The cartographer Joan Blaeu wrote in the Introduction to his Atlas Major of 1665, “Those who define history as the heart of civic prudence and geography as the heart and illumination of history seem to state things aright. For no exploit great or small is performed without location, nor can any place on earth be accurately defined without Geography.”
Maps are not only informative and beautiful but relevant, even if their time and place is long ago and much has changed in the intervening centuries. The over 400 images in the collection of Historic Urban Plans illustrate the history of the post-Medieval world as transformed by exploration, discovery, and immigration. From Flemish cartographer Abraham Ortelius’s 1570 map of the New World (Americae Sive Novi Orbis Nova Descriptio) to A New Map of Texas, Oregon and California With The Regions Adjoining published by Samuel Augustus Mitchell in 1846, the range of historic maps, plans, and views offered here epitomize the world as seen and understood by the map-makers, cartographers, and publishers of their day.
Historic Urban Plans has made available museum-quality reproductions of antique maps, city plans, sea charts and birds-eye views for the discerning map enthusiast for over 50 years, since 1964.
Originals of these images – when available – are expensive and often unavailable to the private collector. Initially the maps found in our catalog were reproduced from the private collection of the company’s first owner, Professor John W. Reps of Cornell University.
The current owner, Professor Michael A. Tomlan, continues to offer hundreds of maps and views, working with collections from museums, historical societies and art galleries to publish more cartographically important maps that are educational and decorative.
We invite map aficionados to browse our collection and encourage those new to the allure of old maps to enjoy perusing these pages. Our goal is to make the widest possible variety of historic maps, plans and views available at a price affordable to the new collector and dedicated student of cartography alike.
Enter our online catalog to see the range of our offerings — city plans and panoramas, world and regional maps, sailing charts, landscapes, street scenes — and to place an order. Welcome!