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Map Collection

Identifier: MA 2020.004

Scope and Content

The Map Collection includes maps of the City of Denton, Denton County, Texas counties, and some other locations. Maps are of either places inside the United States or of Bohemia in Europe. Maps were donated by the community, two members of which are Mrs. Charles Harding and Harwell Shepard.

The collection has five series: Series I. Denton County, Series II. City of Denton, Series III. Texas, Series IV. States, and Series V. International.

Series I. Denton County includes maps designed for tourists as well as planning maps for school districts, plats, highways, and precincts. Series II. City of Denton includes maps designed for tourists as well as reproductions of older city maps and planning maps for utilities, precincts, traffic and community resources. Series III. Texas has three subseries: Subseries 1. State, Subseries 2. Counties, and Subseries 3. Cities. Subseries 1. State includes population, topographical, and transportation maps. Subseries 2. Counties includes many topographical maps. Subseries 3. Cities includes topographical maps. Series IV. States is mostly maps of the South, but Oklahoma and New Mexico are well-represented as well. This series includes reproductions of historical maps, an atlas, and maps on population and transport. Series V. International includes two maps of Bohemia.

Those interested in local history, maps, geography, transportation, and/or civic planning will find this collection interesting and useful.


  • 1903 - 2020


Access Restrictions

Materials in this collection are open for research.

Literary Rights Statement

Permission to publish material from this collection in any form, current or future, must be obtained from the Special Collections Department of the Denton Public Library.

Historical Sketch

The specific impetus behind the Denton Public Library collecting maps has largely been lost to time. However, given the Special Collections department's emphasis on preserving local and Texas history it is not difficult to derive the importance of preserving maps as a means of interpreting the past.

Maps record the changes in interpretation of a place over time and are thus valuable historical tools. Viewing a map allows someone to place themselves in the world at a specific point in history and represents more than just a chronological sequence of events, but demonstrates human efforts to make sense of the world spatially.

Maps present a version of the world, offering varying degrees of objectivity and subjectivity depending on theme, authorship and purpose. Consider not only the graphical representation of the Earth's surface, but why the content of the map was chosen. What was included or left out? Who created the map and what was their story? Who was the patron or sponsor and why did they fund the creation of the map? For whom was the map intended? These contextual questions, among others, are what allow maps to lend their insight into the past.

When looking at maps of Denton, Texas in such a way one can learn not only about the space Denton occupies on the map, but the people that occupied Denton as well. One can learn not only how Denton has changed physically, but culturally and economically over time. For those interested in this nuanced view of history as it pertains to Denton and the State of Texas, this collection will prove useful.

A History of America in 100 Maps, Susan Schulten. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2018.
Maps and the 20th Century: Drawing the Line, Edited by Tom Harper. London: The British Library, 2016.
"Deciphering a Map," Cartographic Connections, UTA Libraries.
Mapmakers, John Noble Wilford. New York: Knopf, 2001.


4.2 Linear Feet (One-hundred and thirteen oversize folders in seventeen map drawers (33x2x43) and eighteen rolled maps.)

Language of Materials



This is a collection of maps. These maps include maps of the City of Denton, Denton County, Texas counties, and outside Texas. Most maps are of locations inside the United States. Some maps are commercial, some topographical, some plats, and some used for utilities and precinct planning. Some maps are reproductions of historical maps. Maps have been donated by the local community.

Series Description

The Map Collection is arranged in five series:

Series I. Denton County 1.2 linear ft. (five oversize folders and seven rolled maps), 1936-2009 and Undated.

Arranged alphabetically by title.

Series II. City of Denton 1 linear ft. (eleven oversize folders and five rolled maps), 1940-2020 and Undated.

Arranged alphabetically by title.

Series III. Texas 1.1 linear ft. (eighty-seven oversize folders and three rolled maps), 1911-2009 and Undated.

Arranged in three subseries: 1. State, 2. Counties and 3. Cities

Subseries 1. State 0.4 linear ft. (seven oversize folders and two rolled maps), 1911-2006.

Arranged alphabetically by title.

Subseries 2. Counties 0.3 linear ft. (thirty-one oversize folders and one rolled map), 1969-2009 and Undated.

Arranged alphabetically by title.

Subseries 3. Cities 0.4 linear ft. (forty-nine oversize folders), 1948-1980 and Undated.

Arranged alphabetically by title.

Series IV. States 0.8 linear ft. (eleven oversize folders and four rolled maps), 1903-1996 and Undated.

Arranged alphabetically by title.

Series V. International 0.1 linear ft. (one oversize folder), Undated.

Arranged alphabetically by title.

Provenance Statement

The Map Collection was donated to the Denton Municipal Archives, Special Collections, Denton Public Library by unnamed members of the community over several years with two notable exceptions. In 2018, Mrs. Charles Harding donated several Texas State Highway maps from the 1960s covering multiple counties as well as some Denton County Maps from the 1990s. In 2019, Harwell Shepard donated a 1967 map of the City of Denton.

Additional Sources

The Denton Public Library has other maps on display in the Emily Fowler Central Library. In the Denton Public Library archives, maps can also be found in the City Secretary Records and the Engineering Department Records. Other local maps may also be found in the local Universities and at the Courthouse Museum.


It is the researcher's responsibility to secure permission from copyright holders of materials to which this institution does not own copyright.

Note to the Researcher

Most maps are in good condition with some tears or wear on the fold lines. Larger, rolled maps will need weights to be viewed. Many maps are reproductions of much earlier maps. The atlas, "Geological Atlas of the United States, Tishomingo Folio," included in this collection is brittle and should be handled with extreme care.

Materials Removed List

Duplicate maps have been deaccessioned.


Guide to the Map Collection
Katie Demeritt, Heather Butler, Matthew Davis
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Denton Municipal Archives Repository

Emily Fowler Central Library
502 Oakland St.
Denton TX 76201 USA