Fascinating Old Typography of “Sanborn New York City Maps”

Fascinating Old Typography of “Sanborn New York City Maps”


Title pages issued between 1885 and 1917

Old typography always fascinated us. Each of those old designs were unique! With wonderful typefaces that some of them don’t even exist in today’s typography. All designed by hand and no use of computer. They made just a plain store sign and it was a piece of art! If you look those maps below closely, you will see that no existing typefaces were used and you will find all kinds of known letter forms.

In february BibliOdyssey posted an article about Sanborn fire insurance typography. A fantastic collection of rich typography from the late 1800s and early 1900s. I found this collection to annyas.com.

The New York public Library has an online collection of Atlases of New York city, including a section containing Insurance maps of New York. 4,961 images from maps of the five boroughs of New York City: Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens and Staten Island. The images displayed below are all the title pages from the Insurance maps of New York Annyas could find.

This article is the first part of a series of articles about Sanborn Fire Insurance maps. You’ll find the second one here: Sanborn map company logo and lettering.