Established 1976


Learn about maps: References

Suggested Readings

This is a small selection from the extensive literature on old maps and atlases. It was put together primarily by looking through our reference library and choosing books we thought would be representative of the diverse interests of map scholars and collectors. This list is intended to offer starting points for further inquiry rather than to be comprehensive. A number of the books noted here have extensive bibliographies which will be helpful to anyone who wants to study the subject more deeply. Corrections and updates to information in this list will be appreciated.

Most books in this list are out-of-print, but can be found in libraries or obtained from out-of-print booksellers. We maintain a stock of map reference books in our gallery. A partial listing is on this website. Please contact us if you are looking for a particular book.


Books in this category range from introductory handbooks to detailed, scholarly works.
    Bagrow, Leo and Skelton, R.A. History of Cartography. London: C.A. Watts, 1964; reprinted (with corrections) Cambridge, Mass: Harvard University Press, 1966. Many plates. Second edition with added illustrations: Chicago, 1985.

      Considered by many to be a classic as it is the first attempt at a comprehensive one-volume history of the field. Based on Leo Bagrow's Geschichte der Kartographie, Safari Verlag: Berlin, 1951 (the first edition of 1944 was destroyed by fire); it was revised and augmented by R.A. Skelton, late Superintendent of the Map Room at the British Museum. Not the easiest read, it covers a lot of ground from earliest times to 1750. The 54-page list of early mapmakers, and the many illustrations add to the books utility. The second edition contains a number of illustrations apparently intended for the 1951 book, but not included then or in 1964.

    Baynton-Williams, Roger. Investing in Maps. London & NY: Clarkson N Potter, 1969 (paperback edition London & NY: Corgi Books, 1971).

      Despite the title, this is a nice introductory work with many illustrations. Price information is for a generation ago, and is mostly found in a two-page section at the back of the book. Here's your chance to be a Monday morning quarterback -- in 1968 a John Speed atlas sold for £2100 (see also Humphreys below) and single road maps by Ogilby were £3 to £12.

    Brown, Lloyd A. The Story of Maps. Boston: Little, Brown & Co., 1949. Reprinted several times; the Dover paperback at $16.95 is a bargain.

      More about the circumstances which led to the creation of maps than about the maps themselves. Excellent background with an extensive bibliography which has been the starting point for many a research paper. Readable. See also Thrower, Maps and Man below.

    Campbell,Tony. Early Maps. NY: Abbeville Pres, 1981.

      While having a coffee-table-book appearance, the excellent text and fine illustrations of 68 beautiful maps from the British Library and the National Maritime Museum make this very worthwhile for anyone interested in maps. The text does a fine job of putting the maps in their historical context.

    Crone, G.R. Maps and Their Makers. Folkestone, Kent and Hamden, CT: Wm. Dawson & Son, Ltd. and Archon Books, 1978. Various editions from 1953 to 1978. The 5th (final) edition is the only one with illustrations.

      The author, formerly Librarian and Map Curator of the Royal Geographic Society, doesn't try to be as comprehensive as Bagrow-Skelton, but provides a good outline of map history with well-chosen examples.

    Denucé, Jan. Oud-Nederlandsche Kaartmakers in betrekking met Plantijn. Antwerp: De Nederlandsche Boekhandel and 's Gravenhage: Martinus Nijhoff, 1912-13. 2 volumes. 19 uncolored plates. Reprinted 1964.

      An early study of mapmakers in the Low Countries. Makes use of the detailed records preserved in the Plantin Museum, Antwerp. Dutch text.

    Harley, J.B. and Woodward, David (editors). The History of Cartography. Chicago & London: University of Chicago Press, 1987- . Six volumes. At this time Volume 1 (Pre-history to Medieval Europe); Volume 2, Part 1 (Islamic & South Asian); Volume 2, Part 2 (East & Southeast Asian Societies); and Volume 2, Part 3 (African, America, Arctic, Australian & Pacific Societies) have been published. Work is well under way for: Volume 3 (European Renaissance), Volume 4 (European Enlightenment), Volume 5 (19th Century), and Volume 6 (20th Century).

      A monumental work in progress. Outstanding scholarship. Dense reading; highly informative. When completed (circa 2010?), a one-volume "popular" version is planned. As of 2003 this series is priced at $175.00 to $195.00 per volume.

        Help the History of Cartography Project

      The History of Cartography series published by the University of Chicago Press requests your help for its research. Your tax-deductible gift will be acknowledged in a future volume. Gifts are matched by the National Endowment for the Humanities. Please send checks payable to "University of Wisconsin Foundation" to: History of Cartography Project, 550 North Park Street, University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI 53706-1491, USA. Tel: 608-263-3992; Fax: 608-263-0762. For more information go to the Project's Home Page:

    Harvey, P.D.A. The History of Topographical Maps Symbols, Pictures and Surveys. London: Thames & Hudson Ltd., 1980.

      Primarily about the origins of map-making. Considers many non-European maps.

    Humphreys, Arthur L. Old Decorative Maps and Charts. London: Halton & Truscott Smith Ltd and NY: Minton, Balch & Co, 1926. Limited edition of 1500. Reprinted 1989 (NY: Dorset Press) with an introduction by Jonathan Potter. Many illustrations.

      Based on the MacPherson collection now in the National Maritime Museum (Greenwich, England). One of the first books for map collectors; many interesting comments. "Nearly all [John] Speed maps now sold are coloured skillfully...but by present day colourists." Also discusses the market, noting that a contemporary colored atlas by Speed's would cost at least £150! See also Skelton, Decorative Printed Maps below.

    Lister, Raymond. Old Maps & Globes. London: Bell & Hyman, 1979. First published as How to Identify Old Maps and Globes, London: G. Bell & Sons Ltd., 1965 & 1970.

      A good general work. Of note are a chapter on watermarks, and a list of several thousand mapmakers from circa 1500 to 1850.

    Lynam, Edward. The Mapmaker's Art Essays on the History of Maps. London: G. Bell & Sons, Ltd., 1953.

