World Atlas History
Library of Congress Collection
The earliest atlases in the Library of Congress are associated with Claudius Ptolemy, an Alexandrian scholar who recorded and systematized classical Greek geographical knowledge during the second century. His Geographia was the first and most popular cartographic publication to be printed from movable type in the fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries. The Library of Congress holds forty-seven of the fifty-six known copies of Ptolemy's Geogaphia dating from 1475 to 1883, plus five variants and thirty-four duplicates, including rare copies of the 1482 Ulm edition, the 1490 Rome edition, the 1507 Rome edition with Johann Ruysch's world map incorporating the exploration of the New World by John Cabot, and the 1513 Strassburg edition with twenty supplemental maps including two new maps showing America.
The voyages of Christopher Columbus, John Cabot, and Amerigo Vespucci
dramatically changed the world map. One of the earliest printed maps to
incorporate this new world view was
Johann Ruysch's map which is found in the 1507 reprinting of the 1490 Rome
edition of Ptolemy's Geographia, both of which are represented in
the division. It is believed that Ruysch, a native of Antwerp, accompanied
Bristol seamen on a voyage to the great fishing banks off the coast of
Newfoundland in about 1500.
Martin Waldseemller's 1513 edition of Ptolemy was a landmark work that
contributed to major advances in both Renaissance geography and map printing.
Published by Johann Schott in Strassburg, it depicts for the first time in an
atlas format the newly discovered continents of North and South America
connected by a coastline.
A prized atlas treasure is a bound collection of maps assembled by Antoine Lafrry, a native of Burgundy who moved to Rome about 1540 and set up shop as an engraver and publisher. During this time the European map trade was dominated by cartographers in Rome and Venice who had perfected copperplate engraving for maps. Lafrry and other Italian publishers and dealers began to assemble these individual maps into bound folio volumes based on the interests of their customers. About seventy of these composite Italian atlases are extant today, each unique in its contents. In 1943, the Library of Congress of Congress purchased nine additional map sheets that were at one time part of a Lafrry atlas.
Abraham Ortelius revolutionized the map trade by publishing the first modern atlas. With the publication of his Theatrvm orbis terrarvm [Theater of the World] in Antwerp in 1570, the first book of maps uniform in size and design, the center of the European map trade shifted from Rome and Venice to Antwerp, the largest and most active port city in Europe. Engraved mainly by Franz Hogenberg and printed by Christoffel Plantijn, the first edition consists of seventy maps on fifty-three sheets assembled from the best available sources. Extremely popular in its day, numerous editions were issued from 1570 to 1724 in Latin, Dutch, French, German, English, and Italian. The Library of Congress of Congress's collection of Orteliana is one of the largest in the world. Of the eighty-two editions identifed, the Library of Congress possesses fifty-nine, a number of which are unique.
Henricus Hondius's ornately decorated world map first appeared in the 1633 edition of the Atlas that was originally published in 1595 by the Flemish cartographer Gerard Mercator and subsequently published by Jodocus Hondius and his sons, Jodocus, Jr. and Henricus, and his son-in-law, Jan Jansson. The world is depicted in two hemispheres, which are bordered by the representation of the four elements of fire, air, water, and land as well as portraits of Julius Ceasar, the second-century (A.D.) geographer Claudius Ptolemy, and the atlas's first two publishers, Mercator and Hondius.
The name most associated with advancing cartography as a science during this formative period is the Flemish geographer Gerard Mercator who helped free geography from its Ptolemaic influence by his prodigious contributions in the production of globes, maps, map projections, and atlases. Through the generosity of Melville Eastham the division received copies of his magnum opus, Atlas sive cosmographic meditationes de fabrica mundi et fabricati figvra (Duisburg, 1595), and the first two parts of this atlas which were issued as separate publications prior to Mercator's death in 1594, Galliae tabule geographic(Duisburg, 1585) and Italiae, Sclavoni, et Grcitabule geographice (Duisburg, 1589). The Library of Congress has copies of these editions as well as representative copies of subsequent editions published by Jodocus Hondius, who purchased the plates in 1606, and by his son Henricus and Jan Jansson.
