2005-01-05

Map room

My grandfather Richard Merchant visited Athens today. I learned that for two years in the 1940s he worked for the Sanborn Map Company in New York. Just this week Tim, who has been reading this blog and will hopefully soon write here, wrote to me about the Sanborn fire insurance map collection at UGA. I called Tim to ask where we might find them, and he told me to go to the Map Room at the Science Library.

In the Map Room we met Tom Hardaway, and we told him about our interest in the Sanborn maps. We figured it might be nice to find a map from approximately the time Richard worked for the company. Tom found a map of Dalton, Georgia, from 1941, and he offered to give us a special viewing of the original color map, explaining that he normally directs patrons to the black-and-white microfilm copies. (After all, Richard was the assistant foreman in the coloring department, so he could appreciate the full color version better.) Tom was kind enough to engage Richard in telling a bit about his life story and found other maps that interested him. Richard talked about his mapmaking experience with Sanborn and the Air Force, and Tom told us that fire insurance maps are not even printed on paper anymore in the computer age. Another staff member, John, joined us for a while, and he gave my grandfather a copy of a "Soldier's Map of Atlanta" from the 1940s.



Map Room at Science Library Map Room at the University of Georgia

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