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Using Maps to Research Armed International Conflicts: About

Learn how to find cartographic materials related to international warfare, at NYPL's Map Division.


When researching armed international conflicts with cartographic materials, you might be using these materials to better understand your family's genealogy, to visualize military history, and/or to better understand how conflicts shape and change our world. As such, some questions you might be asking yourself are: 

The Evening Mail's complete map and guide for registering tomorrow for the New Draft. Sept. 11, 1918, NYPL Digital Collections Image ID 5073552

  • What were the boundaries before, during, and after the conflict?
  • What countries were involved?
  • How were battles fought and what areas were campaigns affecting?
  • How can I track my ancestor through a conflict?

Image Source: The Evening Mail's complete map and guide for registering tomorrow for the New Draft. Sept. 11, 1918, NYPL Digital Collections Image ID 5073552


This guide is designed to help you answer these questions as they pertain to armed international conflicts where the United States sent armed forces overseas for military action, starting in the 20th century.  As such, in this guide, you will learn how to:

  • utilize NYPL's catalogs to locate maps related to international conflicts
  • locate a place, amidst changes in a location's name and boundaries due to conflicts
  • utilize digital resources from NYPL and other reputable institutions

Please click the above tabs to learn more about our catalogs, gazetteers,  map analysis, map sets, United States Armed Forces maps, general cartographic resources for researching armed international conflicts, related cartographic materials for various conflicts, and additional non-cartographic resources that can supplement the maps.  

How Recommended Selections are Organized in this Guide

The recommended items in this research guide are only a selection of the vast amount of materials we have at NYPL. As such, make sure to utilize the page Using Our Catalogs, as well as the "Catalog Tips" on each page, to ensure that you are searching our entire collection. In terms of arrangement, please note that on each page of this research guide, when a selection of material is presented:

  • most sections involving items in NYPL's Research Libraries will be organized chronologically by publication date. Under each item, there will be:
    • a call number [certain items might have more than one call number- if so, additional call numbers will be listed].
    • additional information that might prove useful to understanding the item in the context of international conflicts (i.e. digitized copies, materials at other institutions, etc.). 
  • items from NYPL's circulating collections at the local libraries will be organized alphabetically by title.
  • recommended online resources will be arranged alphabetically by the name of the website. Under each resource, there will be:
    • a brief description and recommended ways to search within this resource.
    • hyperlinks to highlights from this resource.

Need Assistance? Contact Us!

If you have any questions about our collection or inquiries related to your research, please email us at

You can request a virtual consultation with our reference librarians to talk about your research and formulate next steps. Click here to request a virtual consultation appointment.

For certain cartographic items in the Map Division, you will need to register for a NYPL Special Collections account. With this account, you can request cartographic materials to view in advance of your visit. 

To do so, you can visit the Online Research Catalog to search for collections and use the “Request Appointment” or “Request to Use On-Site” buttons to make your requests. If an item does not have either button, please contact 

If you are requesting materials specifically from the printed Dictionary Catalog, please use your Special Collections account to fill out this specific form.  

Lionel Pincus and Princess Firyal Map Division Reference Librarians

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Lionel Pincus and Princess Firyal Map Division Reference Librarians
Stephen A. Schwarzman Building
476 Fifth Avenue (42nd St and Fifth Ave)
First Floor , Room 117
New York, NY 10018
(212) 930-0587

Apply for a Library Card

NYPL Library Card

Apply for a NYPL Library Card by clicking here!

With your card, you can:

  • make advance requests to see maps from the Map Division
  • make appointments or virtual consultation requests
  • use our online databases

Please note that you do not need to live in New York City to receive a card!