Physical maps are disappearing in the 21st century – for some of us, finding our destination is as simple as dictating the address to your phone. And while she has a terrible sense of direction…don’t get mad at me, she wrote this…contributor gianofer fields isn’t in any hurry to give up her folding maps.
Neither is the Wisconsin Historical Society especially when it comes to The Sanborn Maps. The maps were created a hundred years ago or so by the Sanborn Company, hence the name. The maps are very detailed maps of cities and towns and while I suppose you could have used them to find a cobbler, they held greater value for companies selling fire insurance.
On this edition of Radio Chipstone, fields and Lee Grady – senior reference archivist at the Wisconsin Historical Society – take a closer look at a Sanborn Map of early Madison. Yes, the maps were originally used by fire insurance companies to determine rates, but they also tell a broader story of the neighborhood’s history.
About the Host:
gianofer (JON nah fer) fields is an Art Historian and Material Culture contributor and curates the Radio Chipstone series. The project is hosted by the School of Human Ecology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and funded by the Chipstone Foundation; a decorative arts foundation whose mission is preserving and interpreting their collection, as well as stimulating research and education in the decorative arts.
About the Guest:
Lee Grady is the Senior Reference archivist at the Wisconsin Historical Society. He has spoken on a variety of topics related to the Historical Society’s Library and Archives collections, including genealogy, local history, general archival research, maps, military records, state institutions (prisons, asylums, etc.), the Draper Collection, and the McCormick Collection.
This segment partially comes from the Radio Chipstone Archives of WUWM Milwaukee Public Radio. See here.