Historical Map Collection
The Cartographic Information Center collection
contains copies of historical maps and charts dating to the 1600s. Most
of the pre-1860 map and chart images depicting Louisiana in the
collection are photocopies or reduced negatives of materials in the
National Archives. These materials focus on the Louisiana Gulf Coast
and the Mississippi River with sporadic coverage elsewhere.
The original historical nautical charts showing the Louisiana Gulf
Coast date to 1860 while the holdings of charts depicting the
Mississippi River bird foot delta range from 1837 to date.
Over the past seventy years, the Cartographic Information Center and
its predecessors has amassed an excellent collection of pre-1940 U.S.
Geological Survey topographic maps depicting Louisiana as well as other
states. In general, the pre-1940 U.S. Geological Survey topographic
maps cover the area south of the Mississippi-Louisiana border and east
of a line from Baton Rouge to Lafayette to the Gulf Coast.
Other Historical Map
Series in the CIC
- The U.S. Geological Survey planimetric map
series in 1:31,680-scale compiled from aerial photographs in the 1930s
depicts the Louisiana Gulf Coast from Sabine Pass to Bayou Blanc.
- The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers topographic
maps from the 1930s depicting the Mississippi River. These maps show
areas of historic meanders, cut-offs, and crevasses.
- The Mississippi River Commission surveys
from the late 1880s. These large scale surveys provide depth soundings
and topographical information for area near the river. Details include
location of plantation homes and outbuildings, cultivated fields, and
landowners' names. Online images of these surveys are available at the
NOAA web site.
A reference source for descriptions and
locations of maps depicting Louisiana prior to 1900 is Historical
Maps of Louisiana: An Annotated Bibliography.
Online sources for images of historical maps
and charts are listed on our Digital Maps
Online Resources page.
Please note: The public
is welcome to view historical maps and charts in the Reading Room.
However, historical maps and charts do not circulate.