news norman obit

Norman B. Leventhal, August 30, 1917 – April 5, 2015

Norman B. Leventhal believed that maps could engage people’s curiosity about the world and enhance our understanding of geography, history, world cultures, and citizenship. In 2005, Norman sought to put that belief into practice, establishing the Map Center through his generosity at the Boston Public Library.

Norman said, “To read a map is to venture off on a wonderful journey of exploration and discovery, and what better way to share that profound experience than through the Boston Public Library? Our goal is to help this great City build on its foundation of education and opportunity that is ‘Free to All’.”

We are inspired each day to realize Norman's vision, and will be forever grateful for his incredible guidance and support.

Janet Spitz, Executive Director

news athenaeum

Boston Athenaeum Revolutionary War Era Maps

December 26, 2014

Maps from the Boston Athenæum have been added to our digital collection. Most are part of the Revolutionary War Era Collection.

Boston Athenæum Collection

Map of part of the continent of North America

Map for the interior travels through America : delineating the march of the army

A plan of Albany River in Hudson's Bay

Carte du havre de Chibucto

news contours9

2014 Newsletter

October 29, 2014

Our new issue of Contours is out. Pick one up at the Map Center or read it online.

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Leventhal Map Center on Museum Open House

October 20, 2014

The Norman B. Leventhal Map Center was featured on Museum Open House, a program highlighting museums in Massachusetts. Assistant Curator Stephanie Cyr discusses the Map Center, the current exhibition Back to School and future activities.

news nypl aas

Revolutionary War Era Maps from NYPL and AAS

September 30, 2014

The Norman B. Leventhal Map Center has over 1,200 digital images of American Revolutionary War era maps, comprised of maps from our own collection as well as from other institutions such as the Library of Congress and Harvard. We recently added 122 maps from the New York Public Library and 137 maps from the American Antiquarian Society.

New York Public Library Collection

Amerique septentrionale divisée en ses principales parties

A plan of the operations of the British & Rebel army in the Campaign, 1777

A new and correct map of North America : in which the places of the principal engagements during the present war are accurately inserted

Ville de Manathe ou Nouvelle-Yorc

American Antiquarian Society Collection

A Correct plan of the environs of Quebec

The Seat of war, in New England

A map of the British empire, in North America

Plan of the town and harbour of St. Augustin, in East Florida

news digi aug14

August digitization

August 19, 2014

August uploads include maps from the general collection as well as some new acquisitions and items for our upcoming exhibition.

An original pen and brush sketch of Chatham, Mass. makes a unique addition to our collection of bird's-eye views. 19th century maps by schoolgirls, on loan from a private collection, will be on display in our Back to School exhibition.

Map of the world

Chatham, Mass.

New Hampshire by recent survey

The Daily Telegraph war map no. 9

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Map Project at the Snowden International School

August 11, 2014

This past April and May, 20 ninth-grade students from the Snowden International School, a Boston Public School in the Back Bay, worked with the Map Center as part of their AVID class (Advancement VIA Independent Determination).

Students initially learned how to navigate and create maps using Google Earth and were then given a task: using different sets of data, look at the services and amenities in your neighborhoods and think about what is already there and what could be better. Their ultimate task was to find the ideal location for a new fictional Tae Kwon do studio, music concert or community mural based on what they observed in their neighborhoods. Students then filled out a mock application to Mayor Walsh about establishing their business, concert or mural and how it would impact their neighborhood. Two examples of this work are included.

Rayza (East Boston)

What are the reasons you selected this location?

  1. It’s a park
  2. A lot of space to lay down and there’s shade in case it’s really sunny
  3. Convenient stores/bathrooms, etc.
  4. There’s a train station in the park so it is easy to go.

How will this concert be good for your neighborhood?

    The concert would be good for my neighborhood because people can get out and enjoy a day in the park while at a concert. And you might hear new bands you have never heard of.

Sevon (South End)

Why did you choose this location?

  1. It’s big so there’s lots of room to warm up
  2. It’s outside so we get fresh air
  3. The area didn’t cost much
  4. It’s in a friendly and safe neighborhood

How will your neighborhood benefit?

    Perhaps we can attract more people to our studio. Not many events take place in this neighborhood. Maybe we can liven it up so this place can become more popular.

news digi jul14

news neu maps

Boston Maps Project at Northeastern University

This semester, students in Northeastern University's history department used digitized maps from the Norman B. Leventhal Map Center in the Boston Maps Project, producing an interactive, layered series of historical maps with annotations that help to explore urban and social change across 250 years of Boston’s history.

Read more about the project:

news digi jun14

June digitizations

June 23, 2014

June uploads include a double-sided wheel chart showing facts about United States presidents and states, a library map of Vermont, maps showing the disposition of land in Canada and covers of puzzle and game boxes.

Our presidents and geographic chart of the United States

Library map of Vermont, 1914

Southern Alberta : map showing disposition of lands

Loto des 5 parties du monde : races humaines, productions, vegetales et animales
Norman B. Leventhal Map Center (