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Special Collections: Maps

Maps and Atlases in the Special Collections

Our members have always had a deep interest in exploration, resulting in a huge collection of books, atlases, and travel journals. Prior to the Revolutionary War, we purchased two large 24-inch globes, both terrestrial and celestial, among other scientific instruments for the Library.   In 1774, our trustees approved construction of an "orrery" which is a mechanical model of the Solar System.  It was slated to be 16 feet wide by 8 feet tall and would have cost £350 at the time, a huge amount of money.  Because of the War, the orrery was never constructed for us, and the globes and other instruments were lost in the fire of 1778 that decimated our collection.

By 1790, however, we were rebuilding our book collection, and the section where our maps and atlases are held is one of the largest in the library.  Included among these are the Atlantic Neptune Atlases (used by the the Patriots and the Red Coats during the Revolutionary War), William Bartram's Travels Through North and South Carolina ... (while in Charleston, Bartram stayed on King Street, not far from where the library stands today), and the Mouzon Map (Henry Mouzon's abilities as a cartographer and success as a Patriot officer in the Revolutionary War led to him being singled out by Tarleton for "exemplary punishment.")   

Members and their guests are welcome to relax in our Kellogg Family Map Room, where we have numerous examples of historic maps on display.  There's a coffee station and comfortable seating, making it the perfect quiet space to sit back and read.

To search for maps and atlases in our online catalog, you can limit your search by date, format, or location if you need to narrow down your results. 


Selected Maps

Designed to promote colonial settlement, the Crisp Map of 1711, includes an inset of the walled city of "Charles Town," part of a marketing strategy showing it as the secure center of a vital and expanding seacoast colony.  Edward Crisp was actually the publisher of the map, not the surveyor, and likely never set foot in the Colony.  We do know that an earlier 1704 copy existed because a sketch of it appears in Governor John Drayton's manuscript for his book a "View of South-Carolina."  As noted in Governor Drayton's rendering, the 1704 map was dedicated to the Rt. Honorable John Lord Granville, who passed away in 1707.  To learn more about this map, and other treasures from our vaults, have a look at "Rare, Prized, and Valuable : The Charleston Library Society's Fifty Favorites From the Collections."

The Mouzon Map hangs in our Kellogg Family Map Room and is incredible in its detail.  In addition to showing the location of early families' settlements, it shows many names of Native American settlements as well.  The Mouzon Map was used by the American, British, and French troops during the Revolutionary War.  This historic map was given to the Library by Charleston's Mayor Courtenay in 1906, and the Library of Congress's copy can be viewed through our catalog record, linked above.


The Kinsey-Burden Map is a hand-drawn map (circa 1825) of John's Island showing Wadmalaw and adjacent areas.  It includes population figures and list of landowners, and names of bodies of water and roads.  This manuscript map was given to the Library in 1916 by E.E. Reid, grandchild of mapmaker.

Tips on Searching for Maps

To search for maps and atlases in our online catalog, you can limit your search in several ways:

By date:


By format: 


By location: