The Internet Library – Source #3 (The David Rumsey Map Collection)

Hi all and welcome to the 3rd installment of The Internet Library!  Today I’m not bringing you another dictionary (I’m sure no-one’s upset about that!) but a fascinating geographical source!

The David Rumsey Map Collection (

DRM1The David Rumsey Map Collection is a website featuring one of the largest personal collections of maps in the US. Mr. David Rumsey  has committed to making his collection available online and available to the public. The website currently hosts over 54,000 items from his collection and is updated on a monthly basis. The majority of the maps are of North and South America, rare, and from the 18th and 19th centuries. However, there are some maps of the globe itself and other areas (like Europe, Asia, Africa) as well. They have a variety of kinds of maps too, like wall maps, atlases, sea charts, children’s, and pocket maps. The oldest maps are from the 1760’s and the newest the 1950’s. David Rumsey is also a software maverick. He uses his knowledge of software to display his collection in different ways. His proprietary “Luna Browser” pops up and allows users to view the entire collection or perform keyword searches across the collection.

A look at one of the featured maps on the collection’s site.

You can also sort maps by category, browse by specialized sections like “who” “where” or “when,” or save groups of maps for later perusal. After finding and clicking on the map you wish to view, a side-bar gives the publisher/author of the map, date, a short title, location of publication, size, and brief explanation. The map scans are extremely high-resolution, so you can zoom-in and get extreme detail on each map. You can even save and download the scans. This collection is amazing! For someone who wants to find a range of sources on a single location (range of dates, types of sources, even war maps) it is a great resource!

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