More than Just a Pretty Picture: The Map Collection at the Library of Virginia

Cassandra Britt Farrell


The Library of Virginia’s map collection has grown significantly since the Library opened in 1823. Seven maps and four atlases are listed in the 1828 catalog and today approximately 65,000 maps are housed at the Library of Virginia. Rare manuscript collections, valuable “mother” maps of the state, and thousands of maps produced for commercial and federal publications are available for patron use. They are more than just pretty pictures, as this article attempts to show. In fact, this article is based on a presentation I gave in August 2008 at the Library of Virginia during the exhibition “From Williamsburg to Wills’s Creek: the Fry-Jefferson Map of Virginia.”

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