      Well-written. Primarily about English mapping; chapters on ornament and symbols in maps, Flemish engravers in England, South Sea Buccaneers, early days in the Bahamas.

    Manasek, F.J. Collecting Old Maps Norwich, VT: Terra Nova Press, 1998. Many illustrations.

      Distinct from most other map books and highly recommended for collectors, as primary emphasis is on practical aspects of collecting rather on map history. Chapters include "Names of map parts," "Condition and conservation," "Prices--The markets speak." Appendices include lists of mapmakers, suggested references, a glossary, useful addresses and sources. This book is out of print.

    Moreland, Carl and Bannister, David. Antique Maps. London: The Longman Group, 1983. Illustrated. Later editions Oxford: Phaidon-Christie's Ltd., 1986 & 1989.

    A very good book with short biographies of many map-makers. The 3rd edition has added many names. Only the 1st edition has the text describing auctions. Starting with the second edition, publication was taken over by Phaidon-Christie's Limited; at that time a brief, matter-of-fact section about buying and selling at auction was deleted. Pelletier, Monique. Tours et Contours de la Terre: Itinéraires d'une femme au coeur de la cartographie. Paris: Presses de l'école nationale des Ponts et chaussees, 1999.
      A collection of essays by Monique Pelletier, former Head of the Departement des Cartes et Plans of the Bibliothèque Nationale. The essays are grouped by theme. Among the many subjects covered are globes, the representation of relief, the world maps of Oronce Fine, and Cassini. French text.
    Potter, Jonathan. Country Life Book of Antique Maps. London: Hamlyn Group Ltd., 1988. Reprinted Secaucus, NJ: Chartwell Books Inc, 1989. Many illustrations.
      A very good introductory work. A new edition (London: Jonathan Potter Ltd., 1999) has been published as Collecting Antique Maps with short chapters added on 19th century maps and on map collecting today. A revised edition with a price guide keyed to the book's illustrations was published in 2001. In print.
    Skelton, R.A. Decorative Printed Maps. London & NY: Staples Press, 1952. Reprinted (London: Spring Books, 1965) in slightly smaller format. Illustrated.
      A revision of Humphreys Old Decorative Maps and Charts above, with most of the same illustrations. A good general work. The dustjacket, if present at all, is usually in wretched condition.
    Skelton, R.A. Explorers' Maps: Chapters in the Cartographic Record of Geographical Discovery. London: Kegan Paul, Ltd. & NY: Frederick A. Praeger, 1958. Illustrated.
      The 1970 reprint (London & NY, Hamlyn Publishing Group Ltd.) has inferior illustrations. The title says it all; an excellent book. See also Whitfield, New Found Lands below.
    Thrower, Norman J.W. Maps and Man: An Examination of Cartography in Relation to Culture and Civilization. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, Inc., 1972. The revised and enlarged 1996 edition (Chicago & London: University of Chicago Press) is entitled Maps and Civilization: Cartography in Culture and Society. Illustrated.
      Very good background (similar in approach to Lloyd Brown's Story of Maps above). Pays a good deal of attention to non-European cartography.
    Tooley, R.V. Maps and Map-Makers. London, B.T. Batsford Ltd., 1949. Numerous illustrations. Many editions published with little change except to the introduction.
      This has been a standard reference since it first appeared - for decades every map dealer had a copy on his desk. Convenient for quickly looking up names of map-makers and their works. A nice short history of mapmaking. Continues to be useful.
    Tooley, R.V. Tooley's Dictionary of Mapmakers. NY: Alan R. Liss, Inc. & Amsterdam: Meridian Publishing Company, 1979. Supplement (same publishers), 1985.
      Brief listings of persons involved in map production. Useful for tracking down obscure cartographers, engravers, publishers, etc. Also handy for basic information on well-known mapmakers. Despite inconsistencies in alphabetization of names and presentation of information, it is appropriate for dealers, librarians and others who are frequently exposed to a wide range of cartographic material. Happily, a projected four-volume revision edited by Josephine French with Valerie Scott and Mary Alice Lowenthal is well under way. The first two volumes (A-D) and (E-J) have been published. The new edition is a significant improvement with better organization and more comprehensive descriptions. It is recommended for serious students of map history. In print at $113.00 per volume.
    Whitfield, Peter. New Found Lands: Maps in the History of Exploration. London: The British Library & NY: Routledge, 1998. Many beautiful illustrations.
      The text does not always reference the illustrations, and one must sometimes use the index to find a picture of the map being discussed. This book should be thought of as a nicely-written history of exploration illustrated with maps. In contrast, Skelton's Explorers' Maps (above) is more focused on the maps themselves.
    Woodward, David (editor). Five Centuries of Map Printing. Chicago & London: University of Chicago Press, 1975. Six essays on map printing processes.
      While there is an extensive literature on book printing, the printing of maps was overlooked for years. This book, originally part of the Kenneth Nebenzahl, Jr. Lectures in the History of Cartography, is a fundamental work on the subject. It was printed in both hardcover and paperback versions. Very useful for anyone wishing to understand the production processes for early mapmaking.


    Imago Mundi: The International Journal for the History of Cartography. London: Imago Mundi Ltd. 1935 - .
      Begun by Leo Bagrow in Berlin, this remains the principal scholarly journal in the field. Besides the articles, there are extensive book reviews, reports and notices on events. Regrettably, a comprehensive index is not available. Published annually. Subscriptions are £30.00 ($60.00). Contact the Secretary & Treasurer, Imago Mundi Ltd., c/o Map Library, The British Library, 96 Euston Road, London NW1 2DB, UK. E-mail:
    The Map Collector. Tring, Herts., UK: Map Collector Publications Ltd. 1977-1996.
      Published quarterly for nearly 20 years, TMC was must reading for collectors and dealers. The articles were for the most part carefully vetted, the advertisements were a virtual directory of dealers, and the news was interesting. An excellent index was created for the first 60 issues. When the magazine was sold, the index was discontinued. Runs of the 74 issues are sometimes available in the out-of-print market.
    R.V. Tooley (editor), Map Collectors' Circle Series. London: R.V. Tooley, 1963-75. 110 monographs on a variety of map-related subjects.
      Besides maps of many regions, topics included works of specific mapmakers, playing cards on maps, town plans, portraits of geographers, title pages, etc. Much, though not all, of the material later found its way into books. Runs are sometimes available in the out-of-print market.
    Mapline, Chicago: The Hermon Dunlap Smith Center for the History of Cartography at The Newberry Library, 1976 - .
      Contains news, notes, articles on unusual maps, book reviews, etc. Issued 2 to 4 times per year. Annual subscriptions are $10.00 in the US, Canada and Mexico; $15.00 elsewhere. Membership in the Chicago, Michigan and Rocky Mountain Map Societies includes a subscription to Mapline. Contact: The Newberry Library, 60 West Walton Street, Chicago, IL 60610-3380, USA. email:

