Included among the earliest documents produced by the United States Government are maps covering the geographic area of the United States as it expanded its boundaries to the west. These early published maps, created by some of America’s leading cartographers, were included in the American State Papers and the United States Congressional Serial Set, the official record of reports of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives from 1789 to present. The Oklahoma State University Library is fortunate to own the most complete paper collection of the Serial Set in Oklahoma, comprising some 8,600 volumes for the period 1803-1925.
Starting with the 1803 Louisiana Purchase, the area comprising what more than a century later would become the state of Oklahoma, was mapped extensively. Between 1803 and 1925 more than 1,000 political, expedition, geographical, meteorological, and topographical maps of the Oklahoma region were produced and included in the American State Papers and the Serial Set. Although the maps are of great historical significance to scholars, genealogists, and the general public, they are extremely scarce and their condition is fragile and continues to deteriorate with the passage of time. Many of the maps have accompanying textual information in the Serial Set adding to the understanding of the purpose and scope of the maps.
Beginning in 2003, a team of librarians and graduate students began the process of identifying, repairing and digitizing these important maps. Generous funding from the McCasland Foundation of Duncan, Oklahoma has made possible the digitization, display, and long-term physical and digital preservation of the maps found on the website. This is an ongoing project with newly digitized maps being added weekly.
If you have inquiries about the project, contact John B. Phillips, Documents Dept., Edmon Low Library.