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Inventory of Historic Maps of Mississippi
by Paul Davis

Background

This project began when I and other researchers became frustrated with trying to identify historic maps that met specific criteria such as date, place and special natural or cultural features. Most published or in-house library indexes itemized only major map features. Close examination of most maps revealed many additional features beyond those itemized on an index. Moreover, finding maps within certain date ranges that illustrated specific features for given geographic places such as counties was next to impossible.

Eventually it was realized that until a process was created to cross-reference features on a map with geographic places in Mississippi, the date, author and other criteria, researchers would continue the lengthy and often expensive travel process of finding that special map. Working in concert with the staff of the Mississippi Department of Archives and History (MDAH), the Library of Congress Geography and Map Division (LC), the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), The Mississippi River Commission (MRC) and many other cooperating repositories, a process and database template were designed to accommodate a systematic inventory of as many historic maps of the state as possible. The inventory process continues.

The essential ingredients of the process were the willingness and ability of the MDAH, LC, MRC and NARA staff to provide in-house space and a fluid flow of maps to accommodate a fast and accurate inventory. This they accomplished with exemplary efforts and results. Moreover, their expert skills and accommodating spirit enabled a greater volume and accuracy of information collected for most of the maps.

This has and continues to be a detail-oriented project, completely dependent on an examination of each map, accompanying reports and indexes produced by the map repositories. Thus, some - hopefully very few - errors of omission and commission may be found. Your gracious patience is pleaded. Do feel free to comment accordingly by sending us an email.