    Mercator's World, Eugene, OR: Aster Publishing Corp., 1996 - . Published bi-monthly. Articles on a variety of map-related topics. Illustrated. Subscriptions $39.95. Aster Publishing Corp., 845 Willamette Street, Eugene, OR 97401 USA.

      Quality and consistency of articles has improved in recent years and now is comparable to the old Map Collector Magazine.

    In addition to the above, several map societies produce newsletters. The Washington Map Society has been particularly energetic. Their journal is The Portolan which is published three times a year. Subscriptions are included with membership in the Society. For additional information or back issues, contact: Thomas F. Sander, Editor, The Portolan, Washington Map Society, P.O. Box 10793, Burke, VA 22009-0793 USA. Phone: 703 426 2880 International: +1 703 426 2880; Fax: 703 426 2881 International: +1 703 426 2881;



    Nordenskiold, A.E., Facsimile-Atlas To The Early History of Cartography with Reproductions of the Most Important Maps Printed in the XV and XVI Centuries...Translated From The Swedish Original... Stockholm, 1889. The large paperback reprint (NY: Dover, 1973) contains a new introduction by J.B. Post, Map Librarian of the Free Library of Philadelphia.

      This was one of the few references on early world maps until Rodney Shirley's magnificent book was published (see below). Nordenskiold covers more diverse material than Shirley, but many important world maps are discussed and illustrated. This remains a worthy book, both for its content and for its significance as a founding work in cartographic studies. In his introduction Post states " is with the publication of this Facsimile-Atlas... that the modern historical study of cartography can be said to begin."

    Shirley, Rodney W. The Mapping of the World: Early Printed World Maps 1472-1700. London: Holland Press, 1983. Reprinted 1987, 1993 and 2001 with new prefaces containing updated information.

      The definitive carto-bibliography of pre-1700 world maps. Most maps are illustrated. In print at $300.00

    Africa top

    Cartwright, Janet Findlay. Maps of Southern Africa in Printed Books 1750-1856. Cape Town: University of Cape Town Libraries, 1976.

      Originally prepared as a study for a post-graduate Diploma in Librarianship at the University of Cape Town, this small pamphlet carefully describes 122 maps. Indexed.

    Cartwright, Margaret Findlay. Maps of Southern Africa in Printed Books 1550-1750. Cape Town: University of Cape Town Libraries, 1976.

      Similar to preceding; describes 91 maps. Indexed.

    Norwich, Oscar I. Maps of Southern Africa. Johannesburg: Ad. Donker (Pty) Ltd, 1993.

      A short (88 pages), but attractive book. It starts with a summary history followed by representative examples of maps of the region. The color illustrations are well done.

    Stone, Jeffrey C. (editor). Norwich's Maps of Africa, Norwich, VT: Terra Nova Press, 1997. Revised edition of Norwich, Oscar I. Maps of Africa: An illustrated and annotated carto-bibliography. Johannesburg: Ad. Donker (Pty) Ltd, 1983.

      Based on the late Dr. Norwich's outstanding collection of maps of Africa. Hundreds of entries, each illustrated and with a short essay. The revised edition adds an introductory history and an addendum which lists 83 folding maps of Africa from the 19th and 20th centuries. 1997 edition in print at $140.00.

    Tooley, R.V. Collectors' Guide to Maps of The African Continent and Southern Africa. London: Carta Press, 1969. Illustrated.

      A useful listing of African maps by the major European cartographers; a few color illustrations and 100 uncolored plates. Largely drawn from material Tooley published in The Map Collectors' Circle Series (see Periodicals).


    Burden, Philip D. The Mapping of North America 1511-1670. Rickmansworth, Herts.: Raleigh Publications, 1996. Illustrated.

      A cartobibliography describing and illustrating every map from 1511 to 1670 which shows North America north of Mexico. Remarkably accurate and comprehensive. A decade-long labor; very useful to collectors, dealers and librarians. A fine complement to Schwartz & Ehrenberg below. We carry this book at $195.00. A second volume continuing to 1700 is planned.

    McLaughlin, Glen with Mayo, Nancy H. The Mapping of California as an Island: An Illustrated Checklist. Saratoga, CA: The California Map Society, 1995. Illustrated.

      While focused on one remarkable cartographic fallacy, this is also an excellent list of early maps of the Americas. In print at $45.00.

    Phillips, Philip Lee. A List of Maps of America in the Library of Congress. Washington: Library of Congress, 1901. Reprinted Amsterdam: Theatrum Orbis Terrarum Ltd, 1967 and Mansfield Centre, CT: Martino Publishing, 1995.

      Arranged alphabetically by place name. Lacks an index. Includes both maps from atlases and separately-published maps.

    Ristow, Walter W. (editor), A la Carte: Selected Papers on Maps and Atlases. Washington: Library of Congress, 1972. Illustrated.

      Twenty articles from the Quarterly Journal of the Library of Congress, most dealing with American mapping. Among the articles are cartobibliographies by Lawrence Martin of John Mitchell's 1755 map of British and French Dominions in North America (used at negotiations for the Treaty of Paris, 1783) and of John Disturnell's Map of the United Mexican States (used at negotiations for the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, 1848). Both maps were reissued many times and the articles are helpful in sorting out the various states.

    Ristow, Walter W. American Maps and Mapmakers... Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 1985. Illustrated.

