The Princeton University Library has completed a multiyear project of digitizing a collection of 19th- and 20th-century maps that illustrate the history and development of communities around New Jersey.

The Department of Rare Books and Special Collections has cataloged and scanned some 16,000 lithograph sheets of 21-by-25-inch Sanborn Co. fire insurance maps that have been in the library's Historic Maps Collection since the 1970s.

Fire insurance maps, pioneered in the United States by the Sanborn Co. in the mid-19th century, enable insurance companies to determine the risk and liability of a property based on data such as the size, shape and function of buildings or the materials used to build particular structures. The University's collection of New Jersey Sanborn maps range from 1884 to 1950.

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