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Maps: Boston

A guide to library research tools for maps, mapping and Geographic Information Systems.

Digital Sanborn Maps

Sanborn Maps of Boston in Rotch Library

In print:

In the Maps and Atlases area of Rotch:

  • Boston 1992/95 revised
  • Cambridge 1996
  • Brookline 1957 revised to 1965
  • Boston 1962, 1974, 1981, 1988
  • Brookline 1957, revised to 1965
  • Cambridge 1962, 1975/1976/1981, 1988, 1991
  • Chelsea 1911 ed. republished 1955, revised to 1966
  • Everett 1910 ed. republshed 1955, revised to 1966
  • Somerville 1960/62, 1975, 1981, 1988
  • Arlington 1973
  • Winthrop 1906 ed. republished 1954, revised to 1966

In the Limited Access Collection (available by appointment Monday-Friday, 12-5; email rotch-ref@mit.edu):

Note: no photocopying allowed due to fragility of these materials.

The atlases from 1883 and 1902 have been scanned are available in Dome, in addition to the print copy.

Boston 1882 G1234.B6.C5 1882 G.M. Hopkins
Boston 1883 G1234.B6.A74 1883 v.1 G.W. Bromley & Co.*
Boston 1902 G1234.B7.B76x 1902 G.W. Bromley & Co.*
Boston 1917 G1234.B6.B868 1917 G.W. Bromley & Co.*
Boston 1922 G1234.B6.B868 1922 G.W. Bromley & Co.*
Boston 1928 G1234.B6.A75 1928 G.W. Bromley & Co.*
Boston 1929 G1234.B6 v. 1-5 Sanborn
Cambridge 1900 G1234.C2.S198 v. 2 Sanborn
Cambridge 1930 G1234.C3.A74 1930

G.W. Bromley & Co.

*Bromley covers downtown Boston and Back Bay/Fenway/South End only.

On microfilm:

G1230.S26 1983 [7 reels - #4-11, see index below]

  • detailed fire insurance maps by the Sanborn Map Company show building footprints, lot size, land use, etc.
  • Microfilm located in file cabinets at rear of Level 1 in Rotch Library
  • NOTE: Neighborhood boundaries may differ from their modern counterparts. Ex: Brighton was a separate municipality from Boston; the 1884 Brighton map is in Reel 11 with other towns.
  • modern Boston Sanborns (1964 and 1990) are in the microfilm of Sanborn maps for other Massachusetts cities and towns.

Reel 4

Town Year Vol. Area Sections
Beverly 1886-1937      
Blackstone 1885-1940      
Boston 1867 v. 1 Downtown  
  1885 v. 1 Downtown - South End 1-25C
  1887 v. 2 Back Bay - South End 29-59
  1888 v. 3 Roxbury - Jamaica Plain - West Roxbury, parts of Brighton & Brookline 62-100
  1888 v. 4 South Boston - Dorchester - Mattapan 106-141
  1888 v. 5 Charlestown - East Boston 146-178

 

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Reel 5

Town Year Vol. Area Sections
Cambridge/Somerville 1888 v. 6 parts of Somerville & Cambridge 182-219
Boston 1895 v. 1 Downtown - Chinatown 1-58
1897 v. 2 Back Bay - South End - North Dorchester 1-83
1897 v. 3 Roxbury - Mission Hill - Jamaica Plain (aka "West Roxbury") 1-112
1899 v. 4 South Boston - North Dorchester 1-104
1900 v. 5 Charlestown - East Boston (incl. Breed's Island) 1-111

 

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Reel 6

Town Year Vol. Area Sections
Boston 1898 v. 6 Allston - Brighton, part of Brookline 1-118
1898 v. 7 Jamaica Plain - Roslindale - West Roxbury - Hyde Park 1-118
1899 v. 8 North Dorchester - Mattapan 1-110
1904 Central Business District
1922 Water mains - Downtown
1922 "Congested district" (Downtown) - shows building material type
1909 v. 1 Downtown 1-58
1929 v. 1N North End - West End - Downtown
Central Business District 1:250
1929 v. 1S Downtown - Chinatown - part of South End 35-68

 

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Reel 7

Town Year Vol. Area Sections
Boston 1914 v. 2 Back Bay - South End 1-89
1937 v. 2N Back Bay - Fenway 201-250
1938 v. 2S South End 251-299
1919 v. 3 Fenway - Mission Hill - Jamaica Plain - Roxbury 1-114
1923 v. 4 South Boston - North Dorchester 401-499H
1927 v. 5 East Boston - Charlestown 501-599G

 

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Reel 8

Town Year Vol. Area Sections
Boston 1925 v. 6 Allston - Brighton 601-699I
1928 v. 7 Jamaica Plain - Roslindale - West Roxbury 1-98
1931 v. 8 mid-Dorchester - Roxbury 801-899B
1908 v. 9 1-116
1931 v. 9 South Dorchester 901-999G
1929 v. 10 Roslindale - West Roxbury 1001-1095

 

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Reel 9

Town Year Vol. Area Sections
Boston 1930 v. 11 Hyde Park - South Dorchester - West Roxbury 1101-1238
1929 revised to 1946 v. 1N Downtown, including water supply mains & congested district maps 1-68
1937 revised to 1951 v. 2N Back Bay - Fenway 201-250
1938 revised to 1950 v. 2S South End 251-299
1919 revised to 1947 v. 3 Fenway - Mission Hill - Jamaica Plain - Roxbury 1-114
1923 revised to 1947 v. 4 South Boston - North Dorchester 401-499H

 

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Reel 10

Town Year Vol. Area Sections
Boston 1927 revised to 1947 v. 5 East Boston - Charlestown 501-599H
1925 revised to 1949 v. 6 Allston - Brighton 601-699I
1928 revised to 1947 v. 7 Jamaica Plain - Roslindale - West Roxbury 1-98
1931 revised to 1946 v. 8 Dorchester - Roxbury 801-899B
1931 revised to 1947 v. 9 Dorchester 901-999H
1929 revised to 1948 v. 10 Roslindale - West Roxbury 1001-1096

 

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Reel 11

Town Year Vol. Area Sections
Boston 1930 revised to 1950 v. 11-12 Hyde Park - South Dorchester - West Roxbury 1101-1239
Boston- misc. sheets 1916 v. 6 Brighton 88
1917-1919 v. 4 South Boston 30, 65, 107
1920 v. 6 Brighton 26
Beverly- misc. sheets 1920 58
Boston- misc. sheets 1922 v. 4 South Boston 9, 11, 19
1922 v. 4 Dorchester 91
Bourne 1913-1941
Braintree 1886-1935
Bridgewater 1885-1936
**Brighton 1884
Brockton 1885-1950

 

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