      Good coverage of 19th century American commercial cartographers.

    Schwartz, Seymour and Ehrenberg, Ralph. Mapping of America. NY: Harry N. Abrams, Inc., 1980. Numerous illustrations.

      A well-written survey of the cartography of North America from the discovery period to the 20th century. A must for American collectors. We have the 2001 reprint in stock at $40.00.

    Tooley, R.V. Mapping of America. London: Holland Press, 1980.

      Despite having the same title as Schwartz & Ehrenberg above, this book is very different. It is primarily a collection of monographs originally published in The Map Collectors' Circle Series [see Periodicals] on selected aspects of the cartography of America such as "French Mapping of the Americas," "California as an Island," "Smith's Virginia and its Derivatives," "The Jansson-Visscher Maps of New England," etc. New chapters deal with "Mapping of the Great Lakes" and "Identification of the maps of America in various editions of the Theatrum of Ortelius.

    Winsor, Justin. Narrative and Critical History of America. Boston & NY: Houghton, Mifflin Company, 1889. Eight volumes. Many illustrations.

      Not specifically a cartographic reference, but frequently describes maps and their sources. Often has useful information on otherwise obscure material.


    Armstrong, Joe C.W. From Sea Unto Sea: Art & Discovery Maps of Canada. Scarborough, Ontario: Fleet Publishers, 1982.

      38 maps from 1556 to 1851, each with a full page illustration and description, showing the development of Canada.

    Kershaw, Kenneth A. Early Printed Maps of Canada I. 1540-1703. Ancaster, Ontario: Kershaw Publishing, 1993.

      Contains much useful information on editions and variants. However, it is sometimes difficult to follow due to the layout. Some illustrations lack clarity. There is an index to map titles, but not to mapmakers; the latter are found by reading chapter listings in the table of contents. The first in a series of books on maps of Canada. Later volumes in this series not seen by us.

    United Statestop

    Cohen, Paul E. Mapping the West America's Westward Movement 1524-1890. NY: Rizzoli International Publications, Inc., 2003. With an introduction by David Rumsey.

      Sixty-five significant maps have been selected to show the sweep of the development of America's West. The maps are divided into sections, each with an short introduction. Then each map has a full-page or larger illustration and an essay describing it and its place in history. In print at $50.00.

    Cumming, William P. The Southeast in Early Maps. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1958.

      Reissued 1962 with additional material. The basic reference on early maps of the Southeast. Illustrated. The third edition revised and enlarged by Louis De Vorsey, Jr. (Chapel Hill & London: University of North Carolina Press, 1998) is in print at $90.00.

    Karpinski, Louis C. Maps of Famous Cartographers Depicting North America: An historical Atlas of the Great Lakes and Michigan, with bibliography of the printed maps of Michigan to 1880. Lansing: Michigan Historical Commission, 1931. Illustrated. Reprinted Amsterdam: Meridian Publishing Company, 1977 and Mansfield Centre, CT: Martino Publishing, 2003.

      The principal work on early mapping of the Great Lakes region. The 2002 reprint includes the scarce atlas which originally accompanied the book. The 2002 reprint is priced at $110.00.

    Martin, James C. & Martin, Robert Sidney. Maps of Texas and the Southwest, 1513-1900. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1984.

      Contains an introductory essay with fifty significant maps illustrated and described.

    Stokes, I. N. Phelps, The Iconography of Manhattan Island 1498 - 1909. Compiled from Original Sources and Illustrated by Photo-Intaglio Reproductions of Important Maps Plans Views and Documents in Public and Private Collections. New York: Robert H. Dodd, 1915-1928.

      A comprehensive six-volume folio illustrated history of Manhattan published from 1915 to 1928, this sweeping survey presents detailed chronologies and summaries of historical events and personages interspersed throughout with maps, documents, photographs, engravings, and other illustrations. The final volume contains an addenda, bibliography, and index to the entire work. This magnificent work was published in a limited edition of 360 sets which are now scarce and cost many thousands of dollars. Reprinted in 1967 by the Arno Press and again in 1998 by Martino publishing in a limited edition We have the 1998 reprint in stock at $585.00.

    Wheat, Carl I. Mapping the Transmississippi West, 1540-1861. Five volumes in six. 199 plates (29 folding, 5 colored). San Francisco: Institute for Historical Cartography, 1957-63. Reprinted Mansfield Centre, CT: Martino Publishing, 1996.

      Definitive work on mapping of the American West. A fine production now quite costly in the out-of-print market. In the reprint all plates are uncolored. The 1996 reprint is now out-of-print; used copies start at about $850.00; the first edition is several times that.

    Wheat, James Clements and Brun, Christian F. Maps and Charts Published in America Before 1800 A Bibliography. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1969. Revised edition, London: Holland Press, 1978.

      Very useful. A surprising number of maps were published in the United States prior to 1800. Organized by area mapped. Index of mapmakers.

    Asia and Pacifictop

    Cortazzi, Hugh. Isles of Gold Antique Maps of Japan. NY & Tokyo: John Weatherhill, Inc., 1983.

      This handsome work by Britain's former Ambassador to Japan is among the few English-language books on maps of this fascinating land. The text provides an overview while the many maps illustrated include both western and Japanese productions.

    Quirino, Carlos. Philippine Cartography (1320-1899) . Amsterdam: N. Israel, 1963 & 1969.

      The first part of the book is a discussion of the early mapping of the Philippines; the second part is an extensive list of charts. Illustrated.

    Suarez, Thomas. Early Mapping of Southeast Asia. Singapore: Periplus Editions (HK) Ltd., 1999.

      Exceptionally thorough; goes from earliest times to the 19th century. Discusses the peoples and the geography of the region in great detail, putting maps in their cultural and historic perspective. The illustrations (many in color) are excellent. Includes material unfamiliar to most western readers. In print at $65.00.

    Walter, Lutz (editor). Japan A Cartographic Vision: European Printed Maps from the Early 16th to the 19th Century. Munich and NY: Prestel-Verlag, 1994. First published in German, 1993.

