08 November 2012

Saved from Dumpster: Amazing map collection

A Mount Washington home slated for demolition yields a trove of maps, including one from 1592.The acquisition gives the [Los Angeles] city library one of the country's top five library map archives.

What a feel good story of relevance to genealogists!  It’s always nice when you hear of valuable documents being “rescued” since you never know what might become invaluable to our research. 

And maps have a special place in my heart since they help me visualize where people lived, especially for periods in time for which there are no “photographs.”

It just reminds us that it just takes one person to recognize the possible value of something for it to be “saved” from the trash heap!  Unfortunately, we all know of valuable items that were consigned to dumpsters and not “saved” and end up consigned as footnotes in our family research for why we “couldn’t” learn some key bit of our ancestor’s history.

That said, it’s nice to read about an amazing addition to the Los Angeles library.

The discovery that real estate agent Matthew Greenberg made when he stepped inside a Mount Washington cottage will put the Los Angeles Public Library on the map.

Stashed everywhere in the 948-square-foot tear-down were maps. Tens of thousands of maps. Fold-out street maps were stuffed in file cabinets, crammed into cardboard boxes, lined up on closet shelves and jammed into old dairy crates. Wall-size roll-up maps once familiar to schoolchildren were stacked in corners. Old globes were lined in rows atop bookshelves also filled with maps and atlases...

Do you know of other “saved” collections of documents, photographs, items that are considered a “treasure” to researchers?

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