The Osher Collection comprises many thousands of sheet maps, atlases, globes, surveying instruments, and books, dating from the fifteenth through the twentieth century. The primary emphasis is on Maine, New England, and North America, but the collection has a substantial number of European maps. Since OML first opened in 1994, the Oshers have continued to acquire a wide variety of examples of different kinds of maps from different periods and national origins.
The collection is accessible through Osgood and is being steadily digitized. Use Osgood to browse the collection. Large portions of the collection have also been cataloged, at the item level, in URSUS and WorldCat.
Dr. Harold L. and Mrs. Peggy L. Osher are long-time residents of Maine. Dr. Osher was formerly director of cardiology at Maine Medical Center. They began collecting maps in earnest on a visit to London in 1975. Since then, they have been avid and committed collectors of early cartographic materials. The Oshers have been generous supporters of the medical and cultural communities of Maine throughout their lives. Their long-standing interest in history and early exploration and their deep appreciation of art and culture have made them very discriminating collectors. Constant attention to quality is reflected in the stunning examples of cartography that grace their collection.
The Oshers were prompted by the donation of the Smith Collection to the University of Southern Maine to donate their collection as well. Moreover, they donated additional resources and advocated for the creation of the special map library that now bears their name. They have since continued to donate maps and resources to the map library. Their outstanding efforts to promote the study of map history were recognized in 2012 when they were awarded the Helen Wallis Award by the International Map Collectors Society.