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Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps
Sanborn List Copies/ Resources

Welcome to our Sanborn Fire Insurance web page. One of the projects we would like you to be aware of is the collaboration of the Digital Library Center and the Map & Imagery Library to digitize the Map Library's Sanborn collection through 1923. It was a considerable project, though well worth the effort because of the wealth of information that is now available to the public. For access to digital images of the Sanborns please click HERE. Contact the Digital Library for inquiries about thier digital collections.


Sanborn Maps

The Map & Imagery Library holds the largest collection of Sanborn maps of Florida cities, outside of the Library of Congress. Over 130 Florida cities and towns are covered, with the earliest map depicting 1884 Cedar Key.

The Sanborn Fire Insurance Company was conceived as the D. A. Sanborn National Insurance Diagram Bureau by its founder, D. A. Sanborn, in 1867. By acquiring the Perris & Brown firm in 1899, the Sanborn Company could date its origins back to 1852. Sanborn's Company was incorporated in 1876 under the name Sanborn Perris Map Company, Ltd.. The name was shortened to today's usage, the Sanborn Map Company, in 1902.

Sanborn Fire Insurance maps were designed to help fire insurance agents assess the degree of hazard associated with a particular property. To illustrate the detail needed for this use, Sanborn maps were drawn at a scale of 50 feet to an inch, on sheets 21 by 25 inches. Later publications were drawn at scales of 100 or 200 feet to an inch, due to economic constraints. Sanborn maps show size, shape, and construction of the building. Additional details are: firewalls, locations of windows and doors, sprinkler systems, and roofing material. Areas adjacent to the buildings were also covered: width and names of streets, property boundaries, building use, and house block number. Water mains and the dimensions of such, fire alarm boxes, and hydrants are depicted as well. Sanborn maps are also color- coded. For example, brick is pink, frame is yellow, adobe is olive, stone is blue, and iron is gray. Each map set begins with an index sheet showing which areas depicted by what sheet for the rest of the set.

Sanborn Key Sanborn Index

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Copies/ Resources

After producing maps and atlases of more than 12,000 U.S. towns and cities, the Sanborn Fire Insurance Company went out of business. Copyright for Sanborn maps produced after 1923 is now held by Environmental Data Resources Inc., (EDR). Copies of Sanborn maps for U.S. cities may be purchased from EDR, the Library of Congress, or UMI / ProQuest.

The Library of Congress distributed duplicate copies of Sanborn maps in their collection throughout the country. A list of institutions to receive these maps is provided as it was published by the Library of Congress in 1981. Additional information about Sanborn Fire Insurance maps may be found in print, and in online resources. Please note that these lists are provided in support of the information needs of library users and not intended in any way as endorsements. Users should properly evaluate resources according to their academic and research needs.
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