What if LA had been bombed: Maps from the “US Congressional Serial Set ( 1817 – 1980 )”

In 1947, if the city of Los Angeles had been bombed with nuclear weapons, you would have been relatively safe in the area of Rancho Palos Verdes, but that front row seat to the fireworks would still have been pretty hot. Poor Burbank, which hosted a number of “major war establishments”, would have been bombed to a cinder, thus setting back the history of US television and film production by 20 years. [see image below]

The text "Rancho Palos Verdes" was added by me.

If you were a member of the “Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps” during World War II, you probably would have trained in one of the following places:
1- Fort Des Moines (Iowa)- Bakers and Cooks School, Motor Transport School, and Officer Candidate School- Capacity of 7,873
2- Fort Devens (Massachusetts)- Baker and Cooks School- Capacity of 7,200
3- Fort Oglethorpe (Georgia)- Baker and Cooks School- Capacity 7,400
[see image below]

If you were living on the east side of Lancaster City in 1904, you might have been employed by one of a dozen limestone/crushed rock companies that had quarries or mines on that side of the city.[see image below]

This map is much clearer in the original. Sorry for the poor editing here. But you can still make out the limestone/crushed rock companies indicated by the orange lettering on the east side of Lancaster City

I gleaned all of this information from the maps in the library resource US Congressional Serial Set (1817-1980). Although the US Congressional Serial Set is usually thought of as a trove of dry legislative documents, its collection of maps is fascinating.

The map collection is vast. There are 82 maps associated with the name “Ulysses S. Grant”. There are 130 maps associated with the subject term “snags and snagging” [I have no idea what “snags and snaggings” refers to, but a lot of these maps depict rivers and bayou areas in Louisiana. If you’re a rafter, this might be for you]. There are 18 maps associated with “Lancaster County” and “Lancaster, Pennysylvania”.

As another example of this collection’s breadth, there is a section for “Human-Created Features” with the following sub-topics:
1- Airports
2- Arsenals and armories
3- Canals and waterways
4- Dams
5- Military and naval bases and posts
6- Military reservations
7- Parks and reserves
8- Reservoirs
9- Roads and highways
10- Trails

Considering that this is a collection of maps from government sources, many of the maps are from the military. There are maps associated with the American Revolution, the Israel-Arab War of 1948, the Modoc Indian War of 1872, the Cold War, the Creek War of 1813, etc. The collection of Civil War maps is extensive.

Although there is a search function for the maps, I usually find myself browsing through the categories, names, and subject terms.

Warning: If you are a fan of maps, you can waste a lot of time in the “serial set maps” of the US Congressional Serial Set (1817-1980).

If you have any questions using this database, or any other database in the library’s collection, or if you want to correct my grammar and/or spelling, or it you think that I need to have my mouth washed out with soap, feel free to contact me at nathan.pease@millersville.edu.

Getting to the maps:

When you open US Congressional Serial Set [you can find it in this list: http://www.library.millersville.edu/libguides/all-databases-title#U], click on “Serial Set Maps” near the top of the page. Then, just below the search boxes, click on “Search maps by serial set publication”.

Getting to “Probable effectiveness of atomic bombing of the Los Angeles area”:
Serial Set Maps>Search Maps by Serial Set Publication>Map subjects>Air warfare

Getting to “Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps, Training centers and schools”:
Serial Set Maps>Search Maps by Serial Set Publication>Map subjects>Women in the armed forces

Getting to “Topographic map of Lancaster Quadrangle”:
Serial Set Maps>Search Maps by Serial Set Publication>Map Locations>Pennsylvania>Lancaster, Pennsylvania


Bombs away! At the proper moment the bombardiers release their load. A salvo, such as this, finds all bombs dropping in a straight line, because each of them continues, for a time, at the same forward speed it had acquired while in the plane’s bomb bay. Three miles down below is the target, the objective of this raid. After this salvo, the bombardier may direct the pilot to fly back over the target for another crack at it. c1946. Photograph. Lib. of Cong., Washington D.C. Lib. of Cong. Web. 18 Sep. 2015. <http://www.loc.gov/pictures/item/oem2002011682/PP/>.

Title: Probable effectiveness of atomic bombing of the Los Angeles area.
Date: [February 26, 1947 ]
Serial Set No. 11153, Session Vol. No.18
80th Congress, 1st Session
H.Doc. 148, Page [Not Numbered]
Map No. 3

Title: Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps, Training centers and schools. [United States. Chart 13]
Date: [January 6, 1943 ]
Serial Set No. 10810, Session Vol. No.35
78th Congress, 1st Session
H.Doc. 288External Link Icon, Page [Not Numbered]
Map No. 11

Title: Topographic map of Lancaster Quadrangle, showing location of mines and quarries, products, and list of owners or operators. [U.S. Geological Survey, George Otis Smith, Director. Pennsylvania Department of Internal Affairs, James F. Woodward, Secretary. Topographic and Geologic Survey, George H. Ashley, State Geologist. Topographic and Geologic Atlas of Pennsylvania, Lancaster Quadrangle. Sheet 168, Plate I]
Date: 1904
Serial Set No. 6841, Session Vol. No.56
63rd Congress, 3rd Session
H.Doc. 1717 pt. 1External Link Icon, Page [Not Numbered]
Map No. 6

[Nathan Pease is an adjunct Research Librarian at the McNairy Library and Learning Forum on the campus of Millersville University. In his spare time, Mr. Pease digitizes out-of-print vinyl records and plays “European board games” such as Targi, Pandemic, Dominion, among others. He also volunteers and works part-time at LancasterHistory.Org, also known as the Lancaster County Historical Society.]