Other rare pre-1600 printed world atlases include Gerard de Jode's, Specvlvm orbis terrarvm [Mirror of the World] (Antwerp, 1578), one of twelve recorded copies; Christopher Saxton's An Atlas of England and Wales (London, 1579), the first atlas of any country, which is called "the Elizabethan atlas" because each map bears the coat of arms of Queen Elizabeth and Thomas Seckford, one of the Queen's Masters of Requests, who commissioned the maps; Corneille Wytfliet's Descriptionis Ptolemaic avgmentvm, siue Occidentis (Louvain, 1597), the first atlas devoted exclusively to the New World; Matthias Quad's Evropae totivs orbis terrarvm. (Cologne, 1592); and Maurice Bouguereau's Le thatre franois [Tours, 1594], one of nine known copies of the first national atlas of France.
The Golden Age of Dutch Cartography that was inaugurated by Ortelius and Mercator found its fullest expression during the seventeenth century with the production of monumental multivolume world atlases in Amsterdam by Joan Blaeu, Jan Jansson, Claes Janszoon Visscher, Abraham Goos, and Frederik de Wit. The division possesses excellent representative copies of all of these publishers, including Joan Blaeu's Le grand atlas (Amsterdam, 1667), a monumental twelve-volume French edition; Jansson's Novus Atlas (Amsterdam, 1658); and Joan Blaeu's Spanish edition of Atlas mayor, which he issued between 1659 and 1672. The Spanish edition is very rare because almost the whole edition was destroyed by fire in 1672 when the publishing house of Blaeu was burned. About twenty copies are known to exist in public libraries and private collections.
Title page from
Pieter van den Keere's La Germanie Infrievre (Amsterdam, 1622),
the first original atlas of the Netherlands published in folio size. Strong
nationalistic overtones are evident in its iconography, which is typical of the
elaborately decorated title pages found in Dutch atlases of the period.
Joan Blaeu's Le Grand Atlas, volume 1 (Amsterdam, 1667). Issued
in twelve volumes, the French edition of Blaeu's great work is one of the
largest and most elaborate atlases ever produced. It contains about six hundred
exquisitely engraved and colored maps, plans, and drawings of all parts of the
known world. The allegorical scene, showing the figure of Geography in a chariot
drawn by two lions, is based on a painting by Peter Paul Rubens. The
personification of the four continents is displayed by female gures associated
with appropriate animals.
During the eighteenth century Dutch publishing houses continued the tradition of publishing voluminous atlases, often assembled from maps acquired from other rms. The Library of Congress's copy of Johannes Cvens and Cornelis Mortier's Atlas nouveau (Amsterdam, 1761?) includes 922 maps bound into nine volumes while its Reiner and Josua Ottens's Atlas maior (Amsterdam, 1641 1729) contains 835 maps by various cartographers, all beautifully hand colored. Housed in the Rare Book and Special Collections Division is a copy of the largest atlas ever published. Issued in sixty-six volumes by Pieter van der Aa between 1700 and 1729, the Galerie agrable du monde contains more than three thousand plates and maps. Of the 100 sets originally printed, only a few complete copies survive today.
The center of the European map trade began to shift from the Low Countries to France in the 1650s with the publication of Nicolas Sanson's Cartes gnrales de tovtes les parties dv monde in Paris in 1654 which introduced French precision in mapping. Extremely rare in its unaltered state, the division possesses a copy of the second edition printed in 1658 and a two-volume 1670 edition with 153 maps. Among other copies of Sanson's atlases is his Gographie universelle (Paris, 1675?), dedicated in manuscript to the Dauphin, son of Louis XIV. Sanson was succeeded by Alexis Hubert Jaillot who was named Gographe Ordinaire du Roi in 1675. Two variant copies of his two-volume Atlas franois (Paris, 1695) are found in the division, one containing 123 maps, the other 138 maps.
French geographers placed cartography on a firm scientific footing during the eighteenth century, and many of their maps reflect original surveys or rst-hand accounts obtained from French explorers and missionaries. The division holds a large number of French atlases from this period including works by Jean Baptiste Nolin; Guillaume Delisle, the leading cartographer of his era; Philippe Buache, a theoretical geographer; Jean Baptiste Bourguignon d'Anville; and Gilles and Didier Robert de Vaugondy, whose Atlas universel (Paris, 1757 1758) was published with the support of Madame de Pompadour.
The harbor of Bombay as depicted in
William Hacke's A Description of the Sea Coasts. Known as the
"Buccaneer's Atlas," this manuscript work was compiled in London about 1690 from
Spanish charts captured by the English privateer, Bartholomew Sharpe.
