Great Lakes Maps, Atlases & Map Collections


The works below are in two sections; ‘Maps and Atlases’, and online ‘Collections of Maps’ from the history of the Great Lakes region. See the right column for more info about this website.


Great Lakes Maps and Atlases

Louisiana (French North America)

Vincenzo Coronelli 1695
Wisconsin Historical SocietyGo to Map

This is one of the more important and well-known maps of North America from the 17th century. Coronelli used reports of early explorers in the Great Lakes area to create one of the earliest detailed maps of that region. Although Coronelli was a well-known cartographer in his time, his work was often dismissed after his death. It was centuries later that historians rediscovered his work and have shown him to have been an influential figure in his day. (Description from Website).

Bowles Map

Hand-drawn 1755
Darlington Digital LibraryGo to Map

Copy of a 1755 map of frontier areas west of the Appalachian Mountains

Map of the Ohio River Valley and surrounding area

London: Thomas Jeffries 1755
Darlington Digital LibraryGo to Map


Great Lakes Maps & Online Map Collections

A map of the British and French settlements in North America

John Lodge 175?
Library of Congress American Memory Go to Map

Covers the eastern half of North America from Hudson Bay to the Gulf of Mexico. Shows boundaries, cities and towns, forts, Indian villages and tribal territory, and “Earl Granville’s Property.”

North America

London: Thomas Jefferys 1755
Darlington Digital LibraryGo to Map

North America: from the French of Mr. d’Anville, improved with the back settlements of Virginia and course of Ohio, illustrated with geographical and historical remarks. Includes text on the “French incroachments” and “English title to their settlements on the continent”. (Description from website)

A New and Accurate Map of the English Empire in North America Representing their Rightful Claim as Confirm’d by Charters, and the Formal Surrender of their Indian Friends, likewise the Encroachments of the French, with the Several Forts they have Unjustly Erected Therein

London: Herbert & Sayer. 1755
Indiana Historical Society CollectionsGo to Map


Great Lakes Maps & Online Map Collections

“Amerique Septentrionale avec les Routes, Distances en miles, Limites et Etablissements”

John Mitchell 1756
Alabama Maps CollectionGo to Map

Mitchell map of British and French dominions in North America.

An Accurate Map of the Present Seat of War, Between Great Britain and Her Colonies in North America

London: Herbert & Sayer 1776
Indiana Historical Society CollectionsGo to Map


[Northeastern part of North America]

France: Robert de Vaugondy 1783?
NYPL Digital GalleryGo to Map


A Map of the Back Settlements

London: Stockdale 1794
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign: LibraryGo to Map

The area of coverage is the Old Northwest.

Great Lakes Maps & Online Map Collections

A Map of the North Western Territory

Boston: Hill. 1796
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign: LibraryGo to Map


A General Map of the River Ohio

Paris: Collot, George H. V. 1796
David Rumsey Map CollectionGo to Map

A series of four maps showing the Ohio River from Pittsburgh to the Mississippi River.

A new map of part of the United States of North America exhibiting the Western Territory, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia &c., also the Lakes Superior, Michigan, Huron, Ontario & Erie, with upper and lower Canada &c

London: J. Cary. 1805
Indiana Historical Society CollectionsGo to Map


Great Lakes Maps & Online Map Collections

Map of the Seat of War in North America

Philadelphia: Melish 1813
David Rumsey Collection Go to Map

Covers from Labrador to Michigan and Ohio.

Upper Territories of the United States

Philadelphia: Kneass & Delleker
Wisconsin Historical SocietyGo to Map

The Northwest Ordinance of 1787 provided that one or two states should be created from the area west of Lake Michigan and extending down to the the lake’s southern tip–the “upper territories” shown on this map. That would have placed Wisconsin’s boundary 90 miles further south than it is now. When Illinois became a state in 1818, it wanted access to the lake and managed to have its boundary moved north, depriving the future state of Wisconsin of the city of Chicago. (description from website)

Map of the States of Indiana, and Ohio, with Part of Michigan Territory, ca. 1820s

London: Hinton & Sinupkin & Marshall 1820s
Lewis University Historic MapsGo to Map


Great Lakes Maps & Online Map Collections

Map of the States of Ohio, Indiana & Illinois and Part of Michigan Territory

Philadelphia: Finley 1827
Go to Map

High-resolution image of a well-preserved color map.

Western States & Territories

Philadelphia: J.H. Young 1832
Wisconsin Historical Society Go to Map


Guide through Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, Missouri, Wisconsin & Iowa: showing the township lines of the United States surveys, location of cities, towns, villages, post hamlets, canals, rail and stage roads

NY: Smith, John Calvin 1839
Wisconsin Historical SocietyGo to Map

This lovely hand-colored map was removed from J.H. Colton’s Western Tourist and Emigrant’s Guide (New York, 1839). Inset tables list steamboat routes and distances by water, and a vignette of Maidens Rock, on Lake Pepin, appears near the lower margin. This copy retains its elaborate printed border; boundaries and regions are highlighted with water-color. (Description from website)

Map of the Western States

NY: Atwood, John M. 1849
Wisconsin Historical SocietyGo to Map

This map graphically displays the contrasting degrees of settlement in the states and territories of the Old Northwest.

Great Lakes Maps & Online Map Collections

Map of the La Crosse and Milwaukee Rail Road and Connections

NY: Colton, J.H. 1855
Collection Go to Map

Map of the northeastern and north-central United States indicating major drainage, larger cities, state boundaries, and the railroad network.



Atlases

The Ohio and Mississippi Pilot consisting of a set of charts of those rivers… (title continued below)

Pittsburg: Patterson & Lambdin 1820
Gilleland, J.C. Go to Book

(title continued) “…representing their channels, islands, ripples, rapids, shoals, bars, rocks, &c accompanied with directions for the use of navigators,to which is added a Geography of the States and Territories west and south of the Allegheny Mountains”

Great Lakes Maps & Online Map Collections

Early Maps of the Ohio Valley : a Selection of Maps, Plans, and Views Made by Indians and Colonials from 1673 to 1783

Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press 1959
Brown, Lloyd A., comp. Go to Book

This contains descriptions of and information about over 50 early maps, but does not contain copies of the maps.


Collections of Maps

Early Maps of Ohio and the West

Cleveland, Western Reserve and Northern Ohio Historical Society 1875
Baldwin, Charles CandeeGo to Book

1875 catalog of existing maps of the Great Lakes region.

Discovery and Exploration

Various publishers and years of publication
Library of Congress Go to Collection

More than 100 historic maps, most reflecting the European Age of Discoveries in North America, from the late 15th to the 17th centuries. Included are 18th and 19th century maps documenting the exploration of the interior of the continent, such as the Lewis and Clark expedition.

Old Maps Online

Go to Collection

This is a collaborative portal for accessing a number of online map collections worldwide. U.S. collections include;
The David Rumsey Collection
Harvard Library Collection
New York Public Library Collection
Leventhal Map Center at Boston Public Library
North Carolina Digital Heritage Center

Great Lakes Maps & Online Map Collections

France in America

Various publishers and years of publication
Library of Congress Go to Collection

More than 100 maps from the French colonial era in North America, many of which portray the Great Lakes region.


To receive links to free history articles and resources every day in your Twitter or Facebook feeds, follow:

Century Past History (Twitter)

History of the Great Lakes States (Facebook)


Your comments and feedback are welcome!