Skip to main content
Notice: The Library is open for research by appointment only, please visit our research services page for more information.


Accession: 20171116-JTIdentifier: 20171116-JT-V.


  • From the Collection: Creation: 1870-2005
  • From the Collection: Creation: Majority of material found within 1920s-1960s

Scope and Contents

This series contains 261 items, daing from 1917 to 2003, with the majority from the 1920s to 1960s. Box 137-145

The Road Maps series consists entirely of printed road maps, and has been organized into four subseries:

Numbered Highways- US Route numbers, such as US 40 or US 66.

Named Highways- Highways nicknames such as the Skyline Drive or Pacific Highway.

Service Station- Maps distributed by gas companies such as Esso, Mobil or Shell.

Margolies Research Maps- These AAA maps are marked with the route and dates of research trips that Margolies took.

In 1900 there were only eight thousand cars on American Roads. By 1912 the number had skyrocketed to nearly one million vehicles, the result in part of Henry Ford’s Model T putting automobility within the financial grasp of more people.

Maps specifically printed to show automobile routes began appearing in the early 1900s. Following World War I, when the states and then the federal government created broad scale highway numbering schemes, road maps replaced guidebooks as the motorists’ main source of travel information.

Gulf Oil Company was one of the first companies to produce free road maps for its customers in 1913. Other oil companies soon joined the fray. From 1914 to 1964, nearly five billion road maps were given out to the American public. In the 1960s, 200 million maps were distributed annually.

Margolies refers to the oil-company road map as “one of the great commercial artifacts of twentieth-century America.”

Related items: Hitting the road : the art of the American road map / Douglas A. Yorke and John Margolies ; design by Eric Baker Design Associates. San Francisco, Calif. : Chronicle Books, c1996.

Pump and circumstance : glory days of the gas station / John Margolies. Boston : Little, Brown, c1993.


From the Collection: 45 Linear Feet

Language of Materials

From the Collection: English

Additional Description

Access Restrictions

This collection is open for research.


Related Names


Repository Details

Repository Details

Part of the Published Collections Repository

PO Box 3630
Wilmington Delaware 19807 USA