British world atlases date from John Speed's A Prospect of the Most Famous Parts of the World, first published in London in 1627. The division possesses a copy of the 1631 edition and two variants of his The Theatre of the Empire of Great Britain (London, 1676), which includes a copy ofProspect. The division also has a copy of Moses Pitt's English Atlas (4 volumes, Oxford, 1680 1683), which remained incomplete when Pitt was imprisoned in the Fleet for debt. Other prolific British publishers during the end of the eighteenth and early nineteenth century for which the division holds numerous copies of their world atlases are Thomas Kitchin, Herman Moll, Robert Sayer, John Cary, Thomas Jefferys, William Faden, and John Arrowsmith.
The division's holdings of German and Italian eighteenth-century atlases are represented by Johann Baptist Homann, geographer to Charles VI, Holy Roman Emperor, who revitalized German cartography with his Neuer Atlas (Nuremberg, 1730) and Grosser Atlas (Nuremberg, 1737), both of which were reissued numerous times; Matthaeus Seutter; Vincenzo Coronelli, an Italian globe and atlas publisher; and Franz Anton Schraembl, who published the first world atlas in Austria.
Both manuscript and printed sea atlases are well represented in the collection. The earliest sea atlases were derived during the late thirteenth century in Italy or Majorca from portolan charts which in turn had evolved from sailing guides, known as portolanos. Excellent examples of rare illuminated portolan atlases are found in the Vellum Chart Collection, including works by Battista Agnese (Venice, 1544); Joan Martines (Messina, circa 1560); and Jean Andr Brmond (Marseilles, 1670).
The Library of Congress's collection of printed sea atlases begins with Benedetto Bordone's Libro . . . de tutte l'isole del mondo (Venice, 1528), the first book of island maps. The next major advance in the development of the printed sea atlases dates from the publication of Lucas Janszoon Waghenaer's Spieghel der zeevaerdt [Mariners Mirror] by Christoffel Plantijn in Leyden in 1585, which contains the first charts on a common scale, a manual of practical navigation, and sailing directions for the North Atlantic off the coast of Europe. The Library of Congress possesses copies of the 1585 Dutch edition and 1586 Latin edition as well as the 1588 English edition translated by Sir Anthony Ashley.
The Dutch dominated the chart trade during the seventeenth century through the privately owned East and West India Companies, established in 1602 and 1621, respectively. Selected titles among the division holdings are listed to suggest the comprehensive nature of this material: Willem Barendsz's Description de la mer Mditerrane (Amsterdam, 1607), the first sea-pilot for the Mediterranean Sea; Willem Janszoon Blaeu's The Light of Navigation (Amsterdam, 1622); Pieter Goos's De Zee-atlas (Amsterdam, 1666); Joannes van Loon'sKlaer lichtende noort-ster ofte zee atlas (Amsterdam, 1661); and Joannes van Keulen's The Great and Newly Enlarged Sea Atlas (3 volumes, Amsterdam, 1682 1686), an English edition of the great Dutch work.
French and British charts began to replace the hold that Dutch charts had on the atlas trade during the eighteenth century with the expansion of maritime activities in these two countries. TheNeptune franois (Amsterdam and Paris, 1693 1700), prepared under official French auspices and published simultaneously in Paris by Jaillot and in Amsterdam by Mortier, includes some seventy charts of the Atlantic and Mediterranean coasts. Jacques Nicolas Bellin's Atlas maritime (Paris, 1751) superceded Jaillot's atlas and continued to be issued into the nineteenth century. Early British maritime atlases are represented by Sir Robert Dudley's Dell'arcano del mare (Florence, 1646 1647), the first maritime atlas to use the Mercator projection and a beautiful example of the engraver's art; John Seller's rare copy of the The English Pilot (London, 1671), which initiated the printed chart trade in England; and four variants of Seller's Atlas maritimus, or the sea-atlas (London, 1675). By the turn of the nineteenth century most charts were produced as separates, but the collection includes one American sea atlas by Edmund March Blunt, the leading American chart maker. Published in 1830, it consists of fourteen charts of the Atlantic Ocean.
Chart of northwest Africa and Western Europe from
Jean Andr Brmond's manuscript portolan atlas compiled in Marseilles in 1670.
