19th Century Ward Maps of U.S. Cities

A Guide to Olin Library Holdings

Before the development of the current census geography, the Census Bureau used city voting wards as census divisions. Because these maps identify in which ward a particular street address was located when a given census was taken, they provide a key for locating and interpreting the information gathered in early federal and state censuses.

The Library of Congress has published Ward Maps of United States Cities : A Selective Checklist of Pre-1900 Maps in the Library of Congress. (OLIN MAPS + Z6028 .U575 W2 ) The selection includes the 25 most populous cities found in the 1880 decennial federal census, plus 10 other cities which are frequent subjects for population or genealogical research. The checklist describes 232 maps dating from 1790 through 1899. All of these maps have been reproduced on OLIN MICROFICHE 1546. Maps are available on fiche for the following cities:

  • Albany, NY
  • Allegheny
  • (Pittsburgh), PA
  • Atlanta, GA
  • Baltimore, MD
  • Boston, MA
  • Brooklyn, NY
  • Buffalo, NY
  • Charleston, SC
  • Chicago, IL
  • Cincinnati, OH
  • Cleveland, OH
  • Columbus, OH
  • Denver, CO
  • Detroit, MI
  • Hartford, CT
  • Indianapolis, IN
  • Jersey City, NJ
  • Kansas City, MO
  • Louisville, KY
  • Memphis, TN
  • Milwaukee, WI
  • Minneapolis, MN
  • New Haven, CT
  • New Orleans, LA
  • New York, NY
  • Newark, NJ
  • Philadelphia, PA
  • Pittsburgh, PA
  • Providence, RI
  • Richmond, VA
  • Rochester, NY
  • St. Loius, MO
  • St. Paul, MN
  • San Francisco, CA
  • Washington, DC

Cities in New York State:
Photographic copies of all of the maps for New York State cities are also available in the Map Collection. Consult the catalog under the subject heading [City name]--Administrative and political divisions--Maps.

Manhattan from 1900:
City wards were not used as the geographic base for the 1900 census in Manhattan. To identify Enumeration District (ED) numbers in Manhattan for the 1900, 1920, 1930 or 1940 census, consult OLIN MAPS G 3804 .N4 : 2M3 E25 [year]. These maps are photocopies of originals held in the Cartographic and Architectural Branch, National Archives and Records Administration.

Other United States cities:
Cartographic Records of the Census Bureau (OLIN MAPS CD 3026 A32 no. 103) lists enumeration district maps for the censuses of 1880 through 1940. If no maps are shown as being available, it means that even the National Archives lacks these cartographic records.