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Maps and Atlases

Our extensive map collection tells the exciting story of the Rocky Mountain West, and the genealogy of families across the globe. Our western history map collection captures the diversity of human experience through the people who have and continue to live here. Its abundant natural resources. The spectacular beauty of its vast expanses of wilderness. Whether you're looking for information about mining, land use, transportation development, geopolitical boundaries, genealogy, and the exploration and development of Colorado and the West, you'll find it here. This includes a significant and growing aerial photography collection covering the greater Denver area. Please note that while most of the maps for Colorado and the western United States are cataloged, most of our topographic and international maps are not in our online catalog. So if you don't find what you're looking for online, please contact a WHG staff member.

Maps of Colorado and the West

Maps, both modern and historic, fill these drawers, charting previous and ongoing development of Denver, mining towns and mining claims, railroads, and towns all over Colorado. Discover any of our maps in our online catalog and browse in person, too. A large number of maps showing historic Denver and beyond have been digitized and are available in our digital collections. Denver maps in the digital collections include the 1887 Sanborn insurance map atlas.

Genealogy Maps and Charts

Although our maps focus primarily on the Western United States, we have historic maps of every state in the Union—an important resource for genealogists. Additionally, Colorado fire insurance maps provide valuable information to building researchers. Our genealogy map and chart collection contains family charts along with privately published maps covering the eastern United States and Europe. As of 2016, these resources are available for the public to peruse and are located near the Western History and Genealogy Reference Desk.

A popular online resource is the Newberry Library's Atlas of Historical County Boundaries. Use their site, download the KMZ file to use with Google Earth Pro, or grab the shapefile to use with your favorite GIS.

Topographic Maps

We have detailed topographic maps for Colorado, ranging from the popular 7.5' series to the 1:500,000-scale state base maps, including 19th-century sheets from the 15' and 30' series. Other western states are well-covered at scales from 1:250,000 and smaller. Many of these maps are available online through either ESRI's Historical Topographic Map Explorer or through the USGS Map Locator service.

Aerial Photographs

From Jasper King's 1933 aerial maps to the present, aerial imagery is a great way to see the area as it used to look. WHG holds numerous volumes of aerial image atlas and sheets, and can help you find other sources online to suit your need.

Maps in Archives

While not technically part of our map collection, thousands of archival collections contain many more maps, including military maps from the 10th Mountain Division, mining claim maps, Denver Mountain Parks, and others.

International Maps

Our collection contains several thousand topographic maps from the Army Mapping Service (AMS), which later became the Defense Mapping Agency (DMA). These maps provide international coverage ranging primarily from the 1930s through the 1950s. Genealogists looking for historic maps of Eastern Europe, where place names changed frequently during the tumultuous 20th century, will find useful materials here. These maps were produced to help the United States military prepare for and fight military campaigns. During World War II, troops from the 10th Mountain Division training in Colorado used AMS maps to plan and execute their activities in Italy.

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