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Rand McNally and Company records

Identifier: Wing-Modern-MS-Rand

Scope and Content of the Collection

The Rand McNally and Company records include a broad range of materials dating from 1856, when William Rand's printing company was run out of a small office at 148 Lake Street, to the late twentieth century, when administrative and production facilities were centrally located in a large facility in Skokie, Illinois.

The collection includes paper documents, photographs, photographic negatives, slides, films, newspaper and magazine clippings, ledgers, framed paper documents, tickets, books, awards, lithographic stones, engravings, badges, ticket punches, banners, scrapbooks, artwork, and a number of printing artifacts.

Paper documents include financial documents, non-photographic images, contracts, government-issued documents, correspondence and memoranda, marketing items such as advertisements, sell sheets, press releases, reviews, catalogs, pamphlets, price lists, and order forms, production materials, artwork, type specimen books, greeting cards, stationery, and booklets.

Photographic materials include color and black and white photographs, negatives, and slides, and scrapbooks.


  • Creation: 1856-1996



Materials are in English.

Conditions Governing Access

The Rand McNally and Company records are open for research in the Special Collections Reading Room; 1 box at a time (Priority III).

Ownership and Literary Rights

The Rand McNally and Company records are the physical property of the Newberry Library. Copyright may belong to the authors or their legal heirs or assigns. For permission to publish or reproduce any materials from this collection, contact the Roger and Julie Baskes Department of Special Collections at

History of Rand McNally and Company

In 1856, William H. Rand established a printing office above Keen and Lee's Bookstore at 148 Lake Street in Chicago, Illinois. In 1858, he hired Andrew McNally and shortly after, they became partners and formed Rand McNally and Company.

Rand McNally has since become a prolific publisher operating in a variety of areas. They established themselves as a household name in the United States and became known around the world for their cartographic products, producing not only the maps, globes, and atlases which have become their trademark, but also a variety of trade books (in particular juvenile books), educational texts and materials, financial publications, periodicals, and a wide range of miscellaneous job printing work, including many railroad tickets and coupons. Among the firm's most popular publications were the Western Railway Guide, the Business Atlas, innumerable pocket and road maps, the Globe Library series of books, the Handy Guide series, textbooks, Goode's Atlas, Kon-Tiki by Thor Heyerdahl, the New International Atlas, the juvenile Elf Books series, and several Marguerite Henry books, including Misty of Chincoteague.

During their period of growth and expansion in the twentieth century, Rand McNally acquired a few smaller printing companies, including the W.B. Conkey Co. in 1949, a Canadian publisher (which became Rolph McNally), and a ticket and coupon printing company in Chicago.

The McNally family was the majority owner of the company for nearly 100 years, from 1899 until 1997, at which time the family decided to divest its majority stake. Since then the company has been owned by two or three different entities, most recently by Patriarch Partners.


85 Linear Feet (128 boxes, 3 volumes, 16 oversize boxes, and 4 shelves of oversize artifacts)


Business records of the Rand McNally Company, established in 1856 in Chicago. The firm became well known for its cartographic publishing, but also produced a variety of trade books, textbooks, periodicals, and printing jobs such as railroad tickets and coupons. Includes records of financial, marketing, and production activities, including correspondence; visual materials, including photographs, artwork, and scrapbooks; printing artifacts and samples, etc.


Papers are organized in the following series:

Series 1: History, 1856-1980
Boxes 1-7
Series 2: Administration, 1860-1960
Boxes 1-14
Series 3: Publishing, 1859-1995
Boxes 1-64
Series 4: Marketing, 1889-1994
Boxes 1-18
Series 5: Photographs, 1860-1985
Boxes 1-16
Series 6: Audio and Visual Recordings, 1956-1978
Items 1-11
Series 7: Rolph McNally, Ltd., 1967-1970
Boxes 1-2
Series 8: W.B. Conkey and Co., 1890s-1949
Boxes 1-7
Series 9: Artifacts and Ephemera 1897-1996
Boxes 1-4, loose items

Conditions Governing Audiovisual Access

Audiovisual recordings in this collection have not been digitized and are unavailable for use at this time.

Collection Stack Location

3a 61 1-7


Gift, Rand McNally and Company and Andrew McNally III, 1989-1990.

Related Materials

See also: Sol Malkoff papers, Wing Modern MS Malkoff, Series 5, Box 2, Folders 60-62 for Rand McNally design work.

Processed by

Jean Jansen, 2000; Monica Petraglia, 2003.

Inventory of the Rand McNally and Company records, 1856-1996
Monica Petraglia
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