Access to the Map Collection
The maps collection is being indexed on an on-going basis by cartographer,
publisher subject, and geographic area. Map information is being entered and
updated in our on-line catalog known as
MARS. At this time, not all of the maps have been described in MARS. Information
about those maps, however, is accessible through the Maps card catalog,
located in the Archives Search Room. The card catalog is essentially
a chronological listing of maps within various categories. Maps in the
collection are arranged more or less by call number, and not by subject.
Researchers who come to the Archives to use the Maps Collection are given
full assistance in the Search Room by the Public Services reference staff. As with all public and private documents
housed in the Archives, maps and other cartographic materials must be used in
the Search Room.
Copying Services and Restrictions
Many maps in the collection may be copied by photostatic process. Exposures
up to 12" x 18" are $4.00 each.
Reduced-size copies or multiple-sheet, original size copies can be provided.
Certain maps cannot be copied because of restrictions imposed by the donor or
the condition of the Archives' copy.
Available for Purchase
Most of the major state maps of North Carolina have been published in
facsimile by the Division's
Historical Publications Section
as a set entitled North Carolina in Maps.
An information circular, Maps and Other Cartographic Records in the State Archives of North Carolina (AIC12) is also available.
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Prospective donors are invited to write or call the following:
James O. Sorrell
State Archives of North Carolina
Special Collections Branch
4614 Mail Service Center
Raleigh, NC 27699-4614
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North Carolina Colony and State Maps
These are maps of the entire colony and state of North Carolina and range in date
from 1590 to the present. Researchers should note that early maps are frequently
inaccurate by today's standards and generally provide little local geographical
information. Statewide maps do not show county boundaries before 1808. While
the names of some landowners will appear on a few colony or state maps, there is
no map which will show all land grants made in North Carolina.
North Carolina County Maps
These are maps of the individual counties of North Carolina or parts thereof and
are cataloged by the name of the county and then chronologically. There are
practically no detailed maps of North Carolina counties prior to the Civil War.
Again, while there are a few maps showing landowners for given North Carolina
counties for specific years, they do no show the residence of every family in the
county and do not show the size of landholdings.
North Carolina Cities and Towns
These are maps and plans of individual cities and towns in North Carolina or parts
thereof. They are cataloged alphabetically by the name of the municipality and
then chronologically. In addition, plans of municipalities may be found
separately from the map collection in the records of the State Highway
Commission (Powell Bill Maps) and the North Carolina Utilities Commission. For
additional information, please see the
MARS, the State Archives'
on-line automated system, or consult the Guide to
State Agency Records, located in the State Archives Search Room.
North Carolina by Regions
Maps of individual regions of the state such as the Coastal
Plain, Sandhills, Piedmont Plateau, etc.
North Carolina State Boundaries
Maps and surveys of North Carolina's boundaries with the surrounding
states of Georgia, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia.
North Carolina Watercourses
Charts, surveys, and other maps of individual canals, rivers, streams,
sounds, etc. They are cataloged by the name of the body of water and then
Oceanic Maritime Charts and Surveys
This classification contains charts and topographical sheets of the United States
Coast Survey. The State Archives of North Carolina has no series of maps which
will show the sites of sunken vessels and plate fleets. The few charts owned by
the State Archives of North Carolina which show submerged wrecks are copies from
originals in the National Archives (Records of the Hydrographic Office,
Department of the Navy - Record Group 57). Researchers interested in exploring
wrecks in North Carolina waters should consult the
Office of State Archaeology,
Division of Historical Resources.
North Carolina Railroad Maps
Maps of actual surveys of railroads in the state and not state
maps showing railroads (which are found under North Carolina Colony and State
Maps). These are cataloged alphabetically by the name of the railroad or railroad
company and then chronologically. Other maps and surveys of railroads may be
found separate from the map collection among the records of the North Carolina
Utilities Commission and the North Carolina Railroad Company. For additional information, please see the
MARS Online Catalog
or consult the Guide to State Agency Records, located in the State Archives Search Room.
North Carolina Road and Highway Maps
These are plans and maps of surveys of actual or proposed roads or highways and
Not state maps showing roads or the state highway system in general (which are
found under North Carolina Colony and State Maps). These are cataloged
alphabetically by the name of the road, turnpike company, etc., and then
North Carolina Military Maps and Plans of Battle
Civil War maps compose the bulk of this group. Loose sheets from the printed
atlas to accompany the Official Records of the War of the Rebellion: A
Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies are
grouped together along with a catalog and index. The more than 1000 maps in the
atlas show all of the major campaigns and battles and a number of lesser
skirmishes which took place during the Civil War. There are also approximately
150, mostly European, maps relating to World War I. For information about
other military materials, please consult our Military Collection.
North Carolina Fortifications
These are maps showing the locations of forts, etc., and are not elevations and
building plans for fortifications.
North Carolina Parks and Forests
Maps and surveys of both national and state parks and forests in North
Carolina. In addition to those in the map collection, the records of the North
Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission in the Archives include plats of land
acquired for wildlife management areas, game refuges, and restoration projects
between 1938 and 1951.
North Carolina Cemeteries
Maps and plans of some, but by no means all, municipal, perpetual care,
and church cemeteries in North Carolina.
North Carolina Indian Lands, Reservations, and Boundaries
Surveys and maps of lands, etc., belonging to or reserved for Native
American tribes in North Carolina. They are cataloged by name of tribe. Maps of
North Carolina showing the location of Indian tribes are cataloged with North
Carolina Colony and State Maps.
US Geological Survey Maps
These consist of the quadrangle sheets of the United States Geological Survey of
North Carolina. At present sheets have been completed for about half the area of
the state, and both cultural and natural geographic features are mapped in this
highly detailed survey. Each quadrangle sheet is named for a prominent natural
feature or for a town or city on the sheet. The sheets are arranged alphabetically in
the map collection by the name of the quadrangle. The name of the quadrangle
and the area covered by each can be determined by consulting an index map
which is part of the series.
Non-North Carolina Maps
In addition, to the above categories, the State Archives possesses a sizeable
collection of non-North Carolina maps
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Links to Other Map Resources
Outer Banks History Center (OBHC)
The holdings of the Outer Banks History Center in Maneto on Roanoke Island
include 5,500 maps and charts.
North Carolina Maps
North Carolina Maps is a comprehensive, online collection of historic maps of the Tar Heel State. Featuring maps from three of the state's largest map collections -- the State Archives of North Carolina, the North Carolina Collection at UNC-Chapel Hill, and the Outer Banks History Center -- North Carolina Maps provides an unprecedented level of access to these materials. When complete, North Carolina Maps will contain over 1,500 maps, ranging in date from the late 1500s to the 1960s, and will include detailed maps for each of North Carolina's one hundred counties.
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Last Modified: 07/27/2012