Maps and Plans Department
Terrestrial globe, aka Globe de Rouen, engraved copper, 16th century.
The Maps and Plans Department (département des Cartes et plans) is a center of excellence for the study of geographic materials, notably on the following topics :
In addition to these major topics, materials held by the Maps and Plans Department may be helpful for studying astronomy, exploration, the history of discoveries, the history of photography, the history of cartography, and maritime history.
Alongside a general collection consisting of printed materials and manuscripts (historical collections of the BnF and documents obtained under the legal deposit scheme), various other collections are available:
More than 130 000 monographs and 400 journals help readers use and understand cartographic and iconographic documents.
Stillfried, Raimund von (1839-1911). Japanese warrior, 1875.
© Société de géographie
Since 1942, the department has been the custodian of the collections of the Société de géographie, built up since its founding in 1821. They considerably grew in the 20th century, receiving the library of Prince Roland Bonaparte.
Some of this collection’s most notable documents are sketchbooks of the Sahara by Charles de Foucault, notes on earthquakes by Montessus de Ballore, or Felice Beato’s photographs of Japan.
The Maps and plans teams have been working for several years at uploading digitized corpuses on Gallica. The d'Anville collection and the portolan charts are fully available. The SHM and the general collection are currently being processed. Photographs and manuscripts from the Société de géographie can also be viewed online.
History of the department
The department was founded in 1828 by Edme-François Jomard, a former geographical engineer on the Egyptian expedition. He opened up to the public a unique location dedicated to the development of geographical science and the preservation of atlases, globes and scientific instruments, maps and plans, be they handwritten or printed, single-page or bound, on parchment or on paper.
This initial effort to collect, describe and provide to the public has gone on and grown through the decades. Two centuries later, the Maps and plans department is the French premier ressource center for research on cartographic and geographical matters.
Since 1954, the department has been based in the main body of the hôtel Tubeuf , renovated by architect Michel Roux-Spitz to be more functional for readers and staff alike. The original Louis XIII period architecture can still be admired, notably a coffered ceiling with the arms of cardinal Mazarin.
Tuesday, September 2, 2014