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Map Collection Inventory Now Online

Posted by Jane Metters LaBarbara.
March 24th, 2014

Since its beginnings in the 1930s, the West Virginia and Regional History Center has continually sought to collect and preserve maps pertaining to our state and region.  While maps are found in many parts of the WVRHC, the largest gathering exists in the Center’s Map Collection.  Historically, every time a map was added to this collection, staff would type the map’s information on an index card to be placed in the WVRHC’s card catalog.  Patrons looking for maps could browse the cards to find what they needed.  Today, such information is entered into an electronic database, which makes searching the index much easier.

The card catalog used to be the best way to find maps at the WVRHC.

Through the combined efforts of student workers and staff, a digital version of the cards was created—the WVRHC is proud to announce that the Map Collection inventory can now be accessed online as a searchable PDF.  The collection includes over 1300 original and facsimile maps that date from the 1600s through 2006 and span a wide range of geographical and subject areas.

Here is a sample of items in our Map Collection:

WVU Engineer’s Campus Guide, 1948

Some maps, like this guide to the 1948 WVU campus, show the locations of individual buildings, allowing us to better understand how people of the past went about their lives and how things have changed over time.

Map of the Volcano Oil Region of West Virginia, ca. 1882

A portion of the Map Collection focuses on coal, oil, gas, timber, and other industries.  The above map shows oil company lands around Volcano, WV, an oil boom town between 1864 and 1897.  The Laurel Fork and Sand Hill Railroad (LF&SH RR), along the left side of the map, enabled workers in Volcano to transport their oil more efficiently to other markets via the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad.  The history of the town and one of its prominent families, the Stiles family, can be found in A&M 199 and A&M 1800.

Pittsburgh & Cincinnati Packet Line, ca. 1872-1892

The Pittsburgh & Cincinnati Packet Line was an interstate steamboat transportation company that moved people and cargo up and down the Ohio River in the late 1800s. The Map Collection includes many maps showing transportation routes, including steamboats, canals, railroads, and highways.

For more information about the WVRHC’s maps, visit our Maps, Atlases, and Gazetteers webpage.  Though the Map Collection inventory is accessible online, most of the maps have not been digitized.  You can see them in person at the WVRHC during our weekday hours.  Let us know what you think of the inventory through the comment link below!

Blog post by Jane Metters, Assistant Curator, WVRHC.

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