Nautical chart of the Mediterranean Sea (left
right) from Le Neptune franois by the artist-engraver Romein de
Hooghe. Part of a two-volume work prepared initially under official French
auspices but re-engraved for commercial use, it was published privately by
Pieter Mortier in Amsterdam in 1693. Although the Dutch dominated the market for
charts and sea atlases throughout the seventeenth century, French hydrographers
were the first to place hydrographic surveying on a scientific basis.
Complementing the seas atlases are atlases prepared to accompany the great voyages of discovery during the late eighteenth century. These include one of five known copies of Thomas Jefferys's Collection of Charts of the Coasts of Newfoundland and Labrador (London, 1770?), based on maps by James Cook, Michael Lane, and Joseph Gilbert; James Cook's atlas accompanying An Account of the Voyages . . . for Making Discoveries in the Southern Hemisphere . . . (London, 1773); Jean Franois de Galaup, Comte de Laprouse's Atlas du voyage de La Prouse (Paris, 1797), which contains maps of "all the lands which had escaped the vigilance of Cook"; George Vancouver's atlas accompanying Voyage of Discovery to the North Pacific Ocean and Round the World (London, 1798); Mikhail Teben'kov's Atlas sieverozapadnykh beregov Ameriki ot Beringova proliva do mysa Korrentes i ostrovov Aleutskikh [Atlas of the Northwest Coasts of America from the Bering Strait to Cape Corrientes and the Aleutian Islands] (St. Petersburg, 1852), prepared by the former governor of Russian Alaska, which provided the best charts of the Pacific coast of the United States until 1854; Charles Wilkes's atlas of charts accompanying his report on the U.S. Exploring Expedition (Philadelphia, 1858), the first scientific maritime exploring expedition sponsored by the federal government.
Chart of Bora Bora, French Polynesia, 1823, from
Louis Isidore Duperrey's Voyage autour du Monde . . . Hydrographie, Atlas
(Paris, 1827). Duperrey led a scientific expedition around the world from 1822
to 1825. French scientific expeditions by Baudin, Freycinet, Duperrey, and
Dumont d'Urville pioneered the concept of publishing the results of exploratory
voyages in a series of volumes oriented to different disciplines.
Plans of cities, towns, and private estates have been bound in atlas format since the sixteenth century. The division is fortunate to have an excellent copy of the earliest atlas devoted to city plans, Antoine du Pinet's Plantz, povrtraitz, et descriptions de plvsievrs villes et forteresses, tant de l'Evrope, Asie, & Afrique, que des Indes, & terrees neuues, published in Lyon in 1564. It also has copies of both the Latin and French editions of Georg Braun and Franz Hogenberg's Civitates orbis terrarvm, the first systematic city atlas, which was published in six parts from 1572 to 1618. Containing 350 plans and views of most of the leading cities of the world, the French edition is generally considered the most magnificent city atlas. One of the most beautifully engraved and hand-colored atlases in the division is Joan Blaeu's Theatrvm civitatvm et admirandorvm Itali (Amsterdam, 1663), a two-volume collection of architectural drawings, statues, and landscape views in Italy, Piedmont, and Savoy. Considered among the finest topographical works ever published, only a small number were printed. Several manuscript estate atlases are also found in the collections that document the real estate holdings of the landed gentry in England.
During the last two decades of the nineteenth century, Griffith Morgan Hopkins
and others published detailed city atlases including this 1887 atlas of
This detail from a sheet of the U.S. Capitol and vicinity includes the
outline of the planned Library of Congress of Congress which was not completed
until ten years later. The home of the Librarian of Congress, Ainsworth R.
Spofford, is identifIed at the northeast corner of block 691.
With the advent of lithography and other modern printing techniques, the number of atlases published during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries increased dramatically. Consequently, the Library of Congress's holdings of atlases from the last two centuries is voluminous (constituting over 90 percent of the atlas collection). These holdings include general world atlases, regional volumes for all countries and many states, counties, and cities, military atlases, and special purpose or thematic atlases devoted to a wide variety of cultural, economic, historical, and scientific subjects.
