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Q: Bromley or Sanborn Map Atlases of Boston Area ( Answered,   0 Comments )
Subject: Bromley or Sanborn Map Atlases of Boston Area
Category: Miscellaneous
Asked by: maphound-ga
List Price: $50.00
Posted: 13 Sep 2002 05:43 PDT
Expires: 13 Oct 2002 05:43 PDT
Question ID: 64604
I collect old atlases of the Boston area. The most beautiful of these
are from Bromley and Company, and from the Sanborn Company. I want
these atlases for an internet project where I will scan the books at
high resolution (300 dpi), and post the maps on the web. This requires
unbinding the books so the maps can go through the large format
sheet-feed scanner. It also means that I'm not looking for perfect
bindings, or to have a collection on my shelves. The maps don't even
have to be in perfect condition. I've found that sometimes the
markings that people put in the books adds information and interest.

I'm looking for Atlases of Boston, Roxbury, South Boston, Cambridge,
or other areas close in to Boston, MA.

I am also interested in similar Atlases for the town of Millburn, NJ.

I will pay a fee of $50 for each Atlas that I decide to purchase if
you find it for me. They are very difficult to find.

Please note that this is not a committment to buy any atlas you find,
but rather a willingness to pay a finders fee of $50 for suitable

Also if you connect me with a commercial source for a book, I will pay
the fee on the first one, but I would likey work directly with that
commercial source in the future.
Subject: Re: Bromley or Sanborn Map Atlases of Boston Area
Answered By: justaskscott-ga on 13 Sep 2002 09:48 PDT
High Ridge Books, Inc. offers Sanborn Map Company's Insurance Maps of
Millburn Township, New Jersey, dated 1912.

"Catalogue 44 – Rare Books" (item # 264)
High Ridge Books, Inc.

It appears that you are interested in paying $50 for each atlas that
the Google Answers Researchers find for you.  Accordingly, I assume
that I should stop my answer at that point.

However, I wanted to mention a few considerations, so that you know
what you're paying for.

As I understand it, Google Answers does not work on a "finder's fee"
system.  Once the Researcher answers the question, you pay $50.  If
the answer is unsatisfactory, you can ask the Researcher for
clarification and, if still not satisfied, request a refund from
Google Answers.

(For the official Google Answers policies, see:

Google Answers: Frequently Asked Questions

Google Answers: Help and Tips:  )

So, on the one hand, I would recommend that you post a separate
question on Google Answers for each atlas that you are interested in. 
You might wish to wait for the answer to each question before posting
a new question, since the answer might reveal a commercial source that
obviates the need to ask further questions, at least for a certain
type of map.

On the other hand, if you want to pay only on a finder's fee basis,
you might prefer to ask for research on a different forum, or
alternatively to ask a question (presumably at a higher price) on
Google Answers in which you request commercial sources for these

Also, with respect to Sanborn maps at least, I have seen references to
other digitizing projects.  (If you'd like, I can provide links to
these references.)  I am not an expert on copyright, but it is
conceivable that one of these other projects may consider the
digitized maps to be under their copyright, or the copyright of
Sanborn Map Company.  I wanted to mention this because I wouldn't want
you to spend all of this time and money, only to discover this
potential problem.

The point is that you shouldn't have to expend money and/or effort and
then be disappointed with the results.  I wouldn't want you to post
lots of $50 questions, only to find that you were paying when you
didn't mean to, or that you weren't getting what you paid for.

- justaskscott-ga

Search strategy to find Sanborn maps:

searched on ( ) for keyword
"Sanborn", then searched on Google for "high ridge books"

Request for Answer Clarification by maphound-ga on 13 Sep 2002 20:01 PDT
Thank you for your feedback. You can see that I am new to this site. I
had searched in the past on these sites but found that there were few
atlases available. In my enthusiasm to try out the new service, I
neglected to do that search before hand. Also, I probably worded my
question in a way that was too easily subject to interpretation. The
site you mentioned does have a good book on Millburn, but it is quite
expensive. I think I might have had the mistaken impression that I
would only need to pay if I bought the book.

