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Research Guides

Historical Visual Materials Collections: Maps

This guide lists a variety of research materials such as photographs, architectural plans, postcards, historical maps, artwork and ephemera.

Search for Maps

Library Catalog

Some of the maps in Special Collection's are in the process of being cataloged. However, a significant portion of the maps can be found in the library catalog. Once you identify an appropriate call number, staff can also bring you related uncataloged maps to peruse as well.

In the library catalog, you can customize your search to include only special collections material by clicking "show only:" and selecting UW Special Collecitons.

You can also refine the search by resource type to only show maps by selecting the box for maps in the left column of the search results.

The Special Collections Reference Area

There are a wide variety of maps and atlases available to browse in the special collections reading room. Ask the reference staff in the reading room to assist you.

  • Baist's Real Estate Atlas of Surveys of Seattle: 1905, 1908, 1912
  • select Kroll Atlases of Seattle: 1912, 1914, 1920, 1928, and of other locations around Puget Sound.
  • Metsker's Atlas of King County: 1926, 1936. Metsker's atlases of other locations housed in Special Collections are described in a separate list.
  • 19th century plats of the city of Seattle collected by Arthur A. Denny.
  • An atlas produced in 1975 by the Historic Seattle Preservation and Development Authority about Seattle neighborhoods. 
  • Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps may be consulted on microfilm in the Suzzallo Library's Microform department. Seattle Public Library users may also access them online.

Digital Collections

  • Special Collection's historical and rare maps range from 16th-century world maps to 19th and early 20th-century Pacific Northwest maps and bird's-eye views. Many color examples can be found in the World and Regional Maps, 16th to 19th Centuries Digital Collection. This collection emphasizes North America, the Pacific Northwest, and exploration in this region from the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.
  • The Early Washington Maps Collection is the product of a partnership between the University of Washington Libraries Map Collections and Washington State University's Manuscripts, Archives, and Special Collections. The maps have been drawn solely from the collections of these two institutions and are widely varied, ranging from large-scale geographical maps to small hand-drawn sketches of settlements.

Related Links and Guides

University of Washington Libraries Map Collection & Cartographic Information Services