      Produced in conjunction with an exhibit on behalf of the German East-Asiatic Society (OAG) this fine book contains essays on various aspects of European mapping of Japan, a catalogue of the maps exhibited, and a list of pre-1800 European maps of Japan - the latter being particularly useful for collectors. Well-illustrated.

    Wroth, Lawrence C. The Early Cartography of the Pacific. NY: the Bibliographical Society of America, 1944.

      Originally published in the Papers of the Bibliographical Society of America, Volume Thirty-Eight, Number Two. Reprinted Mansfield Centre, CT: Martino Publishing, 1999. This is a fundamental reference on early mapping of this region. Includes a 30-page list of maps mentioned in the text and a number of plates. 1999 reprint is $75.00.


    Tooley, R.V. The Mapping of Australia and Antarctica. London: The Holland Press Ltd., 1979.

      The revised 1985 edition has an addendum on early Antarctica. Extensive lists of maps with comments on variant editions. As with Tooley's book on America this is a collection of monographs originally published in The Map Collectors' Circle Series [see Periodicals], 256 black and white plates.

    European countries


    There is a wealth of material on British cartography, including many detailed studies of mapping by county. Below are a few works of more general interest. See also Chubb and Skelton under Atlases.

    Howgego, James. Printed Maps of London circa 1553-1850. First edition with Ida Darlington, London, George Philip & Son Ltd, 1964. Second edition by Howgego, London: Wm. Dawson & Sons Ltd., 1978.

      The standard reference on London maps. There is a nice introduction, and the extensive listings include comments on variants and editions. Very useful.

    Hyde, Ralph. Printed Maps of Victorian London 1851-1900. London: Wm. Dawson & Sons Ltd., 1975.

      Carries on where Howgego above left off. Maintains the same high standard.

    Shirley, Rodney W. Early Printed Maps of the British Isles A Bibliography 1477-1650. London: The Holland Press Ltd, 1980.

      A thorough and meticulous work on general maps of the British Isles. 88 uncolored plates.

    Shirley, Rodney W. Printed Maps of the British Isles 1650-1750. Tring: Map Collector Publications and London: The British Library, 1988.

      Continuation of the preceding. Numerous illustrations.

    Tyacke, Sarah. London Map-Sellers 1660-1720 A collection of advertisements for maps placed in the London Gazette 1668-1719 with biographical notes on the map-sellers. Tring: Map Collector Publications Ltd, 1978.

      Many intriguing bits of information can be gleaned from both the advertisements and the biographies. The index is essential to tracking down information. 17 uncolored plates.


    Zacharakis, Christos G. A Catalogue of Printed Maps of Greece 1477-1800. Nicosia, Cyprus: The A.G. Leventis Foundation, 1982.

      The 196 page catalog is followed by 500 plates (generally two per page) illustrating the maps. An excellent work. A expanded edition was published in 1992 (not seen by us).

    Low Countriestop

    Heijden, H.A.M. van der. The Oldest Maps of the Netherlands: An illustrated and annotated carto-bibliography of the 16th century maps of the XVII Provinces. Utrecht: HES Publishers, 1987.

      Well-organized text discussing early maps of the Netherlands with many illustrations, followed by detailed descriptions of 50 maps. Includes notes on variants, editions. There are indexes of both personal names and of map titles.

    Heijden, H.A.M. van der. Leo Belgicus: An illustrated and annotated carto-bibliography. Alphen aan den Rijn: Canaletto, 1990.

      The beautiful and distinctive maps of the Low Countries in the shape of a lion are much admired and sought after. Carefully describes the various forms in which these maps appear. Includes a table comparing the maps in this work with Tooley's list published in The Map Collectors' Circle (see Periodicals).


    Buczek, Karol. The History of Polish Cartography. Amsterdam: Meridian Publishing Co., 1982. Originally published in Polish, (Krakow: 1963); first edition in English, (The Polish Academy of Sciences, 1966).

      The 1982 edition has a new Introduction, Notes and a Bibliography. 60 uncolored plates. Most of the maps discussed relate to central Europe, but the book is about the development of mapmaking in Poland.


    Bagrow, Leo and Henry W. Castner (editor). A History of the Cartography of Russia up to 1600 and A History of Russian Cartography up to 1800. Wolfe Island, Ontario: The Walker Press, 1975. Castner. 2 volumes.

      Based on a manuscript by Bagrow, the two volumes deal first with western European mapping of Russia, and, second, with mapping done in Russia.

    Middle East (including Holy Land)top

    Laor, Eran. Maps of The Holy Land: Cartobibliography of Printed Maps, 1475-1900. NY: Alan R. Liss, Inc. & Amsterdam: Meridian Publishing Co., 1986.

      Each entry has a short description and commentary. There is an additional section on "Town plans and views of Jerusalem" as well as biographies of mapmakers, a list of reference books, and two indexes (personal names and chronological). Some of the maps are illustrated. Not to be confused with Nebenzahl's book below, which is very different. Laor's book has become difficult to find and copies bring hundreds of dollars in the out-of-print market.

    Nebenzahl, Kenneth. Maps of the Holy Land: Images of Terra Sancta through Two Millennia. NY: Abbeville Press, 1986. Published in Britain as Maps of The Bible Lands.

      A beautiful book providing an overview of the mapping of the Holy Land for 2000 years with 60 carefully described examples. Excellent color illustrations. Very different in concept from Laor's book above, the two are complementary and both should be the library of every collector of Holy Land maps.

    Tibbets, G.R. Arabia In Early Maps: A bibliography of maps covering the Peninsula of Arabia printed in Western Europe from the invention of printing to the year 1751. NY and Cambridge (UK): The Oleander Press and Naples: The Falcon Press, 1978.

      Each entry includes comments on the map as well as its source, and notes on editions. 22 illustrations, several in color.



    Chubb, Thomas. The Printed Maps in the atlases of Great Britain and Ireland A bibliography, 1579-1870. London: Ed. J. Burrow & Co. Ltd., 1927. Reprinted Folkestone, Kent: Wm Dawson & Sons Ltd., 1966, 1974 and 1977.

