A map to Anne Arundel's past

April 25, 1994

Before cartographer G. M. Hopkins published his 1878 atlas of Anne Arundel County, he is said to have surveyed every inch of the jurisdiction 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 its detail.

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 are 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-fangled technology -- digital electronic scanning -- will be used to improve the resolution of the old maps which were water-colored and very difficult to reproduce.

Aside from maps, the atlas listed a number of county residents, their addresses and occupations, when they settled their land, how many acres they owned and where they were born.

As Murray Combs of the Kuethe Library points out, this is the kind of information that could enable those interested in history or genealogy 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 out 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 patrons.

This is a wonderful local history project, which deserves the support of all Anne Arundel County.

Information about becoming a patron or purchasing the atlas can be obtained from the Kuethe Library in Glen Burnie at 760-9679.

Fading copies of the original Hopkins atlas are now 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, residents of Anne Arundel County can see for themselves how the place where they live has changed over the past 116 years.

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