Mapping Cranbrook History

Last night I ran across an article in the Huffington Post about a new blog at the Library of Congress called “Worlds Revealed: Geography and Maps.” Maps have always held a fascination for me, in fact, I am trying to teach my daughter to read a road map instead of using “Siri” or Google Maps to find our way somewhere. This generation just does not understand the value and intrinsic beauty of maps. My friend Maria, for example, is a map-aholic. One time we spent several days of our vacation obsessing over a jigsaw puzzle of a map. For the past 35 years, I have used numerous types of maps and atlases in my personal family history research, and in our work here at the Archives, maps, site plans, topographical maps, landscape architecture maps, and more are used weekly by our campus architects, architecture students, and scholars from across the country.

The staff of the Geography and Map Division at the Library of Congress have recently undertaken the “Dynamic Indexing Project” intended to digitize over 2.5 million map sheets. According to Mike Schoelen, a Post-Graduate GIS Research Fellow, “if the collection were stacked into a single pile, it would tower the Washington Monument by over 300 feet.”

While the map collection at Cranbrook Archives is nowhere near this extensive, we do have an interesting range of maps. Below are some examples.


Map of the Copper Range of Northern Michigan, n.d.


Sketch Map of Cranbrook, 1912.


Sketch, Sedalia, CO, 1919. Robert T. Hatt travel journal.


Finance Building doors, Harrisburg, PA, 1938. Sketch by Carl Milles.


Campus Plan for the College of William and Mary, Competition Packet, 1938.

See Also:

What is a Map?

Maps: Finding Our Place in the World

Maps in the British National Archives

Leslie S. Edwards, Head Archivist

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