Christopher W. Lane (with D.H. Cresswell), Philadelphia Print Shop, 1997

Globes: 400 Years of Exploration, Navigation and Power, by Sylvia Sumira, University of Chicago Press, 2014 (by a noted globe restorer, based on the British Library's collection.)


Tony Campbell’s Extensive “Map History / History of Cartography” provides information on almost all aspects of cartography, including links to many topics, including collecting, the marketplace, societies, images, family history, research and lots more. 

John Docktor’s comprehensive site of worldwide events and exhibits

For Collectors

Provided by Old World Auctions, “11 Secrets to Map Collecting” 

A good way to learn more about collecting maps to visit the websites of dealers, some of whom have very useful background information, and one can view what is being offered for sale. A number of dealers advertise in the Washington Map Society’s Portolan journal. Just click here for a list links to their websites. 

Digital Map Collections in Libraries

These are excellent places to learn more about maps. There are many - this is just a short list to start!

Library of Congress (Geography and Map Division)

British Library 

David Rumsey Map Collection 

Newberry Library 

American Geographical Society, University of Wisconsin/Milwaukee 

Osher Map Library, University of Southern Maine 

Boston Public Library, Leventhal Map Collection 

Oxford University’s Bodleian Library

Want to Explore More?

On this website, see:

Links of Cartographic Interest

Places to See Maps

Some Articles and Papers

Recent Publications

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