The American Geographical Society Library is one of North America’s foremost geography and map collections. Formerly the library and map collection of the American Geographical Society (AGS) of New York, it was transferred to the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Libraries in 1978 following a nationwide selection process by the Society.
The AGS was formed in the early 1850s to promote the collection and diffusion of geographical and statistical information and to establish and maintain a library with a collection of maps, charts and instruments. By 1870, this library was already recognized as the “largest and most valuable” of its type in the United States. Later, at the conclusion of World War I, the United States Government centered the preliminary work of its delegation to the Paris Peace Conference, President Wilson’s famous “Inquiry,” at the Society’s headquarters in order to draw on its unique resources.
Through the years, the collections expanded in response to the Society’s research activities and through donations from its members. Today, this tradition of world-class geographic information support continues in UWM’s Libraries, while the AGS in New York actively sponsors programs, publications and events in the field of geographic research, education, and national policy.