Maps of the Oceans

Collection History

In 1997, on the death of Lawrence H. Slaughter, part of his magnificent private map collection came to NYPL from his estate, as a gift from his family. In 2001, the second half of the collection was given to the Map Division. His collection of maps focuses on the Middle Atlantic region, and formed the basis for the exhibition "In thy map securely saile."

Another private collection came to NYPL in 1990 from the John H. Levine estate, comprised of a wonderful miscellany of antique maps for places around the world, from the Holy Lands to Bermuda, providing additional specimens for this digital presentation.


Established in 1898, from map and atlas collections in the Astor and Lenox libraries, which that year joined to form The New York Public Library, the Map Division now holds some 400,000+ maps, atlases and books about cartography. Support from the National Endowment for the Humanities in 2000-2002 enabled cataloging of the Slaughter gift and the related maps included in this presentation, some of which are described in more detail on the "American Shores: Maps of the Middle Atlantic Region to 1850" site below.

Related Resources

Campbell, Tony. “Map History / History of Cartography.” (c2004) <>

Library of Congress. “American Memory: Map Collections 1500-2004.” (2004) <>

NYPL. “American Shores: Maps of the Middle Atlantic Region to 1850.” (c2002) <>

_____ . “’In thy map securely saile’: Maps, Atlases, Charts, and Globes from the Lawrence H. Slaughter Collection.” (1998) <>

Collection Data

This collection of Maps of the Oceans includes primarily maps encompassing the whole or large parts of the Atlantic, Pacific, or Indian Oceans, showing basics of adjacent coastlines, and may include charts with currents, prevailing winds, navigational or hydrographic features, and maps of explorers’ routes, political claims, ocean floor features, or other topical themes. Maps date from the 17th century through the present day. Sectional maps from navigation chart series, plates from atlases, and guides, indexes, and other texts that accompany maps or are part of atlases may also be found here. Maps depicting the oceans may also be found in other collections, including the Lawrence H. Slaughter Collection, and the Atlases, Gazetteers, Guidebooks, and Other Books collection. Maps of the Arctic Ocean may be found in the Maps of the Arctic Regions collection. The maps in the Maps of the Oceans collection have varying provenance. Some come from the Astor and Lenox collections, which formed the foundation of NYPL's holdings; others were purchased by the Library or received as gifts from diverse sources over the years.
Library locations
Lionel Pincus and Princess Firyal Map Division
Nautical charts
Atlantic Ocean
Pacific Ocean
Indian Ocean
Nautical charts
Type of Resource
Universal Unique Identifier (UUID): 5fe47390-c6bf-012f-c9cf-58d385a7bc34
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