The Hagstrom Map Company
Publication Code

Andrew Hagstrom emigrated from Sweden and established a Graphic Arts business in New York City in 1916. He purchased the copyrights to Dolph and Street Co. base maps of New York City. Because of his unique style and easy to read format, his street and road maps became popular in the New York metropolitan area around the 1930's and 40's. The name Hagstrom became the premier mapmaker and won many contracts with the city of New York. His Elevated and Subway map was printed in all issues of the telephone directories for the five boroughs through the 1940's and 50's.

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Mr. Hagstrom was knighted by the King of Sweden for his outstanding work in the United States. He provided a wide range of printed maps which were revised annually. The many popular maps included his Manhattan Street Map, atlases of the five New York City boroughs and many others.

In 1968 Macmillan Publishing Company purchased the Hagstrom Company and the building at 311 Broadway and controlled operations through the 1970's expanding the selection of base maps to include many cities throughout the U.S. Their offices moved to 33rd and Tenth Ave (450 West 33rd Street). Hagstrom was sold again in 1981 to the American Map Corp., an affiliate of the Langenscheidt Company of Germany. Hagstrom is still operating their offices in Maspeth, Queens.

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For many years a code was used to internally identify the publication date for pocket maps. This was done for marketing and copyright security reasons. The practice has been abandoned since 1978. Anyone who has a Hagstrom map before that date will notice there is no date on the map anywhere to be found.

The code is as follows:

H A G S T R O M C X
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0

Usually appearing in the lower right hand corner of a map are letters:

e.g. HH-ST

To decipher simply refer to the chart above to locate the letters and corresponding numbers below each letter. In this instance HH is 11 and ST is 45. The date is November 1945.

The first letter or letters in the code refer to the Month, the next two letters refer to the Year, therefore HH-ST is 11-45 or the eleventh month - 1945 (November, 1945)

Some further examples:

O
SO
  
7
47
  July 1947  
 
M
GS
 
8
34
  August 1934  
 
HX
SR
  
10
46
  October 1946  
 
C
SC
  
9
49
  September 1949  

... and so on.

I have many old Hagstrom maps from the 30's and 40's showing the routes of the elevated and early subways on the street maps he published. Terrific nostalgia. I'm sure this information will help those proud owners of early Hagstrom Maps finally date the publication correctly.

Gregory J. Christiano
gregoryc@myrecollection.com

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©2002 MyRecollection.com. and Gregory J. Christiano
Sunday, October 13, 2002