The Bartholomew library

Bartholomew's map production method relied upon a technique called compilation. Compilation involved gathering information from a wide variety of sources and then extracting the information you needed for your map. As a result of this technique, Bartholomew accumulated a vast library of source information.

Although Bartholomew purchased items to add to the collection, their competitors donated a surprising amount of material. This is indicative of the relatively small network in which Bartholomew operated, which was characterised by intensive competition, but also — equally importantly — collaboration.

Letters from the public

As well as flat-sheet maps and atlases, another source of reference material used during the compilation process was correspondence. Bartholomew received daily correspondence from members of the public, groups such as the Cyclist's Touring Club and town planners, among other similar sources. This correspondence came to be part of the reference library and staff in this department became responsible for replying to each letter.

What's available at the National Library

The National Library of Scotland is now home to much of Bartholomew's library. Approximately 3,000 monographs, atlases and serial items form a general reference library and records for these items are available in the National Library of Scotland's main catalogue.

On the main Bartholomew Archive website you will find:


Go to the Library page