Road Map to Anne Arundel's Past

April 25, 1994

Before cartographer G. M. Hopkins published his 1878 atlas of Anne Arundel, he is said to have surveyed every inch of the county by foot or horseback and interviewed many of the 23,000 people then residing in the county. No wonder that the atlas is now regarded as a rarity in thoroughness.

It is also an indispensable research tool for anyone wanting to discover their roots in Anne Arundel County, including two parts -- Guilford and the Savage area --which today lie in Howard County. Mr. Hopkins was nothing if not meticulous in his drawings.

The good news is that the Anne Arundel Genealogical Society and the Ann Arrundell County Historical Society are planning to have the Hopkins atlas republished in August.

According to Carl M. Shrader, a retired mapmaker for the National Geographic Society, this represents the second time that the atlas has been reprinted.

This time, however, new technology -- digital electronic scanning -- will be used to improve the resolution of the old maps which were water-colored and not easy to reproduce.

Aside from maps, the atlas listed some county residents, their addresses and occupations, when they settled their land, how many acres they owned and where they were born. This information may enable those interested in genealogy, according to Murray Combs of Glen Burnie's historic Kuethe Library, to make such discoveries as, "Hey, there's my grandfather."

The sponsors of the reprint project are now seeking patrons for the atlas. They have sent more than 500 letters, asking for donations of $100. Each patron will have his or her name recorded in the book, along with the original contributors.

This is a wonderful local history project, which deserves the support of all Anne Arundel residents. Information about becoming a patron or purchasing the atlas can be obtained from the Kuethe Library at 760-9679.

Faded copies of the original Hopkins atlas are selling for hundreds of dollars. The forthcoming $15 reprint will bring this intriguing document within reach of many more people.

By perusing the maps and listings, they can see for themselves how the place where they live has changed over the past 116 years.

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