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Atlases and Maps


Detail from Atlas or A Geographicke Description of the Regions,  Countries and Kingdomes of the World (Amsterdam, 1636)  [(Ex) 1009.634e ]
Detail from Atlas or A Geographicke Description of the Regions, Countries and Kingdomes of the World (Amsterdam, 1636) [(Ex) 1009.634e ]

Atlases are distributed through three main divisions of the  Department: Historic Maps, Rare Book, and Manuscripts.  Examples:  Numerous early editions of Ptolemy are part of the Grenville Kane Collection in the Rare Book Division.  Historic Maps holds a number of important atlases such as the  rare Ottoman imprint, Cedid Atlas Tercümesi (New Atlas Translation), printed in Istanbul in 1803. The Manuscripts Division has  Kane MS. 57, a portolan atlas (Spain or Italy, 3rd quarter of the 16th century), with four charts. 

Single maps are also distributed with the largest concentration being in the Historic Maps Collection.  Notable among those bound in books in the Rare Book Division is the rare "White Hills" map of New England, which is the first map produced in North America. It was issued in William Hubbard's A Narrative of the Troubles with the Indians. Boston, 1677. For details refer to the Princeton University Library Chronicle XIV, 4 (Summer, 1953) p. 177-182 [full text] .  

In the Manuscripts Division, among the many notable is the manuscript original of the Eastern portion of the Mason-Dixon line. See: Thomas Streeter, "Princeton's Mason and Dixon Map" in the Princeton University Library Chronicle XVI, 2 (Winter, 1955) pp. 97-99 [full text] and [Howard C. Rice] "Princeton's Mason and Dixon Map" in the Princeton University Library Chronicle XXV, 2 (Winter, 1964) pp. 153-55 [ full text] as well as Nicholas Wainwright "Mason and Dixon's Map" in the Princeton University Library Chronicle XLV, 1 (Autumn, 1983) pp. 28-32. [ full text


  • The Historic Maps Collection (housed within the Department of Rare Books and Special Collections at Firestone Library) holds flat maps, cased maps, atlases and gazetteers printed before 1919 (the end of World War I). A number of these have been imaged. 

    See John Delaney's important 1992 exhibition catalogue: From Circle to Sphere - Historic Maps since Columbus [(ExB) 0639.739 no. 63s] [full text].

  • The "White Hills" map has already been noted.   The many editions of  Ptolemy in the Kane collection have likewise been noted.  [More ...]

  • Summary needed.

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  • Philippe Vandermaelen: Atlas Universel (1827)

    In March 2009, with substantial funds provided by the Friends of the Princeton University Library, supplemented with money from Rare Books, the Historic Maps Collection acquired a copy of Belgian cartographer Philippe Vandermaelen’s Atlas universel, consisting of approximately 380 conically projected sheets of maps and 40 pages of statistical tables in six volumes. This folio-size atlas is remarkable for several reasons. It is the first atlas produced by the then new printing process of lithography.

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