Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps:
A Guide to Olin Library Holdings
Digital Sanborn Maps
Sanborn fire insurance maps were produced by the Sanborn Map Company to provide accurate, current and detailed information to the fire insurance industry for risk assessment purposes. Between 1867 and 1970, the Company had mapped over 12,000 U.S. towns. The maps were revised periodically in order to be accurate and suitable for the intended use. This series of revisions provides the historical researcher with an invaluable series of neighbourhood snapshots.
The maps typically show a bird's eye view of a community at the scale of one inch to fifty feet. At this scale, it is possible to show each building in outline. The original maps were color encoded to indicate each building's exterior construction material.
A complex set of symbols - initials, numerals, an assortment of lines, circles and squares - are used to describe a building's use, composition and appearance.
Digital Sanborn Maps was created from ProQuest Information and Learning's microfilm collection of 660,000 Sanborn Maps, which were filmed from the Library of Congress' collection. It is owned by ProQuest, LLC and is protected by copyright and other laws that recognize the rights of copyright holders. Access is available to authorized users at subscribing institutions only and therefore limited to members of the Cornell community.
Entire United States
1867 - 1970. Coverage varies by place. Use Digital Sanborn maps
**Consult this guide in conjunction with the online maps. Fire Insurance Plans in the Library of Congress: A Checklist. Washington : Library of Congress, 1981. (MAPS +Z6026 I7 U58 1981)
1884 - 1950s. Film 5879. 48 reels. Also in Digital Sanborn maps
New York City - includes Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhatten, Queens, Staten Island
1880s to 1950s. Film 5835. Also in Digital Sanborn maps
1960s - 1990. **Film 7034. New York City. 78 reels. INDEX to this film
1975 - 2002. ** MAPS G++1254 N52 S19 Sanborn Manhattan Land Book of the City of New York. Covers Manhattan only. Issued annually. Current edition received 2004.
1884 - 1950s. Film 5666. 73 reels. Also in Digital Sanborn maps
** Indicates extra information that is not included in the online version