HOLC Maps

At least since Ken Jackson’s 1980 article in the Journal of Urban History, historians have been fascinated by the security maps created by the security maps created by the Home Ownership Loan Corporation and the process of state-sponsored segregation in finance, better known as redlining.

It has always surprised me that these maps, which are so plentiful in the National Archives, and so important in the analysis of urban historians, are not more widely available and have been digitized only on a very limited basis. I recently went to NARA II and RG 195 was chockablock with HOLC maps. I have digitized a handful that are of interest to me, and so I might as well make these available to the public at large, as they are in the public domain.

Click here for digital (HOLC MAPS). Generally high resolution.

HOLC map of Chicago's north side.

HOLC security map for south side of Chicago, 1939.

Not only do the HOLC files have a lot of maps, but the files for each city have real estate professionals’ analyses of each neighborhood in the city, regarding demographics such as race, ethnicity, work type, and income level, as well as housing information such as quality of construction and building types. Finally, for many cities HOLC had information on the home lending landscape, including the financial condition of major lenders and their lending profile. It is clear that this HOLC information was put to problematic purposes, but this is a very rich and robust set of information that historians should draw upon more frequently.

See also Robert Nelson’s page on Redlining Richmond at URichmond and the Digital Innovation Lab at UNC.