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Massachusetts Real Estate Atlas Digitization Project by the State Library

Chronicles the digitization of real estate atlases from the State Library's collections


The State Library's collection of Massachusetts real estate atlases is one of the most heavily-used resources in the Library. The volumes, most of which date from the late 19th and early 20th centuries, document the development of neighborhoods over time. For example, the slide show above shows the development of the Fenway area in Boston between 1874, prior to when the filling of the Back Bay was completed, and 1938. They provide information about property boundaries, plot sizes, ownership, building shapes, and materials. The atlases are used by genealogists, environmental consultants, architectural historians, and the general public researching the history of their home.

The Library’s collection includes approximately 200 atlases, covering 6,500 maps in 12 counties and more than 80 municipalities throughout Massachusetts. The Library has digitized 167 of these volumes and has made them available in PDF form through its digital repository, DSpace and with individual page images (jpgs) via its Flickr site. Below is a list of the statewide, county and municipal atlases available online.

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