Subject - Details
In the North Carolina Maps project, the "details" field is used to identify specific elements that appear on a map. The terms assigned to each map are taken from a limited, controlled-vocabulary list described in detail below. By adding this additional level of information to the cataloging record, users will be able to conduct specific and detailed searches, finding maps not just by the geographic area that they show, but also by selected details shown on the face of the map itself.
This term is used to describe two different, but related elements depicted on maps. North Carolina Maps will include several maps produced specifically to illustrate battles. These often depict troop movements and locations, and topography relevant to the battle. While these will certainly receive this term in the subject_details field (and most likely the term "Military" in map_type), the term should also be used when larger maps simply show the site of a battle. Many state maps denote battle sites from the Revolutionary and Civil Wars, sometimes giving the name and dates of the battle, other times just showing a symbol such as a small pair of crossed swords.
The Businesses term covers all private businesses shown on the map, including (but certainly not limited to) mills, stores, and fisheries. This term should be used in conjunction with more specific terms available in this field, including Mills, Stores, and Mines. While this term should be used for all of the different types of businesses shown on the map, the cataloger should be more specific in the free-text description in the abstract field, noting the types of businesses that are included.
Canals were an important form of transportation in early North Carolina, especially before the expansion of railroads. The canal most likely to appear on maps is the Dismal Swamp Canal, located in Camden and Gates Counties along the Virginia border. There were also canals in Craven and Carteret Counties, connecting the Neuse River with Beaufort; in Hyde County, connecting Lake Mattamuskeet with the Pamlico Sound; and on the border between Washington and Tyrrell Counties. Canals are most often depicted by a heavy, dark, straight line.
This term is used broadly for any map that includes more than one color. The colors do not have to signify anything, in fact, the majority of the colors used on the historic maps in this collection are purely decorative.
This term is used only when the boundaries of counties are shown -- primarily in maps that show the entire state. Many 18th-century maps list the names of the counties in the general areas in which they were located, but do not include specific borders (for some very early maps, the borders may not have been formally established at the time). The county boundary subject should not be used with these maps. The County Boundaries term should also not be used for maps that show only a single county or a part of a county.
Creeks and Streams
There are, of course, creeks and streams throughout North Carolina, however, this term is used in order to give researchers a sense of the amount of detail that is shown on a map. Use this term whenever creeks and streams are clearly drawn, and especially when they are named.
This term should be used whenever purely decorative elements on a map appear, such as elaborate borders, animals or sea-monsters, ships in the ocean, or illustrations in the cartouche. When a map contains only graphic elements are used to signify elements on the map (such as little drawings of churches or schools), it should not receive this term.
This term is used whenever a map depicts distances (in numeric terms) from one place to the other. This often comes in one of two forms. Many maps print numbers directly on the map, often over a road between two cities or towns. These numbers are not always described in the map legend, but in most instances refer to the distance from one place to the other. Maps from the early twentieth century through the present often include distance tables, showing the distance between locations on the map and elsewhere. Maps that include only distance tables should also receive this term in the Subject - Details field.
Elevation will usually be noted on the map in the form of either spot heights or contour lines (either of which, if present, should be noted in the abstract). Spot heights are numbers, usually given in feet, next to a prominent mountain. Contour lines denote changes in elevation and usually include numbers (though they aren't always easy to find) denoting the height at different places. If either of these appear on the map, this term should be added to the subject_details field. If the map simply shows a drawing of a mountain or mountain range, elevation would not be used in the Details field.
Forts are often shown on early North Carolina maps. These are not always mentioned in the legend, and there doesn't seem to be a standard symbol. In most cases the name of the fort is fully written.
Houses are depicted on many maps, though they are rarely listed in the map legend. In the majority of cases, the houses appear simply as small black squares. These are easy to miss, but very important. This term should be used whenever a map depicts the specific location of houses or farmsteads, even if it does not list the name of the owner or give the boundaries of the land (there are separate fields for that).
This term, like Creeks and Streams, is used to give an idea of the level of detail shown on the map. It should be not be used too generously. If, for example, a statewide map shows only one or two large lakes (Lake Mattamuskeet, for example, would be difficult to omit), it's not worth mentioning. However, if the map shows smaller lakes and ponds, then it is a good idea to use this term in the subject_details field. This will help researchers who are looking specifically for inland bodies of water, as well as those who are trying to find maps give a detailed depiction of the terrain.
Land Cover is used to describe the depiction of different types of vegetation shown on a map. Some land cover maps are extremely detailed, using different symbols to illustrate the spread of many specific types of vegetation. For historic North Carolina maps, land cover is seen most often on Coast and Geodetic Survey maps. These designate, using symbols, forested areas, farmland, and marsh lands. Some historic maps will simply print the type of land cover on a specific section of the state.
Land Use is used primarily to describe maps that show agriculture and different types of development.
Landowners show up on more maps than you might think. It's not always easy, at first, to distinguish between names of prominent landowners and names of cities and towns, and might require a little research. Prominent landowners are listed on many early regional maps, and both prominent and not-so-prominent ones are named on many later county maps, especially the detailed, privately-printed maps published in the early 20th century. This field should be used whenever landowners are listed by name.