The prenineteenth-century practice of publishing world and regional atlases that included general reference maps of the world, continents, and individual countries proliferated during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries as publishers attempted to reach large, general audiences. The division's holdings are particularly strong in terms of general world atlases issued by American, British, and German nineteenth-century publishers. The United States, which did not enter the atlas publishing business until the end of the eighteenth century, is represented by Mathew Carey, Jedidiah Morse, John Melish, Henry S. Tanner, Fielding Lucas, Anthony Finley, S. Augustus Mitchell, G. Woolworth Colton, Alvin J. Johnson, George F. Cram, and Rand McNally and Company. Some of the more prominent British publishers include Aaron Arrowsmith, John Bartholomew, Alexander K. Johnston, and George Philip. German holdings include the works of Richard Andree, Ernst Debes, Heinrich Kiepert, Justus Perthes, and Adolf Stieler. In the case of the last publisher, the Library of Congress holds over thirty-five editions or variant issues of his Hand-Atlas ber alle Theile der Erde (Gotha, 1816 1937), including a rare photocopy of the 1937 edition reprinted by the U.S. Office of Strategic Services after 1943.
In addition to the fire insurance maps and atlases described in the Special Collections chapter, the division holds a large number of large-scale city real estate atlases. Prepared for tax assessment and sales purposes, these atlases depict the size, shape, and construction material of individual buildings; lot boundaries and identification; and sometimes property ownership.
While city atlases served a specialized clientele, their rural counterparts, known as county landownership atlases, were a commercial enterprise promoted by subscription campaigns and directed to a wider audience. Based on the pre-Civil War production of wall-sized, single-sheet county landownership maps, atlases showing landownership developed into a popular atlas format starting in the 1860s in the northeastern United States, and expanding into the midwestern states by the 1870s and 1880s. These commercially published atlases contain cadastral or landownership maps for the individual townships within a county. In addition, they often include county and township histories, personal and family biographies and portraits, and views of important buildings, residences, farms, or prized livestock. The division holds more than 1,800 county landownership atlases.
Hand-colored lithographic map of Deer Creek Township in Tazewell County,
showing names of individual landowners, along with a stylized view of a
prosperous farmstead in a nearby township. Published in 1873 by the firm of
Alfred T. Andreas, one of the pioneers in the development of illustrated county
and state atlases, this atlas is representative of the county land ownership
atlases which became popular during the last half of the nineteenth century.
The rise of thematic or special purpose cartography, which focuses on mapping the distribution of single or multiple interrelated phenomena, had its origins in the advances in the natural sciences in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, particularly with the collection of vast amounts of scientific data and the search for innovative techniques of presenting this data graphically. Examples of early physical geography atlases in the Library of Congress include Alexander von Humboldt's Atlas gographique et physique du royaume de la Nouvelle-Espagne (Paris, 1811), which records his observations during a 1799 to 1804 expedition to South and Central America; Heinrich Berghaus's three-volume Physikalischer Atlas (Gotha, 1845 1848), the first atlas to portray the physical geography of the world; Alexander Keith Johnston's Physical Atlas (Edinburgh, 1848), an English adaptation of the Berghaus atlas; and Traugott Broome's Atlas zu Alex. v. Humboldt's Kosmos [Stuttgart, 1851 1853], which was prepared to accompany Humboldt's five-volume Kosmos, a complete physical geography of the universe.
Map of botanical geography, derived from the work of German geographer
Alexander von Humboldt and Danish botanist Joakim Frederik Schouw, is from
Heinrich Berghaus's three-volume Physikalischer Atlas (Gotha,
1845), the first atlas to portray the physical geography of the world.
Consisting of some ninety maps, the atlas is divided into eight sections:
meteorology and climatology, hydrology and hydrography, geology, earth
magnetism, botanical geography, zoological geography, anthropogeography, and
The focus of thematic atlases expanded to include the broad geographical topics of population, culture, agriculture, land use, and transportation. In the United States, the first atlases focusing exclusively on population were the U.S. Census Office's Statistical Atlas of the United States Based on the Results of the Ninth Census 1870 (New York, 1874), compiled by Francis A. Walker, and Scribner's Statistical Atlas of the United States (New York, 1883), compiled by Fletcher W. Hewes and Henry H. Gannett from the 1880 census. Subsequent statistical atlases were published by the U.S. Census Office for the 1890, 1900, 1910, and 1920 censuses. In recent years, more specialized atlases have appeared including such topics as religion, archaeology, skiing, water management, and ocean resources.
Following the Civil War, a number of important atlases, copies of which are found in the division's holdings, were issued by various agencies of the federal government. Several of these were associated with the renewed interest in exploring, surveying, and mapping the American West. In the period from 1867 to 1879, the federal government sponsored four topographical and geological surveys of the region. Commonly referred to as the Wheeler, King, Hayden, and Powell surveys, these four great western surveys produced volumes of geologic, economic, and ethnographic information as well as the first topographic and geologic atlases of the region.
