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Digital Primary and Secondary Sources: Property Research

This guide contains links to dozens of 100% online primary and secondary resources aimed at students conducting historical research without any access to physical archives or libraries. While most can be freely accessed, some may require a CofC account

Property Research

Image: "Albert Simons Sketchbook," Albert Simons Papers, 1908-1977, College of Charleston Libraries

Digitized Maps and Guides

Subject Specific Databases

Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps


Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps
Sanborn Insurance was an American publisher of historical and current maps of US cities and towns. Originally conceived in the late 18th Century, fire insurance maps provided structural and urban environmental information necessary for insurance underwriters. The maps are now frequently used for historical research and for preservation or restoration efforts. Special Collections and the SC Historical Society hold Sanborn Fire Insurance maps in physical form with overlays of updates of maps and indexes pasted in contemporaneously.

Over 2,000 maps of over eighty cities in South Carolina from 1884-1923 are available online through the University of South Carolina’s digital collections at

The Library of Congress has a complete list of all Sanborn fire Insurance maps published for Charleston and for South Carolina.

Published Resources

Highlight: Albert Simons Papers, 1908-1977