But you did find me what I was looking for. If you could provide any
other advice as to how to find these atlases, other than the typical
online booksellers, I would appreciate that. Are there firms that
specialize in these atlases? Is there a national expert?

Thanks for your considerate response.

Clarification of Answer by justaskscott-ga on 13 Sep 2002 21:21 PDT
I don't have time to follow up this evening, and I'm not sure yet
about tomorrow.  But I should be able to work on it some time during
the weekend.

In the meantime, perhaps someone will add a comment on what you're
looking for.

Clarification of Answer by justaskscott-ga on 15 Sep 2002 11:34 PDT
Aside from High Ridge Books, which seems to get Sanborn and Bromley
atlases periodically, I have not found a commercial source for these

Sanborn atlases are fairly easy to find, but are nearly always in
libraries or archives, or in digital form.  I tried many search
variations for Bromley atlases, which are harder to find, without

I think there is a good reason why it is difficult or impossible to
find a commercial source for Bromley and Sanborn atlases.  As you have
already noticed, the Sanborn atlas offered by High Ridge Books is
priced at $950.  It appears that Bromley atlases are also very
expensive; a Bromley land book of Manhattan is being offered on eBay
for $3500.

"Bromley-Land Book of the Borough Manhattan", offered by Julian's

It would thus be very expensive for any commercial entity to assemble
a large collection of Bromley and Sanborn atlases.  Moreover, there
would probably be relatively few buyers for these atlases in print
form, especially the Sanborn atlases, which are available in libraries
and digital form.

I have found two commercial source for photocopies of some maps from
the Sanborn atlases.  (As I mentioned in my original answer, I am not
a copyright expert, so I don't know if there is any problem with
copying these maps.)

"Sanborn Insurance Map Information and Sources" 
Genealogy Fair
(scroll to the middle of the web page)

K.B. Slocum Books & Maps (search for "sanborn")

You might try to submit a classified "Wanted" ad to Mercator's World
magazine.  The advertisements currently on the magazine's web site are
"For Sale" only, but perhaps they accept "Wanted" ads as well.

"Classified Advertising"
Mercator's World Online

As noted in my original answer, I could also provide links to other
digitizing projects for Sanborn maps (for example, a company that
sells Sanborn maps on CD-ROM), as well as a source of Sanborn maps on
microfilm.  I figured that you might not want me to post the web
addresses of your potential competition.  But if you want me to post
these links, let me know.


Search terms used on Google:

"g.w. bromley"
"bromley g.w."
"george w. bromley"
"bromley george w."
"george washington bromley"
"bromley george washington"
"bromley map"
"bromley maps"
"bromley atlas"
"bromley atlases"
sanborn "fire insurance"

Request for Answer Clarification by maphound-ga on 17 Sep 2002 17:29 PDT
Well, I'll consider this question closed. Thanks for doing the

For those interersted.... regarding copyrights: (much more detailed)

From the q46y document:

     How long does copyright last? 
The Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act, signed into law on
October 27, 1998, amends the provisions concerning duration of
copyright protection. Effective immediately, the terms of copyright
are generally extended for an additional 20 years. Specific provisions
are as follows:

*  For works created after January 1, 1978, copyright protection will
endure for the life of the author plus an additional 70 years. In the
case of a joint work, the term lasts for 70 years after the last
surviving author’s death. For anonymous and pseudonymous works and
works made for hire, the term will be 95 years from the year of first
publication or 120 years from the year of creation, whichever expires

*  For works created but not published or registered before January 1,
1978, the term endures for life of the author plus 70 years, but in no
case will expire earlier than December 31, 2002. If the work is
published before December 31, 2002, the term will not expire before
December 31, 2047;

*  For pre-1978 works still in their original or renewal term of
copyright, the total term is extended to 95 years from the date that
copyright was originally secured. For further information see Circular
15a. it looks like maps made prior to 2002 minus 95 years, or 1907,
would carry no continuing copyright.

Clarification of Answer by justaskscott-ga on 17 Sep 2002 18:55 PDT
You're welcome.  I hope that your project goes well.
There are no comments at this time.

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