Collecting Road Maps

Who We Are:

The Road Map Collectors Association is the only non-profit organization specifically dedicated to the collection and preservation of historic road maps. Our members are primarily interested in folding road maps, road atlases and street guides from the automobile age, particularly those distributed by gas stations, state/provincial governments, automobile clubs and various commercial publishers, as well as of related cartographic documents. For simplicity on this website we refer to them collectively as “road maps”. Membership is open to all persons interested in the collecting of and/or history of road maps. The RMCA has been approved by the IRS as a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization.

What We Do:

  1. Preserve the historical aspects of road maps;
  2. Facilitate the collection, preservation and dissemination of information regarding the history of road maps;
  3. Maintain an association of persons interested in road maps and provide them with resources they need to collect and preserve road maps, including a quarterly newsletter, and an online information archive; and
  4. Educate the public about historic road maps, including how to collect and preserve them. This mission includes our annual MapCon road map show and our revolving curated exhibits on historic road maps at the Antique Automobile Museum of America, a Smithsonian affiliate, located in Hershey, PA.

If you collect road maps or if you are interested in historic road maps, we ask that you consider joining us.

How to Join:

You can join us through the “register or renew” page, pick the level of support you wish to provide, and follow the prompts to make a PayPal donation. The RMCA depends on financial donations from its members and donors to fund its activities. You can become a member of the RMCA for a donation of as little as $20 per year. Cash donations to the RMCA are tax deductible to the full extent of the law in the US. Every dollar you give makes a difference.

Other Ways to Support Us:

You can also support the RMCA by donating unwanted maps (or cash), buying donated maps from us, sponsoring our annual Map Convention (MapCon), or sponsoring an exhibit that we maintain at the Antique Automobile Club of America (AACA) museum. You can also make a one-off donation or tribute in memory of a special person.

Look they gave me a map

1934 Gulf advert – look they gave me a map!


Donations are needed to help fund the RMCA’s AACA Museum exhibits this year
Our annual MapCon event usually makes some money for the RMCA from the sale of “dollar maps” after all the expenses are covered. This year with the event’s cancellation, due to Covid-19 concerns, we will not have that additional income. However, with the re-opening of the AACA Museum, we will still have our regular exhibit, and our special gallery exhibit. The exhibits will run for 6 months beginning September 12. The regular exhibit is “Women on Road Map Covers”, see the banner, below. The Gallery exhibit will be in a hall with nine exhibits around a purple 1912 Cadillac – which closely matches the car in the Gulf Oil ad for which the exhibition takes its name, “Look, they gave me a map!”

The nine exhibits include:

  • Navigation then and now
  • World of maps: a world map made from a mosaic of road map images
  • Cartography: Hershey area portrayed by 16 maps from different years and cartographers
  • PA Turnpike: 80 years of Turnpike maps, photos and other stuff
  • Art Deco Streamline Moderne: Can we say beautiful map images?
  • Maps from Gulf: “True or False? 1st maps, 1st service station”; Gulf Canada antique car covers, and so much more
  • Sinclair maps and dinos
  • Road map oddities: Agloe, “go blue”, errors and maps of any size, shape and style.
  • Collecting maps: It’s all about what we do.

There’s also a big DX Travel Center filled with free maps and copies of our brochure!
Women on Road Maps Banner
Facing a shortfall our board has established a matching fund campaign. Board members have pledged $375 in matching funds for the first $375 to be donated by the members.

Please chip in and donate to help make these exhibits a reality! Remember your donations to the RMCA can be tax deductible. Photos and video will be posted after the exhibit opens. Thanks for your help!

You can make your donation via Paypal to treasurer@roadmaps.org or mail your check to:
Road Map Collectors Association, Inc.
Donations
PO Box 421
Providence Forge, VA 23140

We would like to thank the following for their generous donations to sponsor the
RMCA’s exhibit projects at the Antique Automobile Club of America Museum in
Hershey, PA.

Check the Oil Promotions, LLC
$200
——————————————————
Henry W. Hallowell III
$200
——————————————————
Gary Spaid
$200
In memory of his brother Bill who died of COVID-19 in September.
——————————————————-
David Rowlison
$25
——————————————————-

Also thanks to the following for donations of the maps in our Map Auction #1:
Noel Levy
David Hols
Laura Kosakowsky
Shirley Mosinger
Michael Breiding

Introduction to map collecting


The pages linked here provide (almost) everything that you might want to know about road maps, and how to start collecting them. If that’s not quite enough, then why not join us and gain access to the members-only pages!

The Types of Maps People Collect. Links to an article from Legend #45 (the club’s newsletter) that looks at some of the types of maps collected: oil company issues, official state issues, auto club maps, those published in a single year, maps with scenic covers, maps for special events…

Dating Rand McNally and Gousha Maps. Dating maps from the big cartographers is remarkably easy – once you know the codes! This page explains how they work, and should be checked by all vendors before trying to sell a map (please!)

“Easy and Easy to Miss Road Map Cover Dates” by Tom Sveum. NEW!

North American Major Oil Companies’ Map Master Lists. If you’re just starting to collect oil company maps, or if you have a map that you are looking to sell on eBay and are not sure if it’s rare, this page list the main oil companies, most of whose maps are quite commonly found.

Links From Our Members. Some of our members have their own websites, either as map dealers/traders, or simply to showcase favorite maps from their collection. This page links to the best of them.
Useful Map Sites do not belong to members.

Maps by the Decade Examples of road maps from the 1900s-1960s
Maps by the Decade Part 2 More road maps, from the 1970s-2000s.

For travelers looking for current road maps, the following pages may be helpful:
State Transportation Department Map Links
State Tourism Department Map Links

Libraries with map collections

More about the RMCA

The Legend

Our newsletter – The Legend – is generally published four times a year and is sent to all members. Issues 1 to 80 of the club’s quarterly magazine, The Legend, can be downloaded (as PDF files). As well as providing links to each of these issues, the Legend download page provides a summary of contents of all issues, which is useful if you are trying to find a specific article in one of the printed magazines.

Annual MapCon

We also have an annual meeting known as the MapCon, generally in the early fall. 2021’s meeting will again be on the East Coast at the AACA museum in Hershey, Pennsylvania. Recent meets have been in Indiana, Texas and Tennessee, although our West Coast members occasionally get together in California.

RMCA members enjoy the vast range of maps on sale

RMCA members enjoy the vast range of maps on sale

Members Only Pages

Members only pages can be found HERE.