[Map Places] The Lionel Pincus and Princess Firyal Map Division, New York Public Library (55 photos)

On my trip to New York City in September, I decided I wanted to see if there were any “mappy” things around town. I did a quick Google search and stumbled across this room at the New York Public Library. It was an added bonus that I had never been to this library before on my many visits to NYC. I checked the hours and found a time to fit it in my schedule. The website seems to indicate that you need to make reservations, but I opted to just go. While it did seem like a lot of people there were coming for a specific assignment, the room is open and inviting.

New York Public Library
Stephen A. Schwarzman Building
Fifth Avenue at 42nd Street
New York, NY 10018-2788

Lionel Pincus and Princess Firyal Map Division
First Floor, Room 117


map room nypl


According to their website, “the Lionel Pincus and Princess Firyal Map Division is one of the world’s premier map collections in terms of size, scope, unique holdings, diversity and intensity of use”. The room was established in 1898, and while it not be apparent by the size of the room, they house over 433,000 sheet maps and 20,000 books and atlases that span several centuries. It is definitely an excellent resource for those wanting to do more research and have particular maps in mind! Map heaven indeed!

Wondering who Lionel Pincus and Princess Firyal are? According to Wikipedia, Lionel Pincus was an American businessman and philanthropist who donated millions to the library, particularly towards the renovation of the map division. More on his life here. Princess Firyal is of Jordan and she’s a socialite and philanthropist. They were said to be companions later on in their lives (whatever that means). Actually, the story does get stranger – read more about it here: The Princess, the Pincus Billionaire, and the Pierre Penthouse. Sounds like some power struggles went on over a very expensive NY penthouse between Princess Firyal and Pincus’ two sons. But anyway, back to the map room!

Getting There

I got off at Grand Central Station Subway stop and walked just about 5-10 minutes to the library. The building is a large, grand white building and it wasn’t hard to figure out that I had reached my destination. I stepped inside and went in search for the room. It didn’t take me a far walk until I came across a sign that pointed to where the room was. I followed it down a hallway and came across the brown and gold double doors leading into the room. It is only one average sized room, but the decor on the walls, and especially the ceiling are spectacular. I couldn’t help but admire the intricate and ornate gold designs covering the ceiling. Throughout the room are various maps on display, as well as a couple globes. All the books in the room are related to geography, and there’s a counter in the room where you can talk to someone about seeing any of the other maps they have if you need it for research. I stuck to the maps and books already out on display which kept me quite busy!

IMG_4056 IMG_4055 IMG_4038 IMG_4040 IMG_4042 IMG_4045 IMG_4049 IMG_4006 IMG_4007 IMG_3976 IMG_3978 IMG_3979 IMG_3981

One of my favorite finds was this Dr. Seuss book, “There’s a Map on my Lap”. Colorful photos and even more colorful poems to accompany it!

My favorite part:
“You will have great adventures
your whole life, and so
I give you these maps.
Oh, the places you’ll go!

You may travel the world,
but no matter how far,
with a map on your lap
you will know where you are.”

IMG_3983 IMG_3985 IMG_3989 IMG_3990 IMG_3992

The library also has the very limited edition “Earth” book, copy number 358 out of 2000 actually. It is a massive book (my hand shown below for comparison). It is filled with maps from everywhere in the world, beautiful photos, and descriptions for all the countries listed. I’d love to have one of these books, but I fear I’d need to buy a larger coffee table to fit it!

IMG_3994 IMG_3995IMG_3998IMG_3999IMG_4001IMG_4002IMG_4004IMG_4009 IMG_4010 IMG_4016

Lots and lots of books related to maps!IMG_4011IMG_4012IMG_4013IMG_4014IMG_4018IMG_4019IMG_4021IMG_4022IMG_4024IMG_4025IMG_4026IMG_4027IMG_4028IMG_4029IMG_4030IMG_4032IMG_4033IMG_4034IMG_4035IMG_4036IMG_4037

The library also has an excellent bookstore. Snapped a few photos inside. Lots of great map items to buy!


What a fun trip! I think I probably could have sat there all day if I had the time. But alas, it was time for me to head out! What a lovely fall day in NY!


Thanks for reading! Have a great weekend!




  1. Hi Victoria…what a great post! I love the NY Public Library and the map room, too. Thanks for adding this to my link party!! I am glad you found me and I am now following your blog.

    1. Hi Sandy!! Thanks for stopping by and for the kind message. 🙂 Very much enjoying your blog! -Victoria

  2. I love maps! My daughter’s wedding had a travel theme and we lined all of the invitation envelopes with maps. I have never seen that Dr. Seuss book – what a find!

    1. Yay, another map lover! A travel theme is amazing and I’ve seen the invitation with maps before and love the idea! I’ve been definitely dreaming of a map-themed wedding as well 😛 Glad you stopped by. Have a great day! -Victoria

  3. d8a7d982d8a7 d8a7daafd987 d985d986d8b8d988d8b1d8aa conection timed out d988d8a7d8b3d987 d985d986d985 d987d985db8cd986 d8b7d988d8b1 d8a8d988d8af d8afdb8cdaafd987 d986d8a7 d8a7d985db8cd8af d8b4d8afd985.d8a7daafd987 d988db8cd986d8afd988d8b2d8aa d8a7db8cdaa9d8b3 d9bedb8c d987d8b3d8aa d88cd8aad988 d982d8b3d985d8aa d8b2d985d8a7d986 d988 d8aad8a7d8b1db8cd8ae d88cd8a7d988d986 d8aadb8cdaa9 d987d8a7db8c d8b2d985d8a7d986 d8a7d8aad988d985d8a7d8aadb8cdaa9 d8b1d988 d8a8d8b1d8afd8a7d8b1 d8a7d8b5d984d8a7 d88c d8a8d8b9d8af d8aad8a7d8b1db8cd8ae d988 d8b2d985d8a7d986 d8b1d988 d8afd982db10008cd982d8a7 d8aad986d8b8db8cd985 daa9d986 d88cd8a8d987 d8b1d988d8b2. d8a8d8b9d8af d8b1db8c d8a7d8b3d8aad8a7d8b1d8aa daa9d986 . d8a7daafd987 d985d8b4daa9d984d8aa d8add984 d986d8b4d8af d88c d8b2d985d8a7d986 d8b1d988 db8cdaa9 d8b3d8a7d8b9d8aa d8b9d982d8a8 d8a8daa9d8b4 . d988d8a7d8b3d987 d985d986 d8a7db8cd986d8b7d988d8b1db8c d8afd8b1d8b3d8aa d8b4d8af . d8a7d985db8cd8af d988d8a7d8b1d985 d8a8d8b1d8a7db8c d8b4d985d8a7 d987d985 d8acd988d8a7d8a8 d8a8d8afd987 .d8a8d8a7 d8aad8b4daa9d8b1 d8a7d8b2 d8a7d8afd985db8cd986 d988 d8b3d8a7db8cd8aa d8aed988d8a8d8aad988d986.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: