Boston Athenaeum

Boston Athenaeum, Cartographic Collection

Boston Athenæum

Founded in 1807, the Boston Athenæum is one of the oldest and most distinguished independent libraries and cultural institutions in the United States. In creating the Boston Athenæum, their purpose was to form "an establishment similar to that of the Athenæum and Lyceum of Liverpool in Great Britain; combining the advantages of a public library [and] containing the great works of learning and science in all languages." The new Athenæum flourished in culture-starved Boston and, as it voraciously acquired books, art, and artifacts, it grew rapidly. For nearly half a century the Athenæum was the unchallenged center of intellectual life in Boston, and by 1851, had become one of the largest libraries in the United States. Today its collections comprise over half a million volumes, with particular strengths in Boston history, New England state and local history, biography, English and American literature, and the fine and decorative arts.

The Boston Athenæum’s cartographic collection includes 3,000 maps and 600 atlases, but at the time of establishing this partnership only a small number had been digitized. Our selection of digital images includes two manuscript maps and 14 printed maps dating from 1750 to the first decade of the 19th century. These maps are not duplicated in the Leventhal Map Center’s collection.

Locations in this Collection: