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*History: Primary Sources: Sanborn Maps

Guide to Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps

I. History and background information

II. Versions of the Sanborn maps

III. Other libraries in Georgia with paper copies

IV. User aids

I. History and Background Information on Sanborn Maps

"The Sanborn map collection consists of large-scale maps in full color, dating from 1867 to the present, and it depicts the commercial, industrial, and residential sections of ... cities and towns in the United States, ... The maps were designed to assist fire insurance agents in determining the degree of hazard associated with a particular property and therefore show the size, shape, and construction of dwellings, commercial buildings, and factories as well as fire walls, locations of windows and doors, sprinkler systems, and types of roofs. The maps also indicate widths and names of streets, property boundaries, building use, and house and block numbers. They show the locations of water mains, giving their dimensions, and of fire alarm boxes and hydrants. Sanborn maps are thus an unrivaled source of information about the structure and use of buildings in American cities." Fire Insurance Maps in the Library of Congress. - Pref.

Note: The mapping is no longer being conducted. After WWII production of new maps and revisions by Sanborn decreased drastically and ceased in 1961. After 1961 no new maps were produced and only the revision service continued. There were a few revisions up to 1990.

Sanborn Maps

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II. Versions of the Sanborn Maps

II.A. Sanborn® Fire Insurance Maps For Georgia Towns and Cities, 1884-1922 (GALILEO Digital Library, free online)

Sanborn® Fire Insurance Maps For Georgia Towns and Cities, 1884-1922 consists of 4,445 maps by the Sanborn Map Company depicting commercial, industrial, and residential areas for 133 municipalities up to 1922. Originally designed for fire insurance assessment, the color-coded maps relate the location and use of buildings, as well as the materials employed in their construction.

This Sanborn Maps® database is a project of the Digital Library of Georgia as part of Georgia HomePLACE through the Georgia Public Library Service, a unit of the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia. The maps represented are from the University of Georgia Libraries Map Collection. These maps are free to the public, since they are outside the protected copyright dates.

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II. B. Digitized Sanborn Maps, Georgia, 1867-1970

Database available to the GSU community.

Black and white digitized images for places in Georgia, usually dated from the 1880's through the early 60's. The sheets contain both original sheets and revised editions (denoted by the * [asterisk] in the dropdown date selection pages)

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II.C. Hard Copy - Atlanta 1956/57

Sanborn Map Company; Insurance Maps of Atlanta, Georgia.

  • Dates: A snapshot of Atlanta and vicinity in 1956/57. Pages were updated to 1956/57 by pasted on corrections and additions.
  • Arrangement: In numbered volumes.
  • Finding Aid: Volume 10, the Index, is located in both Reference collection and Special Collections Reference. Call no.: G 1314 .A8 S35 1924 Index
  • Location: Vol. 1-9 are housed in Special Collections, Library South, 8th Floor. Call no.: Spec. G 1314 A8 S35 v.1-9

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II.D. Microfilm Sets

Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps; Cities and Towns in Georgia
Micr. 480

The maps have been copied in color from the paper map sheets to illustrate building materials, and related features.

  • Dates: Coverage varies, maps range from 1884 through 1932. Atlanta maps begin with 1886 and end with 1932. There were major editions in 1886, 1892, 1899, 1911(vols. 1-4), 1924 (vols. 7 & 8), 1925 (vols. 5, 6, & 9), 1931 (vol.1), 1932 (vols. 1-4, 4a)
  • Arrangement: On reels in alphabetical order by name of place (city or town); then in chronological order. Within each edition of a city's maps, there is an index map to show which sheet number covers a geographical area. A street name index is also included at the beginning of each edition.
  • Microfilm Box Labels: Indicate first and last cities (and dates) on each reel. Atlanta maps take up several reels.
  • Finding Aids: Volume 10, the Index, is located in both Reference collection and Special Collections Reference. Call no.: G 1314 .A8 S35 1924 Index. Index to street names and some companies and buildings for as of the 1932 edition. Updates to 1956 are also bound in the index volume.
  • Other Details: Since the original Sanborn Maps are colored coded to indicate building materials, etc. this color microfilm may provide details which are missing in the black and white and digitized versions.

