Supriya Ghosh (Editor)

Hagstrom Map

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Founder  Andrew Hagstrom
Fate  Division of Kappa Publishing Group
Headquarters  Maspeth, Queens, United States

Hagstrom Map, based in Maspeth, Queens, was the best-selling brand of road maps in the New York City metropolitan area in the 20th and early 21st century. The New York Times in 2002 described Hagstrom's Five Borough Atlas as New York City's "map of record" for the previous 60 years.

With the rise of GPS navigation and other electronic maps in the early 21st century, the printed-map business shrunk to a fraction of its former size, undergoing extensive consolidation. Hagstrom maps are still produced by the Kappa Publishing Group, which acquired Hagstrom from the Langenscheidt publishing group in 2010.


Hagstrom Maps began in 1916 when Andrew Hagstrom, a Swedish immigrant, produced a map to help customers locate his newly opened drafting business in lower Manhattan. The map featured exaggeratedly wide streets that offered abundant room for clear labeling of addresses, transportation, and other terrain features. Hagstrom began selling the map, soon expanding it to cover all of Manhattan, then all of New York City, then its outlying regions, eventually offering over 100 maps. The New York City Subway used a Hagstrom design for its official subway maps during the 1940s.

The widened-street style was a hallmark of Hagstrom's product line; although it added clarity in navigation and labeling, the widened streets borrowed their space from the surrounding blocks, in some cases reducing them to slivers; for instance, the Flatiron Building appeared as "a speck where Broadway and Fifth Avenue converge". Hagstrom also produced the "redlining" maps of New York City in 1938. From 1941 to 2002, All of Hagstrom's New York City maps were based on a single master map that was updated by hand. This produced a number of other visual artifacts; new streets and neighborhoods had to be shoehorned into layouts designed around previously existing features. A number of quirky and archaic labels also remained, such as "The Shed", a large disused building on Pier 42 on the East River, and Mussel Island, a long-gone feature of Newtown Creek. In 2002, Hagstrom switched to all-digital master maps using more conventional layouts and labels.

In its heyday, the company's lineup included atlases, borough maps, maps of the Tri-State Region and detailed and quite colorful maps of midtown Manhattan. The midtown maps, which detailed most of the significant buildings and businesses (Rockefeller Center, Pennsylvania Station, Saks Fifth Avenue, etc.) show the changing face of the city's business district, and have started to draw the attention of map collectors.

In 1968, Hagstrom was acquired by Macmillan Publishers (United States); Macmillan sold Hagstrom to Langenscheidt in 1981. During the 1970s and 1980s, Hagstrom's catalog included maps of a number of cities beyond the New York area, including Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Columbus, Dallas, Houston, Indianapolis, and Philadelphia, though most of these publications were out of print by the 1990s.

Hagstrom had three retail stores; one in lower Manhattan, one in midtown, and one in Washington, D.C.; all had closed by 2010.

Hagstrom was knighted by the King of Sweden for his success in America.


Hagstrom Map Wikipedia

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