Michael Fox Map Collection

Bird's Eye Views

Urban "bird's-eye view" prints were popular items in the 19th century as documents of growing cities and fall somewhere between cartography and landscape painting. These panoramic maps were drawn from an oblique aerial perspective and feature idealized industrial landscapes surrounded by flourishing pastures or forests. They were meticulously drafted from plats and insurance maps by traveling artists, such as Albert Ruger. The authoritative source for 19th century bird's eye views is the reference book John W. Reps, Views and Viewmakers of Urban America (Columbia: University of Missouri Press, 1984), available in the Minnesota History Center Library.