Sanborn fire insurance maps. Georgia / Teaneck, N.J. : Chadwyck-Healey, 1983.
Call no.: Micr. G3921.G475 S36 1983
17 microfilm reels; black and white film.

  • Includes only maps published before 1950. In large part duplicates the color microfilm set.
  • Reproduced from original copies in the Geography and Map Division of the Library of Congress.
  • Maps are arranged alphabetically by name of city or town; within each city or town, in chronological order in the order that they appear in Fire Insurance Maps in the Library of Congress, 1981.
  • Contains basically the same maps as listed in: Color Microfilm - Historical Collection of Georgia Cities And Towns through 1932.

Fire insurance maps from the Sanborn Map Company Archives. Late 19th century to 1990.
Georgia
/ a microfilm project of University Publications of America. 1992.
Call no.: Micr. G1314.G47 S36 1992
6 microfilm reels; black and white film.

  • Reproduces maps not in the Library of Congress collection of Sanborn Map Company surveys with 85 Georgia places from Albany to Wrightsville, dated 1940-1978.
  • Includes reel guide to set at the beginning of each reel. Each map set filmed with its own index.

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III. Other Libraries in Georgia with Paper Copies

  • University of Georgia Map Library's Sanborn Maps page lists all the Sanborn maps held by the Map Collection. All the Sanborn maps published for Georgia towns during the period 1880-1935 are held by the Map Collection. Microfilm copies of Sanborn maps for Georgia in the 1935-1985 period are also held by the Collection. The Map Collection does not have Sanborn maps for areas outside of Georgia.

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IV. Users Aids

Sanborn Map Legend

Fire insurance maps : their history and applications / Diane L. Oswald. College Station, Tex. : Lacewing Press, c1997.

Call no.: Ref. HG9759 .O89 1997
Location: Library North 2, Reference collection (Non-Circulating)

Fire insurance maps in the Library of Congress : plans of North American cities and towns produced by the Sanborn Map Company : a checklist / compiled by the Reference and Bibliography Section, Geography and Map Division.: Washington, D.C. : Library of Congress, 1981.

Call no.: Ref. Z6026 .I7 U54 1981
Location: Library North 2, Reference collection (Non-Circulating)

UC Berkeley Library Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps

Includes colored legend, history and other background materials.

University of Georgia Map Library

A Site Index of Sanborn Maps for Georgia lists all the Sanborn maps held by the Map Collection. All the Sanborn maps published for Georgia towns during the period 1880-1935 are held by the Map Collection. Microfilm copies of Sanborn maps for Georgia in the 1935-1985 period are also held by the Collection. The Map Collection does not have Sanborn maps for areas outside of Georgia.

Sanborn maps held by the Map Collection, Science Library, University of Georgia Libraries / Sutherland, John. University of Georgia Libraries. 1978.
Call no.: Ref. Z6028 .S98 1978

  • This is a list of available maps in the Georgia State microfilm collection cited above.
  • This also is the guide to what is in paper copy at the University of Georgia Map Collection.

* Arranged by place name and date with number of sheets included which have been microfilmed for our collection.

U.S. Fire Insurance Maps, 1852-1968 / Ristow, W. W.

Surveying and Mapping 30 (1970): 19-41.
Call no.: Per. TA501 .A64b
Location: In Storage. Use Storage Materials Request Form.

Quarterly Journal of the Library of Congress (July 1968): 194-217.
Call no.: Per. Z881.U49 A3
Location: In Storage. Use Storage Materials Request Form.

Indexes in the Printed and Microfiche volumes

At the beginning of each edition of maps there is a street index for locating the map sheet number in the volume. Some building names are also indexed.

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