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Map Collection

Historical map collection
of the geography and geology institute

The historical maps (old maps) are only a small but particularly valuable part of the geographic map collection of Greifswald. A part of the collection including around 120.000 map sheets is accessible on the digital repositorium „GeoGREIF“( Around 36000 maps have been entered into the catalogue, and around 15.000 of those can be reviewed completely or partially as facsimiles. The further digitalisation and presentation within GeoGREIF is done successively, partly at the demand of users.

While topographic and thematic map works and atlases form the content of the map collection from the time starting in 1850, the content dating back to the time between 1552 and 1850 is constituted by 63 astatically and partially valuable atlases and 3.000 maps, which are met with particular interest.

With the creation of the “geographic apparatus” in 1881, the systematic purchase of maps had begun. By the purchase of maps through second-hand bookshops, the taking over of maps from the universities of Jena and Rostock as well as presents form inside and outside the country, the historical collection could be widened. Today, it contains documents showing all parts of the earth, even though the focus point is on the European area.

85 printed maps from Pommern which could be purchased from the second-hand bookshop in Leipzig in 1957 also belong to the collection. These are particularly interesting because of their artistically executed decorations and a lot of figurative details. The twelve-paged map of Pommern by Eilhard Lubin from the year 1618 as well as the six-paged map of Pommern by Matthäus Seutter from the year 1764 constitutes geographically significant and decorative masterpieces. The 124 boundary cards of the Swedish geological survey in 1692 to 1698 (as well as several copies from the 18th century) and 109 land property maps of the former possessions of the university, which are quite rich in details because of their high scale and are evaluated time after time during examinations, are particularly valuable.

Among the atlases one can find one of the oldest school atlases (1753) as well as several volumes by Johann Baptist Homann and his successors, who represent very decorative works with their baroque cartouche and decorations. The French atlas (1750-1815) by Cassini composed by 184 pages in 2 volumes renounces any decorations, but impresses by its size of 97 x 65 cm and by the exact representation of the land.

Historical maps about America, Africa, Oceania, Australia and the polar areas are particularly useful to fathom the history of the discovery of those regions.
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