Maps can show such details as how terrain, rivers, cities, roads, and railroads changed over time; the roads or railroads people used to travel from place to place; property ownership; details and placement of buildings; changes in county boundaries; and locations of now-extinct communities. The Kansas Historical Society holds over 25,000 atlases, maps, and architectural drawings showing Kansas, the Great Plains, the United States, and the world. Subject strengths include railroads, roads and trails, the military, land surveys and ownership, and Kansas cities and counties.
Description of the Collection
The Kansas map holdings are particularly strong in nineteenth-century State maps, county maps, and maps and plats of cities, Indian lands, military exploration, railroad development, and roads and trails. Other Kansas subject areas represented include waterways, surveys, schools, geology, and battles. The division is a depository for United States Geological Survey maps of Kansas and neighboring States. It also receives maps produced by several Kansas State agencies.
Less well known is the collection of non-Kansas maps containing both originals and reproductions dating from 1550 to the present. Almost all States are represented, as are many large cities and a number of countries. There is also a small collection of early maps of the New World and maps showing American military involvement in Europe and Asia.
Our reference staff will be glad to answer specific questions about our holdings. For more information contact 785-272-8681, ext. 116; or ask a research question.
Access to the Collection
In the Research Room at the Center for Historical Research, maps are cataloged in the maps card catalog by location or subject and then chronologically within each subject heading. Maps cataloged since 1995 appear in our online catalog, ATLAS. There are special holdings lists for Sanborn fire insurance maps and U.S. Geological Survey maps.