      The preface describes this as "...the first attempt at comprehensive description of the atlases of Great Britain and Ireland." A successful attempt we may add. Remains a useful reference for British material. See also Skelton ... County Atlases... below.

    Koeman, Dr. Ir. C. Atlantes Neerlandici. Amsterdam: Theatrum Orbis Terrarum Ltd., 1967. Five volumes. A 6th volume with an errata list, and carrying the bibliography past 1880 was issued circa 1985.

      An outstanding carto-bibliography of atlases published in the Low Countries to 1880. Each listing is preceded by a short essay on the atlas and its maker. Collations are given for many editions of the atlases with pagination, signature, and text language which are helpful in dating loose maps. A major revision edited by Peter van der Krogt (listed below) is now in progress.

    Krogt, Dr. Peter van der (editor), Koeman's Atlantes Neerlandici. 't Goy-Houten, The Netherlands: HES Publishers, 1997 - .

      The first three volumes (on Mercator/Hondius/Jansson, on Blaeu, and on Ortelius respectively) of a projected ten-volume set updating Dr. Koeman's carto-bibliography have been published. In addition to atlas collations, there are sections listing title pages and individual maps. Every title page and every map has a thumbnail illustration plus there are notes on occurrences. There are also indexes of atlas titles, of map titles and of personal names. The publisher's website lists the first two volumes at 425 Euros each, and volume three (in two parts) at 1,250 Euros.

    National Maritime Museum, Catalog of the Library, Volume Three: Atlases & Cartography. London: Her Majesty's Stationery Office, 1971. One volume in two parts.

      Part One is the list of atlases and maps; Part Two is the index. 488 pre-1840 atlases are listed as well as modern (post-1840) and facsimile atlases, and cartographic references.

    Pastoureau, Mireille. Les Atlas Français XVIe - XVIIe siècles Répertoire bibliographique et étude. Paris: Bibliothèque Nationale, 1984.

      A scholarly bibliography of early French atlases. As with Koeman, a short essay precedes each publisher's listing.

    Phillips, Philip Lee and LeGear, Clara Egli (compilers). A List of Geographical Atlases in the Library of Congress. Washington: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1909-92. Nine volumes.

      The first four volumes (1909-20) by Phillips were reprinted Amsterdam: Theatrum Orbis Terrarum Ltd., 1971. Clara LeGear's five-volume continuation (1958 - 1992) includes a most helpful comprehensive index in volume nine. Volumes 1-4 and 5-9 reprinted Mansfield Centre, CT: Martino Publishing, 1996. The reprint is $350.00 for the four-volume Phillips set and $350.00 for the five-volume LeGear set.

    Skelton, R.A. County Atlases of the British Isles. London: Carta Press, 1970.

      More than a revision of Chubb above, Skelton describes this as a new work both in substance and form, which incorporates more recent information. This first volume covers the period 1579-1703. Due to Skelton's untimely death the continuation to 1850 was not published. Nevertheless, an excellent work, indispensable for anyone interested in early British atlases. There are collations and commentary on more than 100 atlases; three appendices, including "The London map-trade before 1700..."; and indexes of persons, atlas titles, and subjects. 40 plates.

    Biographies and carto-bibliographiestop

    This category includes both biographies of mapmakers and works about the maps and atlases of particular cartographers.

    Berkeley, Edmund and Dorothy Smith Berkeley. Dr. John Mitchell: The Man Who Made The Map of North America. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1974.

      John Mitchell is best known for his Map of the British and French Dominions in North America, first published in 1755. It was used at the negotiations which led to the 1783 Treaty of Paris, in which Britain recognized the United States as an independent nation. Dr. Mitchell spent much of his life in the study of botany, which is the primary thrust of this book. Two chapters are devoted to cartography.

    Eerde, Katherine S. Van. John Ogilby and the Taste of His Times. Folkestone, Kent: Wm Dawson & Sons Ltd, 1976.

      A nicely-written study of a fascinating character. In addition to publishing a number of well-known cartographic works, Ogilby was a dancing-master, poet and translator whose fortunes rose and fell precipitously during his life. 30 uncolored illustrations.

    Evans, Ifor M. and Lawrence, Heather. Christopher Saxton Elizabethan Map-Maker. Wakefield: Wakefield Historical Publications and London: The Holland Press Ltd, 1979.

      A study of the life and work of Christopher Saxton a surveyor of Yorkshire. Published on the 400th anniversary of his great work, the first atlas of England and Wales.

    Keuning, J. and Marijke Donkersloot-De Vrij. Willem Jansz. Blaeu: A Biography and History of His Work as a Cartographer and Publisher. Amsterdam: Theatrum Orbis Terrarum Ltd, 1973.

      Willem Blaeu founded the great publishing house which flourished during the "Golden Age of Atlases." A well-written, scholarly biography starting with Blaeu's apprenticeship at the observatory of famed astronomer Tycho Brahe. Also discusses Blaeu's many productions besides his atlases; these included instruments, globes, sea charts, pilot guides and wall maps. Illustrated.

    Koeman, Dr. Ir. C. Joan Blaeu and his Grand Atlas. Amsterdam: Theatrum Orbis Terrarum Ltd, 1970.

      Joan Blaeu successfully carried on his father Willem's publishing enterprise, expanding the atlas until it became the Atlas Maior or "Grand Atlas" which contained as many as twelve folio volumes filled with the most beautiful of maps. Professor Koeman follows developments up to the terrible fire of February 22, 1672, which destroyed much of Blaeu's printing house, and his death the following year. There are many interesting observations such as information on prices of the Grand Atlas (there was an extra charge for fancy coloring) with comparisons to modern prices. Illustrated.

    Koeman, C. The sea on paper: The story of the Van Keulens and their 'Sea-torch.' Amsterdam: Theatrum Orbis Terrarum Ltd, 1972.

      For almost two centuries, the house of van Keulen produced atlases of sea charts. This small book outlines their tale. Includes descriptions of many charts. Illustrated.

    Material on Abraham Ortelius is in a separate section below.