Panoramic view of the Grand Canyon by William H. Holmes from Capt. Clarence E. Dutton's Atlas to Accompany the Monograph on the Tertiary History of the Grand Caon District (Washington, 1882). The leading scientific illustrator of topographic and geologic phenomena for the Great Western Surveys following the Civil War, Holmes later became the first director of the National Gallery of Art in Washington.
Although atlases of single countries or specific regions have been published periodically since the late sixteenth century, it is only within the past eighty or ninety years that the national atlas, with an array of detailed reference and thematic maps of the country, has appeared. The publication of such atlases was made possible by the extension of topographical surveys, development of new earth science disciplines, and the increase in statistical gathering techniques. One of the first to describe comprehensively a land and its people was the Atlas de Finlande (Helsinki, 1899). Consisting of thirty-two plates, printed in French, the atlas focused on Finland's physical environment, history, population, and communication network. Setting the standard for other national atlases produced in the twentieth century, it is now in its fifth edition under the title of Suomen Kartasto/Atlas over Finland/ Atlas of Finland (Helsinki, 1977). With the fall of the Chinese monarchy and the establishment of the Republic in 1911 to 1912, Wen-chiang Ting's Chung-hua min kuo hsin ti t'u [New Atlas of the Republic of China] (Shanghai, 1934) documented many geographical changes that were not previously known outside that country. Although the atlas received relatively wide distribution in Western countries, its usefulness was limited until the Geography and Map Division published a translation in 1949, A Supplementary Key to Accompany the V. K. Ting Atlas of China (Edition of 1934).
The economic map of the former Georgian Soviet Socialist Republic from the
Bol'shoi sovetskii atlas mira [Great Soviet World Atlas] (Moscow,
1937 1939). Issued just before World War II, this atlas was withdrawn from
circulation by Soviet authorities since it contained many detailed maps of the
Soviet Union. The Office of Strategic Services issued a color facsimile in 1943
from one of two copies obtained by the U.S. government before the atlas was
restricted. The Geography and Map Division has copies of both the original
publication and the 1943 facsimile.
After World War II, there was an enormous increase in both the number and quality of national and regional atlases, and in the United States, France, and Canada, particularly of state and provincial atlases. While the pre-twentieth-century atlases were produced by individual cartographers, geographers, commercial publishing firms, or geographical societies, the more recent ones have been prepared by government agencies with large, skilled cartographic staffs. The contents of these atlases have evolved from the general, richly decorated early maps to the comprehensive reference works of today that include not only topographic maps but many different kinds of thematic maps in which the latest innovative graphic design concepts are employed. The first comprehensive and uniformly designed national atlas of the Untied States was the U.S. Geological Survey's National Atlas of the United States of America (Washington, D.C., 1970), which was edited by Arch C. Gerlach, Chief of the Geography and Map Division from 1950 to 1967. Representative of other national atlases published during the last thirty years is The National Atlas of Japan (Tokyo, 1977), which was issued simultaneously in Japanese and English. Outstanding examples of modern state and provincial atlases are William G. Loy's Atlas of Oregon (Eugene, 1976), which was compiled with the cooperation of state universities and colleges, and state and federal agencies, and Economic Atlas of Ontario (Toronto, 1969), which was a cooperative enterprise of the University of Toronto and the Ontario Department of Economics and Development.
Source: Library of Congress: The geography and map division of the Library of Congress holds more than 53,000 atlases, the largest and most comprehensive collection in the world. Additional rare atlases are found in the Rare Book and Special Collections Division. Geographical coverage of the atlas collection is heavily weighted toward the United States (47 percent), world (19 percent), and Europe (16 percent). Some 20,000 atlases acquired before 1973 are described in Philip Lee Phillips and Clara Egli LeGear's A List of Geographical Atlases in the Library of Congress with Bibliographic Notes (9 volumes, Washington, 1909 1992) and LeGear's United States Atlases (2 volumes, Washington, 1950 1953). These monumental works represent a singular contribution to the field of the history of cartography by Mrs. LeGear who contributed to this project from 1914 to 1992, an unprecedented seventy-eight years (forty-two years as a staff member and thirty-six years as a volunteer).