New York State Historic Map.

OGS, Rare Maps, and Colonial New York

OGS, Rare Maps, and Colonial New York
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What does the Office of General Services have to do with a collection of historic maps from New York's colonial past? Surprisingly, a lot! 

 
Did you know?

The New York State Office of General Services houses a historic collection of approximately 800 maps that date from the 1600s to the late 1800s. The maps in the collection tell the story of how New York State-owned lands were developed over the course of those three centuries.  

Stewardship of the map collection is the responsibility of the OGS Office of State Asset and Land Management (SALM). Their authority predates New York’s statehood (1788), as it inherited much of the authority granted to the Board of Commissioners of the Land Office established under Chapter 60 of the Laws of 1784 and Chapter 66 of the Laws of 1785. Those chapters directed the Board of Commissioners to lay out, dispose of, and grant “waste and unappropriated” state lands. As such, today's Office of State Asset and Land Management maintains a few of the oldest, continually functioning services in New York State. 

OGS Land Management Staff from 1967.
The Bureau of Surplus Real Property, 1967.

In 1960, the Board of the Commissioners of the Land Office and the Department of State’s Division of the Land Office were abolished as part of the proposed Reorganization of the Executive Branch of New York State Government. Their functions and duties, including the historic map collection, were transferred to the newly established Office of General Services (OGS), which began operations on October 1, 1960. 

Placing custody and responsibility for State lands in the Office of General Services would integrate the land program into the general real estate management program and would facilitate positive and energetic action to put as much unused lands as possible into productive use, either through sale or rental, or for other State purposes.

-From Proposed Reorganization of the Executive Branch of New York State Government, December, 1959

 

Today, the Office of State Asset and Land Management still use the maps to grant ownership and convey rights to use state real property through grants, leases, licenses, or permits.

Learn more about the historic maps collection by visiting our online exhibit!

 

Historic Land Maps of New York State