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The University of Texas at Austin

Research Reference Tools

 

The Dolph Briscoe Center for American History's Research and Collections Division houses more than 35,000 printed and manuscript maps which date from 1513 to the present. These cartographic resources depict many geographic areas throughout the world, but their special strengths relate to Texas, the U.S. South, the U.S. Southwest, and Mexico. The Briscoe Center's maps have been acquired individually or as discrete, previously assembled collections or have been separated from archival and manuscript collections.

Online Resources:

Detail from USGS Map of Uvalde, TX
Selected Digitized Maps
Browse over 500 selected maps from the Briscoe Center collections available through the Briscoe Center's History Online digital media repository.
image detail from Sanborn Map
Sanborn Maps
Sanborn Fire Insurance Map Collection, 1877-1951, detailing the built environment of some 426 Texas cities and towns (complete list of Briscoe Center Sanborn map holdings); digitized Sanborn maps are also available online through the University of Texas Libraries Map Collection.
Detail from USGS Map of Uvalde, TX
USGS Maps
United States Geological Survey/U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Historic Topographic Map Collection, 1889-1939, regarding the historical topography and development of Texas; digitized USGS maps are available online through the University of Texas Libraries Map Collection.

Mitchell’s Map of TexasDetail from Mitchell’s Map of Texas, 1836, Earl Vandale Map Collection, di_03369

On-site Resources:

Access to the maps available in the Research and Collections Division is provided by an in-house card catalog through which individual maps are searchable by:

  • Geographic region or general topic
    Example: Texas; Tarrant County, Texas; San Antonio, Texas; Alabama; U. S. – Southwest; Texas Railroad Maps; Texas Highway Maps
  • Name of cartographer, publisher, or lithographer
    Example: Delisle, Guillaume or Burr, David
  • Name of collection
    Example: J.P. Bryan Collection or the M. L. Crimmins Collection
  • Detailed checklists and finding aids also exist for many of the discrete, previously-assembled map collections
  • Maps are stored in closed stacks and must be used in the James Stephen Hogg Reading Room

The strength of the Briscoe Center's cartographic resources is its Texas Cartography Collection, which is an in-depth collection of some 32,000 printed and manuscript maps depicting Texas from the era of the European encounter with the New World to the present. Notable holdings in this collection include:

  • Stephen F. Austin's personal collection of manuscript and printed maps (1767-1839), which includes the only known copy of Fiorenzo Galli's Texas. . . (1826), the first printed map of Texas
  • Father José Maria Puelles' manuscript Mapa Geographica de las Provincias Septentrionales de esta Nueva Espana (1807)
  • Stephen F. Austin's manuscript Mapa Geografico de la Provincia Tejas (1822)
  • Guillaume Delisle's Carte de la Louisiana et du Cours du Mississipi . . . (1718)
  • Juan Pedro Walker's Mapa Geografico . . . de las Provincias de Texas (1805)
  • Alexander von Humboldt's A Map of New Spain. . . . (1811)
  • John Melish's Map of the United States . . . (1816)
  • Stephen F. Austin's Map of Texas . . ., printed by H. S. Tanner (1830)
  • Ygnacio de Labastida's manuscript Plano de la Ciudad de San Antonio y fortificacion del Alamo (March, 1836)
  • Significant Texas-related map collections include the J. P. Bryan Collection, 1513-1845, relating to the exploration and historical settlement of Texas and the Gulf Coast; the M. L. Crimmins Collection, 1846-1922, documenting the Texas frontier military posts and roads after statehood; the James Harper Starr Collection, ca. 1830-1880, containing plat maps of most of the counties of Texas
  • United States Geological Survey/U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Historic Topographic Map Collection, 1889-1939, regarding the historical topography and development of Texas; USGS maps are also available online through the University of Texas Libraries Map Collection
  • Sanborn Fire Insurance Map Collection, 1877-1951, detailing the built environment of some 426 Texas cities and towns; Sanborn maps are also available online through the University of Texas Libraries Map Collection
  • Map collections of general interest, such as the McKie Philpott (1715-1936), the Henry Raguet (1846-1900's) and the Earl Vandale (1810-1939) collections

In addition to its Texas map resources, the Research and Collections Division contains important map collections on the American South and Europe. These include:

  • George W. Littlefield Collection, ca. 1560-1971, containing a wide variety of cartographic materials, with special emphasis on maps depicting the states of the Old South
  • Natchez Trace Collection, ca. 1763-1924, documenting the history and development of the lower Mississippi River Valley region
  • George McClendon Collection, 1635-1854, relating to early European history

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