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H.M. Gousha collection

Identifier: Maps-Gousha

Scope and Content of the Collection

Over 25,000 United States road maps published 1927-1996, mostly issued for oil company clients. Primarily highway maps of U.S. states and street maps of major cities.

The entire collection originally included as many as 6 duplicate copies of most maps, many of which were weeded during processing. Duplicates now form about half of the collection, scattered thru most Series and mostly dated between 1949-1996, including maps identified as “2nd printings” or “reprints”, maps marked with the names or initials of Gousha employees, and many maps from the 1960s with typed labels addressed to local government officials and companies (mailed out with requests for corrections). Few duplicates include manuscript revisions and none have been identified with substantial editorial marking.

A 2-page company memo about Gousha’s corporate archives, dated 1979 with title Morgue Files, briefly notes printed texts later forming incomplete or missing titles not donated as part of this collection (see Series 13 and 14).

Note that the earliest maps in this collection (1927-1949) are individually described in over 4,600 online catalog records; these are found by a call number search for “Gousha Clients.”


  • Creation: 1927-1996


Conditions Governing Access

The H.M. Gousha collection is open for research in the Special Collections Reading Room; 1 box at a time (Priority III).

History of H.M. Gousha

Harry Mathias Gousha (1892-1970) began his Chicago map publishing career as a Rand McNally and Company sales manager in 1918 but left the firm in 1926 to begin his own business. Best known for producing cheap automobile highway maps, the H.M. Gousha Company was immediately successful, securing contracts to produce millions of oil company road maps used as marketing tools freely distributed at gas stations by clients that included Gulf Oil, Conoco, Standard Oil, and dozens of others. Though most Gousha maps were produced for oil companies, many others were issued for clients not related to the petroleum industry, including automobile clubs, state governments, banks, and realtors.

Along with Rand McNally and the General Drafting Company, Gousha became one of the dominant Big Three U.S. road map publishers. By 1936, almost 20 years after hiring Harry Gousha for Rand McNally, banker Robert Raymond Erving (1893-1968) became H.M. Gousha Company’s majority stockholder, assuming control of the company during the economic Great Depression. In 1946 the firm moved to San Jose, California, was acquired in 1963 by the Times-Mirror Company of Los Angeles, established a production facility in Comfort, Texas in 1966, and prospered until the Arab oil embargo of 1973-1974, when oil company publishing contracts were greatly reduced. To offset the loss of most oil company business between the 1970s and 1990s, Gousha produced retail maps and travel guides solely under their own imprint, most notably the Chek-Chart series of road maps and related automotive publications. The company was bought in 1987 by Simon & Schuster and stopped publication completely after being acquired by Rand McNally in 1996, who donated this collection to the Newberry Library in 2002.


110 Linear Feet (256 boxes)

Language of Materials



Over 25,000 United States road maps published 1927-1996, mostly issued for oil company clients. Primarily highway maps of U.S. states and street maps of major cities.


Materials are arranged in the following series:

Series 1: Road maps, 1927-1996
Boxes 1-203
Series 2: Oversize and wall maps, 1955-1989
Boxes 204-206
Series 3: Road atlases, 1952-1994
Boxes 207-209
Series 4: Conoco Touraide road atlases, 1936-1958
Boxes 210-234
Series 5: Road atlas sheets, 1960-1978
Boxes 235-242
Series 6: Rental car company maps, 1968-1977
Boxes 243-245
Series 7: Airways maps and Aeronautical charts, 1936-1977
Box 246
Series 8: Pan American World Airways tourist road maps, 1961-1972
Box 247
Series 9: Fastmap series of U.S. city and state maps, 1991-1996
Box 248
Series 10: Topical and thematic maps, 1939-1996
Boxes 249-250
Series 11: Gousha map printing proofs and publisher’s dummies, 1937-1992
Box 251
Series 12: Non-Gousha maps, 1941-1995
Boxes 252-253
Series 13: Travel guides and serial text publications, 1960-1987
Boxes 254-255
Series 14: Advertising materials and secondary sources, 1952-1993
Box 256
Series 15: Audio files, 1993-1994
4 audio files

Collection Stack Location

4a 25 7-14


Gift, Rand McNally and Company, 2002.

Separated Materials

15 U.S. Geological Survey state maps (scale 1:500,000, 1965-1985), hand-stamped “computer”, moved to map cataloging backlog.

Processed by

Daniel Fink and Patrick Morris, 2022.

H.M. Gousha collection, 1927-1996
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the The Newberry Library - Modern Manuscripts and Archives Repository

60 West Walton Street
Chicago Illinois 60610 United States