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Historical Maps & Atlases

Special Collections curates maps and atlases depicting Long Island and New York State dating back to the seventeenth century. Holdings for the map and atlas collections can be located in SBU Libraries' discovery catalog, SEARCH.



F.W. Beers (1839-1933)
Map of Stony Brook from Beers, F. W. Atlas of Long Island, New York: from Recent and Actual Surveys and Records.
New York: Beers, Comstock and Cline, 1873.

Members of the Beers family were leading publishers of state and county atlases after the Civil War. F. W. Beers, D. G. Beers, and J. B. Beers had their own publishing companies. Notable features of the Atlas of Long Island are notations of property owners, buildings, businesses, and statistical information.

Willem Janszoon Blaeu (1571-1638)
Access:Nova Belgica et Anglia Nova.
[Amsterdam]: Blaeu, ca. 1635.

This hand colored map depicts New England and the Middle Atlantic states from Penobscot Bay south to the mouth of Chesapeake Bay. It appears in Willem and Joan Blaeu’s Theatrum orbis terrarum, sive Atlas Novus, 1640 and other editions. Oriented with north to the right, the title is written in Latin with place names in Latin, Dutch, and vernacular languages. Blaeu was a surveyor, globe maker, publisher, and the head of a map-making firm with his two sons Joan and Cornelis. This map of New Netherland and New England derives from Adriaen Block’s 1614 hand-drawn chart. The chart defined Manhattan and Long Island as islands after Block’s explorations of Long Island Sound and coastal waters up to Cape Cod and it served as the cornerstone for Dutch claims to the lower Northeast. It is decorated with deer, foxes, bears, egrets, rabbits, cranes, turkeys, beavers, polecats and otters, suggesting to fur traders the economic potential of region. A number of important place names make their first appearance on this map include Manhattan, Hell Gate, and Block Island. Long Island (called Matouwacs on this map), is shown as broken up by waterways-a feature taken from the Block Chart.

David H. Burr  (1803-1875)
Access: Map of Suffolk County from An Atlas of the State of New York: Containing a Map of the Documents Deposited in the Public Offices of the State and other Original and Authentic Information under the Superintendence and Direction of Simeon de Witt, Surveyor General, Pursuant to an Act of the Legislature; and also the Physical Geography of the State and of the Several Counties and Statistical Tables of the Same.
New York: D. H. Burr, 1829.
David Burr was an American cartographer, surveyor and topographer. He served in several positions for the United States government. Burr published his first atlas in 1829, the Atlas of the State of New York, which was sponsored by the state government. It was the second atlas ever created for a state.

Rand McNally and Company.
Access: Long Island and Vicinity. Prepared for Texaco.
Chicago: Rand McNally, 1930.

Gasoline for automobiles was originally purchased in barrels and brought home, or pumped out of a barrel at grocer or dry goods stores. The location of the first true drive up service station is unresolved. Some contend it was a Standard Oil of California station that opened in Seattle in 1907. Others contend that the first modern design service station was built by Gulf Refining Company in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in 1913. This Gulf Station was believed to have handed out the first free road map. Some of the most rare and most historically interesting service station maps, such as this one prepared for Texaco, were produced between 1920 and the end of World War II. After 1965, the quality of service station maps declined until their virtual disappearance in the 1980s. (source: Inkspot Antiques).

Access: Map from Cyclists’ Paradise: A Guide for Cyclists with an Accurate Map Showing the Roads and Cycle Paths of Long Island: with Notes, Suggestions, Runs, Hotels and Time Tables Sufficient to Enable Any One to “Lay Out a Trip” Intelligently.
Long Island City, NY: Issued by the Long Island Railroad Co, 1899.

Beginning in the mid-19th century, the Long Island Rail Road produced countless numbers of travel and guidebooks touting Long Island as both an ideal resort destination and as a place to permanently reside. This map is part of an 18 page booklet that outlined a variety of routes for bicyclists to navigate the island. The roads in red were categorized as good, fair, and poor, however the small scale of the map and the blurred printing may have impacted bicyclists’ attempts to “lay out a trip intelligently,” as the title suggests.
This book has been digitized by SBU Libraries and can viewed at:

Larry Auerbach, artist.
The State University of New York at Stony Brook…: A Vision from the Clouds.
[Stony Brook, NY]: 1978.

Graphic artist Larry Auerbach (Stony Brook University, class of 1975) drew this comically detailed map of the Stony Brook University campus. For example, look closely and you will see flying saucers taking off the Earth and Space Sciences building. Auerbach, a math major who would later segue into graphic arts, originally proposed the idea of a coloring book, but it was decided to produce an aerial drawing. This map took him nearly one year to complete. The intent was to distribute them to new students at orientation, and through coloring the maps, students would ostensibly become familiar with the campus. Auerbach is “gratified to know that his rendition has a home in the (Stony Brook) University Archives.”

Access: Map of Long Island showing the Long Island Railroad System and Montauk Steamboat Company’s Lines.
[New York? : s.n.], 1904. Engraved by American Bank Note Company New York.

Established in 1853, the Montauk Steamboat Company, Ltd. operated the steamboats Montauk and Shinnecock between New York City and the north shore, eastern end of Long Island. Both steamers made daily trips in the summer with stops at Sag Harbor, Shelter Island, Greenport, and Orient. Sailing in the Long Island Sound, there were also routes to Block Island, Rhode Island with connections to Providence and Newport. In May 1899, the Long Island Rail Road acquired the Montauk Steamboat Company, Ltd., and consequently eliminated its biggest competitor.

Thomas Kitchin (1718-1784)
Access: The Southern Part of the Province of New York: with Part of the Adjoining Colonies.
[London]: Printed for R. Baldwin, 1778
Thomas Kitchin was an English engraver, cartographer, and hydrographer to the King of England. This Revolutionary war-era, hand colored British map of New York was published in the London Magazine. It focuses on “Hudsons River,” extends from Albany to Long Island, and includes parts of Massachusets Bay (sic), Connecticut, and New Jersey. A note at the northeastern border of New York reads “Bounds of New York and Massachusetts Bay not settled.”

Frederick de Wit (ca. 1629-1706)
Section from Nova Totius Terrarum Orbis Tabula.
Amstelodami: F. de Wit, [1668].

Frederick de Wit’s embellished map of the world was first published in 1668. The map includes color illustrations and ancillary maps of north and south polar regions, and allegorical vignettes depicting the elements.

Map of Stony Brook University, ca. 1962.  
Stony Brook University was founded 62 years ago in 1957 in Oyster Bay as State University College on Long Island, and moved to Stony Brook in 1962 on land donated by local philanthropist Ward Melville. The Stony Brook campus opened on Sunday, September 16, 1962 with 780 students enrolled in its programs. The first buildings to be constructed were the Humanities and Chemistry Buildings and a single, corridor-style dormitory named “G Dorm,” comprised of two wings connected by a cafeteria. This building also housed the administrative and faculty offices, the student newspaper, student government offices, and the infirmary. The University continued to embark on a series of expansion projects to meet the needs of its soaring enrollment. By 1964, the University offered 232 courses within fourteen academic departments in the College of Arts and Sciences and thirty courses under four departments in the College of Engineering. Part of the State University of New York system, Stony Brook University has grown tremendously and is now recognized as one of the nation’s important centers of learning and scholarship - carrying out the mandate given by the State Board of Regents in 1960 to become a university that would “stand with the finest in the country.”