If a legend is used on the map, that fact should be recorded by entering this term this field
This term is broader than it might appear at first, having been applied to a number of different structures and businesses over North Carolina's history. Early mills, powered by water, were simple operations used to grind corn and grains. By the late 19th-century the term was used primarily for textile factories, though it was also applied to other types of businesses. For this project, we use this term very loosely. The rule is, simply, if the word mill is used on the map, then this term should be used in this field. In many cases it's impossible to tell what kind of operation it is, the map might show a name ("Ricks Mill") or else just a the word mill or a symbol. If there is more information about the kind of mill, that should be included in the abstract.
Mines and Mineral Deposits
There are (or were) quite a few mines in North Carolina. Gold, iron, and copper have all been mined in the state at one time or another. Mines and mineral deposits are often noted on maps, even statewide maps showing a broad area. Use this term even when the map appears to show only a mineral deposit and it is not clear whether or not there is actually a mine in place.
Most early maps include pictorial representations of mountains but they are imprecise and generally indicate mountain ranges rather than specific peaks. Later maps vary in their depiction of mountains. If only mountain ranges are present without careful placement of particular mountains/peaks, those maps do not receive the "mountains" term. Where particular mountains or peaks are named and height is indicated by hachures or contour lines, those maps receive the "mountains" term. The more sophisticated geological maps will receive "mountains" as well when contour is shown, elevation is given and/or peaks are named.
Where elevation is given, these maps will also receive the term "elevation."
Native American settlements
Most early maps note the location of Native American tribes in the state, especially the Cherokee in (increasingly) western North Carolina. Whenever a tribe name is present in the state, this term should be used. The names of specific tribes, if they are given on the map, should be noted in the abstract.
This term is used primarily when state or national parks are shown on a map.
Some maps, especially the group of privately-printed county maps that were published in the early twentieth-century, have photographs (often of prominent citizens or homes) in the margins. If that's the case, note that fact here. If there are engravings in the margins or elsewhere in the map, then use only the Decorative Illustrations term.
Places of Worship
This term is used to denote the presence on the map of churches and other places of worship. These are signified in a number of different ways on early maps. Churches are often shown with a small drawing of a church building, or else a cross (often, but not always, described in the map legend). Quaker Meeting Houses are commonly shown on many early maps, especially around the western Piedmont region. On some the whole phrase "Quaker Meeting House" is printed, others simply have a "Q.M."
While all governmental divisions (such as states and counties) can probably be called political, we're not being quite so broad here. Use this term when non-standard (at least as far as maps are concerned) political divisions are depicted, such as congressional districts or school districts.
There are a few very different instances in which this term would be used. When population is listed in a table in the margins, use this term in subject_details. It should also be used if the population of a city or town is noted on the map itself. And finally, it should be used when relative population is noted (often by symbols of varying sizes used to denote cities and towns).
Post offices are sometimes shown on county and local maps, and occasionally appear on larger regional and state maps. The location is usually depicted with the abbreviation "P.O."
Many maps, both manuscript and printed, show property lines. This project will include a handful of manuscript maps produced specifically for the purpose of recording the location of private and/or public property. Others simply include property lines in an effort to show a great amount of detail. Coast survey maps, especially when they show a good portion of land, often include property lines.
If a railroad is shown on the map, even if it is not named, this term should be used. Railroads are almost universally depicted by single lines with shorter lines across them. If the railroad is named, the name should be noted in the abstract.
While this term is used to signify the presence of modern highways and roads, it is also used when maps show older plank roads or trading paths. These are often present even on very early maps.
Most city and county maps show schools. And in most of these cases, the schools are clearly labeled.
Soundings (measurements of depth in water) are shown on many early maps, maps of the coastal areas, and nearly all coast and geodetic survey maps. These often appear as numbers scattered around the areas just off of the North Carolina coast. See the Relief page for examples.
Stores (probably all-purpose or "general" stores) are often depicted on North Carolina town and county maps, and occasionally on regional and state maps. Stores are usually pretty clearly labeled, denoted simply by the name (for example, "Garret Store," or "Biddle's Store"). There does not appear to be a common symbol used for stores. Whenever stores is used in this field, the broader term Businesses should also be included.
As with Mountains and Lakes, the cataloger should use a little discretion in assigning this term. Nearly every map of North Carolina will note, at least, the Great Dismal Swamp in the northeast corner of the state. Unless the Great Dismal is prominently featured or particularly carefully mapped, this term may not be necessary. However, many regional and county maps do depict smaller swamps, which are quite prevalent throughout the eastern section of the state. Sometimes swamps are simply noted on the map with a name, no different from a city or town. However, mapmakers often depicted by swamp areas with a series of horizontal lines, to give the section a darker appearance, and small drawings of what look like bushes. While these areas are clearly defined, they are not always named as swamps.
Beginning in 1868, North Carolina counties were divided into smaller administrative districts called townships. Maps showing the township boundaries were prepared and submitted to the state government in Raleigh. Subsequent maps often showed townships, and many of these are easy to spot, as the townships are coded by color. Use this term whenever a county map shows the names and boundaries of the townships.