April 30, 2013
Cambridge, MA — The Digital Public Library of America is pleased to announce it is partnering with the David Rumsey Map Collection to provide online access to tens of thousands of significant historical maps and images. As part of the relationship, David Rumsey will provide metadata for over 38,000 maps and images, making the entirety of his notable online collection instantly accessible via the DPLA website and API.
A couple prominent examples of items from the Rumsey collections available through the DPLA are The Eagle Map of the United States, produced by Joseph and James Churchman, Philadelphia, 1833, (view on the DPLA; see left), and the Map of Lewis and Clark’s Track, Across the Western Portion of North America, produced in 1814 (view on the DPLA). Other noteworthy items from Rumsey’s collections range from maps found in historic atlases to images of three-dimensional objects such as globes.
“I am very excited to have my digital library of historical maps added to the DPLA,” Rumsey said. “Maps tell stories that complement texts, images, and other resources found in the growing DPLA library. And the open content policies of my online library fit perfectly with DPLA’s mission to make cultural resources freely available to all. I see DPLA as reinvigorating the role of public libraries in educating children and adults in the digital age. I hope that my participation can serve as an example to others with private collections to share them with the public through the DPLA. Private collectors have always helped to build libraries and now they can do the same with digital cultural assets.”
“David Rumsey’s incredible collection of historical maps is one of the great private collections in the United States,” added DPLA Executive Director Dan Cohen. “What he has been able to assemble and make broadly available is simply astonishing. It is an honor to have these maps as part of the DPLA, and together to help others discover what their communities looked like in the past. We thank David for his generosity.”
Rumsey, President of Cartography Associates, a digital publishing company based in San Francisco, began building a collection of North and South American historical maps and related cartographic materials in 1980. His collection, with more than 150,000 maps, is one of the largest private map collections in the United States. In 1995, Rumsey began the task of making his collection public by building the online David Rumsey Historical Map Collection. Currently the online web site has over 38,000 high-resolution images of maps from his collection.
In 2009, Rumsey committed to donating his entire collection – both physical and digital – to Stanford University, which is currently creating an all-new Map Center to house it.
Rumsey’s online collection of maps is free to the public and is updated monthly. All of the online maps are searchable via the DPLA.
About the Digital Public Library of America
The Digital Public Library of America brings together the riches of America’s libraries, archives, and museums, and makes them freely available to the world. It strives to contain the full breadth of human expression, from the written word, to works of art and culture, to records of America’s heritage, to the efforts and data of science. The DPLA aims to expand this crucial realm of openly available materials, and make those riches more easily discovered and more widely usable and used. More information is online at http://dp.la.
About the David Rumsey Map Collection
The David Rumsey Map Collection was started over 25 years ago and contains more than 150,000 maps. The collection focuses on rare 18th and 19th century maps of North and South America, although it also has maps of the World, Asia, Africa, Europe, and Oceania. The collection includes atlases, wall maps, globes, school geographies, pocket maps, books of exploration, maritime charts, and a variety of cartographic materials including pocket, wall, children’s, and manuscript maps. Items range in date from about 1700 to 1950s. More information is online at http://www.davidrumsey.com/about/about.
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