Historic Pelham

Presenting the rich history of Pelham, NY in Westchester County: current historical research, descriptions of how to research Pelham history online and genealogy discussions of Pelham families.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Studying Antique Maps of Pelham Using Online Services That Provide High Resolution Scans -- Part III

This will be the last in the current series of Blog postings regarding how to study rare and historically-significant maps of Pelham that are freely-available online from a variety of academic and private sources. Such maps are available as very high resolution electronic files that permit the use of freely-available software tools to magnify the maps and permit study of the maps in minute detail in ways that local historians could only dream about only a decade ago. It is possible, using such services, to locate at least several dozen such maps showing Pelham and surrounding areas available from online collections maintained by the Library of Congress, the New York Public Library, the David Rumsey Map Collection and many, many others.

During my last two blog postings I have addressed the online high-resolution map collections maintained by The Library of Congress in its American Memory Collection and by The New York Public Library. Both collections offer such maps, including many that show Pelham and surrounding areas, in the MrSID image compression format used by cartographers, academics, scholars and historians to study such maps in detail. I have saved the best for last, so to speak.

Today we will consider an excellent resource for viewing such maps and even downloading the maps and software tools that permit offline study: the public Web site of the David Rumsey Map Collection located at http://www.davidrumsey.com/. This award-winning Web site includes thousands of maps available online for study. Many of the maps in the collection show Pelham and surrounding areas. Included in the collection, merely by way of example, are high resolution images (capable of being magnified to sizes much larger than the original maps) of such maps as: (1) John H. Eddy's case map entitled "Map of the Country Thirty Miles Round the City of New York" prepared in 1811; (2) Frederick W. Beers' map entitled "Town of Pelham" showing Pelham and City Island published as a plate in a Beers atlas in 1868; (3) Plates including those that show Pelham and surrounding areas from the Westchester County Atlas published by Joseph Rudolf Bien and Cornelius Clarkson Vermeule in an Atlas of Westchester County published in 1891; (4) David H. Burr's 1829 map of Westchester County including Pelham; and many, many more.

Each and every one of these maps may be viewed on the David Rumsey Map Collection Web site where visitors can select portions of the maps and magnify them to several times their original size for careful study. In addition, exquisite bibliographic detail is maintained and presented for each and every map in the collection.

As with the Library of Congress and New York Public Library online collections, each and every map available on the David Rumsey Map Collection Web site may be downloaded from the site as a MrSID image compression file for offline study using the MrSID viewer available for free from the software company known as LizardTech. For guidance regarding how to download and use the MrSID viewer software, see the postings for Monday February 14 and Tuesday February 15.

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