About the Collection
Historic maps of Nevada are scarce and found in only a few of the state's repositories of cultural heritage. In the earliest maps Nevada, along with much of the Western Hemisphere, was originally identified, if at all, as 'terra incognita' - unknown land. This collection of historic maps was selected by age, condition, and how well they would be presented on a web site, in addition to their general representation of the development and settlement of the area which became the state of Nevada.
The historic maps included in this collection were published by the U.S. government, Nevada and other state or territorial governments, publishers of commercial maps and atlases local and national, and associations such as the Lincoln Highway Association. Most are published on printing presses but some are hand-drawn manuscripts; most are in English but some of the earlier maps are in French. By constraint of available material, the history presented is focused on western settlement. Although few were found, maps representing Native American settlements or culture were included.
The printed copies of the historic maps currently in this online collection are owned by the Nevada Historical Society, the Nevada State Library and Archives, and the Special Collections Department of Getchell Library, University of Nevada, Reno. Until now, they have not been readily accessible to the students of this large state nor to the general public except through on-site visitation. Compounding their obscurity, their cataloging is limited and, therefore, they are largely unknown to the casual researcher. The inventory for the initial selection was carried out by the UNR map librarian, who was thrilled by the collective depth of their holdings and deeply appreciates the willingness of these institutions to share their rare materials for this project. Continuation of this statewide review of maps held by other institutions will undoubtedly produce a much broader spectrum of maps for this site.