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Maps & Atlases @ Pitt Archives: Darlington Family Collection

Tips for using the maps and atlases available in Archives & Special Collections


The maps from the Darlington Family Collection are available for use in the Archives & Special Collections, while digital reproductions are also available online through the Darlington Digital Library - Maps.

William M. Darlington, an attorney by profession who was born in Pittsburgh in 1815, was largely responsible for assembling the family collection of 600+ maps donated to the University of Pittsburgh by his daughters, Mary and Edith. Maps of colonies, states and larger regions of the United States comprise a significant part of the collection, which also includes early maps of Europe and the Americas.

The vast majority of the maps are printed, many enhanced by watercolors done by hand. When Mr. Darlington could not acquire a map he wanted from dealers, he would secure the services of someone such as James Burt to examine maps, especially manuscript maps, in places such as the Public Records Office in London, and provide him with hand drawn copies that closely resembled the originals.

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Plan of Fort Pitt

Plan of Fort Pitt and parts adjacent with both rivers. Manuscript Map.
Copied from the orginial in the British Museum (Kings' maps and drawings)
for William M. Darlington by J. A. Burt, 1882. Mr. O'Hare Darlington copy 1903.
Also showing, in dotted line, the earlier French Fort Duquesne.


Digital reproductions of fifteen of the atlases in William M. Darlington’s collection are available online in the Darlington Digital Library - Atlases. Access to the complete collection of atlases is available by contacting Archives & Special Collections.

This atlas collection includes more than one hundred volumes ranging from world travel and exploration to state atlases with county maps. The oldest world atlases, in contemporary bindings, contain maps enhanced with beautiful illustrations of sea monsters or beasts, cannibals,  sailing vessels, mermaids and other fantastical figures. Atlases of Pennsylvania and neighboring states highlight the interest that Mr. Darlington had in colonial American and state history. A list of all these atlases can be found by executing a keyword phrase search for "Darlington Memorial Library Atlas" in PittCat, the library's online catalog.


Atlas of North America