    Osley, A.S. Mercator A monograph on the lettering of maps, etc. in the 16th century Netherlands with a facsimile and translation of his treatise on the italic hand and a translation of Ghim's VITA MERCATORIS. London: Faber & Faber Ltd and NY: Watson-Guptil Publications, 1969.

      In addition to being a renowned cartographer, Gerard Mercator was a highly skilled instrument maker and engraver. It is less well-known that he greatly influenced the practice of lettering of maps, globes, books and pictures in the 16th century, and the widespread use of the elegant italic hand is in part due to his influence. Dr. Osley, a paleographer, pays close attention to this aspect of Mercator's career. However, for cartophiles the area of greatest interest is the biographical material, including a translation of Walter Ghim's [or Ghym] contemporary Life of Mercator. 64 uncolored illustrations.

    Pedley, Mary Sponberg. Bel et Utile: The Work of the Robert de Vaugondy Family of Mapmakers. Tring, Herts: Map Collector Publications Ltd., 1992.

      Published in a limited edition of 750. For two generations in the middle of the 18th century the Vaugondy family were among France's most active publishers of maps and atlases. Traces the history of the family and their work. Includes detailed catalogues of the maps and atlases published by the Vaugondy family. Illustrated.

    Reinhartz, Dennis. The Cartographer and the Literati--Herman Moll and His Intellectual Circle. Lewiston (NY), Queenston (Ontario) and Lampeter (Wales): The Edwin Mellen Press, Ltd, 1997.

      In the early 18th century Herman Moll was Britain's most celebrated geographer and mapmaker; his circle of friends included artists, explorers, and writers. Among them were such people as scientist Robert Hooke, philosopher John Locke and Jonathan Swift, author of Gulliver's Travels. Moll designed maps of Lilliput and other imaginary lands for Gulliver, just as he did for William Dampier's real-life New Voyage Round the World. A 1720 map of Robinson Crusoe's island is attributed to Moll. Prof. Reinhartz has been interested in Moll for years, culminating in this book on Moll and intellectual life in London. Many of Moll's maps are discussed in the light of contemporary political developments. 55 illustrations.

    Celestial Chartstop

    Snyder, George Sergeant. Maps of the Heavens. NY: Abbeville Press, 1984.

    A large attractive survey with many fine color illustrations.

    Warner, Deborah J. The Sky Explored: Celestial Cartography 1500-1800. NY: Alan R. Liss, Inc. & Amsterdam: Theatrum Orbis Terrarum Ltd., 1979.

      Describes several hundred works with celestial charts; arranged alphabetically by maker. Each is described carefully including star magnitudes, coordinates and constellations. Many include an uncolored illustration.

    Civil War (United States)top

    Bosse, David. Civil War Newspaper Maps: A Historical Atlas. Baltimore & London: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1993.

      Thanks to advances in printing technology, much information on the latest events in the Civil War was transmitted to the public by newspapers of the day. The text discusses the development of journalistic cartography, and the atlas which follows illustrates and describes 45 maps published in Northern papers during the War.

    McElfresh, Earl B. Maps and Mapmakers of the Civil War. NY: Harry N. Abrams, Inc., Publishers, 1999.

      Discusses the history, processes and problems of mapmaking during the War. The biographies of mapmakers are interesting. 150 color reproductions show maps ranging from crude sketches to elegant watercolor productions. In print at $55.00.

    Facsimiles and reproductionstop

    Facsimiles and reproductions are often useful tools for study of old maps and atlases, especially when original material is unavailable or is too fragile to allow extensive handling. Many library holdings include modern reproductions in order to reduce wear of original material.

    Perhaps the best-known series of facsimile atlases is that published by Theatrum Orbis Terrarum in Amsterdam from about 1963 to 1974. The series covered most major European atlases from the earliest Ptolemies to the 18th century. Each volume has an English-language introduction by a noted scholar. The maps are generally uncolored, printed on high quality paper and mounted on guards. The books are full-size and bound in buckram. In the early 1990's the last of these volumes were remaindered.

    McIntosh, Gregory C. (compiler). Antique Map Reproductions: A Directory of Publishers and Distributors of Antique Map, atlas and Globe Facsimiles and Reproductions. Lakewood, CA: Plus Ultra Publishing, 1998.

      Not seen by us, but it sounds useful. In print at $10.95.


    Krogt, Peter van der. Old Globes in The Netherlands A catalogue of terrestrial and celestial globes made prior to 1850 and preserved in Dutch collections. Utrecht: HES Publishers, 1984. Illustrated.

      As the subject is globes found in Dutch collections, it includes many made in other countries. The descriptions are quite detailed. A very good reference.

    Stevenson, Edward Luther. Terrestrial and Celestial Globes: Their History and Construction including a consideration of their value as aids in the study of geography and Astronomy. New Haven: Published for the Hispanic Society of America by the Yale University Press, 1921. Two volumes. Reprinted Mansfield Centre, CT: Martino Publishing, 1999 as two volumes in one. Illustrated.

      A history of globes from antiquity to the end of the 18th century. The final chapter discusses construction of globes. Long considered a fundamental work on the subject.


    As creator of the first modern atlas (which became a best-seller of the 16th century), Abraham Ortelius has attracted widespread interest, and there is an extensive literature on his works.

    Broecke, Marcel P.R. van den. Ortelius Atlas Maps. 't Goy, The Netherlands: HES Publishing, 1996.

      A very well-organized guide to the atlas maps of Abraham Ortelius. It begins with a biographical sketch and a history of his great atlas. The heart of the book is a listing of every map which appeared in the atlas during its many years of production. Each map is illustrated and there are careful notes on editions and variants. The page number and language of each issue is included, which makes this book vital for dating loose maps. In print at H.fl. 125.00 (approximately $65.00) .

    Broecke, Marcel van den, Peter van der Krogt and Peter Meurer (editors), Abraham Ortelius and the First Atlas: Essays Commemorating the Quadri centennial of his Death 1598-1998. 't Goy-Houten (Utrecht), The Netherlands: HES Publishing, 1998.

