Of Civil Works, Red-Bellied Woodpeckers, and the Randomness of Records in the Cartographic Branch

When you work with cartographic records at the National Archives, it is fair to say that you never know what you are going to randomly come across when you open a folder. Sometimes, it is a newer, published map. Sometimes (on a really great day) it is a 200-year-old manuscript map, and somedays, it's random … Continue reading Of Civil Works, Red-Bellied Woodpeckers, and the Randomness of Records in the Cartographic Branch

Civil War Maps from the Army Corps of Engineers Now Digitized

Civil War era and related maps from the Army Corps of Engineers have been digitized and are available to view and download from the National Archives Catalog. The records are part of the Civil Works Map File series from Record Group 77, Records of the Office of the Chief of Engineers. The records make up … Continue reading Civil War Maps from the Army Corps of Engineers Now Digitized

Census Enumeration District Maps for 1940 and 1950 Available Digitally in Our Catalog

The Decennial Census of Population and Housing, aka ‘the census,’ counts each resident of the country every ten years. Conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau, the Constitution mandates the enumeration to determine the number of seats each state has in the U.S. House of Representatives. The first census was taken in 1790 during George Washington’s … Continue reading Census Enumeration District Maps for 1940 and 1950 Available Digitally in Our Catalog

The Only Constant in the Nation’s Capital is Change!

If you have ever visited Washington, D.C., one of the most striking features of the city is the National Mall and the area surrounding it.  If you stand in the middle of the mall and look due east, you will find yourself facing the stately white dome of the Capitol Building.  From there, if you … Continue reading The Only Constant in the Nation’s Capital is Change!

The Washington National Monument – A National Contest for a National Monument

Maybe it is my past as a field archaeologist and a museum geek, but I love a good collection!  Projectile points, pottery shards, fossils, drawings, or maps - groupings of things, especially old things catch my eye.  So, how was I to resist writing about it when I came across a collection of beautiful drawings … Continue reading The Washington National Monument – A National Contest for a National Monument

Travelling Back in Time to the New York City of 1767-1768 via the Ratzen Map

There’s just something about old maps – some ineffable quality that draws the attention and makes one stop and bend closer to see what is there……and what’s not there.  Has the landscape changed?  Are towns missing or are towns shown that no longer exist?  Is it engraved or is it a manuscript map?  Are there … Continue reading Travelling Back in Time to the New York City of 1767-1768 via the Ratzen Map

RG 263 CIA Published Maps: A Digitization Project In Progress

While we frequently share interesting early maps from the Cartographic Branch holdings, today we wanted to focus on some of Cartographic's more recent maps. The RG 263 CIA Published Maps (also called the CIA Numbered Maps or Numerical Series) is made up of over 22,000 declassified maps. These maps date primarily from the 1940s to … Continue reading RG 263 CIA Published Maps: A Digitization Project In Progress

RG 241: Restored Patents Now Fully Digitized and Available Online!

The RG 241: Restored Patents (NAID 305885) are finally here and available for viewing and download via the National Archives catalog!  In addition to containing some very detailed and colorful images, this series is particularly interesting because of its unique background. In 1836, the Patent Office was being housed in the Blodget Hotel in Washington, … Continue reading RG 241: Restored Patents Now Fully Digitized and Available Online!

RG 76: Maps and Records Pertaining to the Northeastern Boundary of the United States – An Artistic Glimpse of Past

Deep in the stacks of the Cartographic Branch at Archives II, nestled in RG 76, is a series entitled “Maps and Records Pertaining to the Northeastern Boundary of the United States”.   This series contains manuscript maps and drawings of various locations along the border, including a set of spectacular color drawings and manuscript maps offering … Continue reading RG 76: Maps and Records Pertaining to the Northeastern Boundary of the United States – An Artistic Glimpse of Past

Civil War Defenses of Washington Fort Plans Now Available Online

The Cartographic Branch holds thousands of drawings, plans, and maps relating to forts, fortifications, and other military structures. These can be found in a variety of record groups and series, including RG 77 Fortification Map File (NAID 305749), RG 77 Miscellaneous Forts File (NAID 305806), RG 92 Post and Reservation Maps (NAID 305818), RG 92 … Continue reading Civil War Defenses of Washington Fort Plans Now Available Online