      This appealing volume contains more than twenty essays on aspects of the life and works of Ortelius, each by an authority on the subject. Among the areas covered are atlas production, wall maps and title pages, as well as discussions of maps of various regions. Appendixes deal with editions of Ortelius' atlases, the plates, and the Catalogus Auctorum. A treat for fans of Ortelius. Numerous illustrations, some in color. In print at H.fl. 371.00 (approximately $185.00) .

    Hessels, Jan H. Abrahami Ortelii (geographi Antverpiensis) et virorum eruditorum ad eundem et ad Jacobum Colium Ortelianum...epistulae... Canterbury: Academiae sumptibus Ecclesiae Londino-bataviae, 1887. Reprinted Osnabrück: O. Zeller, 1969.

      A substantial portion of Ortelius' correspondence remained intact for centuries, first in the possession of his nephew Jacob Cool, and later in a Dutch Church in London. Hessels reprinted the letters with an English precis of each. The preface contains 24 pages on the editions of the Theatrum with information on individual maps. The latter has been improved upon by more recent scholarship, but remains helpful.

    Karrow, Robert W. Jr. Mapmakers of the Sixteenth century and Their Maps Bio-Bibliographies of the Cartographers of Abraham Ortelius, 1570. Chicago: Published for the Newberry Library by Speculum Orbis Press, 1993.

      Among the many virtues of Ortelius', Theatrum Orbis Terrarum is its Catalogus Auctorum Tabularum Geographicarum... which lists the 86 cartographers and their maps that Ortelius used as the basis for his atlas of 1570. [87 names are given, but Martin Waldseemuller is listed under both that name and as Martin Ilacomilus.] The Catalogus Auctorum was the first printed map catalog. Leo Bagrow published (1928-30) a work with short biographies of the named mapmakers. Karrow's book began as an English translation and update of Bagrow. But the expansion of knowledge in the intervening decades led to it becoming a new work built on Bagrow's structure, with expanded biographies and a much larger list of primary maps. The 26 plates are mostly of maps which have not been illustrated elsewhere. The bibliography is over 60 pages in length. In addition to a general index, there are indexes to place of publication and to date of publication. This extensive work is an obvious starting point for any research project on 16th century mapmakers. Note: The Catalogus Auctorum was expanded as Ortelius' atlas grew. For information on later editions see Meurer below.

    Koeman, Dr. C. The History of Abraham Ortelius and His Theatrum Orbis Terrarum. Lausanne: Sequoia S.A., 1964.

      This small volume, intended to accompany a full-size colored facsimile of Ortelius' atlas, stands on its own, and is often found separately. It is well-written and gives an excellent summary of Ortelius' life and career with observations on the significance of several of his maps. There is also a French-text edition.

    Meurer, Peter H. Fontes Cartographici Orteliani: Das "Theatrum Orbis Terrarum" von Abraham Ortelius und seine Kartenquellen. Weinheim: VCH-Acta Humaniora, 1991.

      Not seen by us. Carries on where Bagrow and Karrow leave off, with 224 bio-bibliographical chapters based on the last version of the Catalogus.

    Railroad mapstop

    Modelski, Andrew M. Railroad Maps of North America The First Hundred Years. Washington: Library of Congress, 1984. A later version published NY: Bonanza Books, 1987.

      92 maps from the collections of the library of Congress. Each has a two-page spread, one page illustrating the map and the other describing it.

    Sea chartstop

    Howse, Derek and Michael Sanderson. The Sea Chart An Historical Survey based on the Collections in the National Maritime Museum. NY: McGraw-Hill Book Company, 1973.

      60 early sea charts are described and illustrated to show the development of charts over the centuries.

    Mollat du Jourdin, Michel, Monique de La Roncière, et al. Sea Charts of the Early Explorers 13th to 17th Century. London: Thames & Hudson, 1984. Translated from Les Portulans: Cartes marines du XIIIe au XVIIe siècle.

      A sumptuous book based primarily upon the collections of the Bibliothèque Nationale. 100 charts from roughly 1300 to 1699 are illustrated and described.

    Putman, Robert. Early Sea Charts. NY: Abbeville Press, 1983.

      A handsome work with the many charts described organized by geographical region. Well-illustrated.

    Women Cartographerstop

    Hudson, Alice. Pre-Twentieth Century Women Mapmakers In Meridian A Journal of the Map and Geography Round Table of the American Library Association, 1989, Issue No. 1, Philip Hoehn, Editor.

    Hudson, Alice and Ritzlin, Mary McMichael, "Checklist of Pre-Twentieth Century Women in Cartography" in Cartographica, University of Toronto Press: Toronto, Fall, 2000, Vol. 37, No. 3, Brian Klinkenberg, Editor and Mary McM. Ritzlin, Guest Editor.

    Ritzlin, Mary McMichael, "The Role of Women in the Development of Cartography" in AB Bookman's Weekly, Clifton, NJ, June 9, 1986, Volume 77, Number 23, Jacob Chernofsky, Editor.

    _____, "Women's Contributions to North American Cartography - four profiles" in Meridian..., 1989, Issue No. 2, Philip Hoehn, Editor. Reprinted in serial form in Progress & Perspectives...Affirmative Action in Surveying and Mapping, Jan-Feb. through Sept-Oct, 1990, Dunkirk, NY, Wendy Straight, Editor.

    _____, "School Marm to Author: 19th Century Women Geographers" in The Portolan, Washington Map Society: Washington, DC, Fall, 1993, Number 28, Charles A Burroughs, Editor.

    _____, [Women astronomers] "Sweeping the Skies: Some Celestial Ladies of the 17th - 19th Centuries" in Meridian..., 1999, Issue No. 15, David A. Cobb, Editor and Judith Tyner, Guest Editor.

    _____, "The Bountiful Baroness: Angela Burdett-Coutts, Victorian Map Patron" in Cartographica, University of Toronto Press: Toronto, Fall, 2000, Vol. 37, No. 3, Brian Klinkenberg, Editor and Mary McM. Ritzlin, Guest Editor.

    Tyner, Judith, "Millie the Mapper and Beyond: The role of Women's Cartography Since World War II" in Meridian..., 1999, Issue No. 15, David A. Cobb, Editor and Judith Tyner, Guest Editor.

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