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John Roman papers

Call Number: MS.LMEC.0003

Scope and Contents

The John Roman papers consist of pictorial maps produced from 1984-2012 by John Roman (1950-), an American map illustrator, author, and college art professor. The collection comprises 54 items representing 30 pictorial map commissions of Roman’s illustration studio in Scituate, Massachusetts. It includes original hand-drawn ink illustrations colored with watercolor, either directly on the illustration or incorporated into the black and white map digitally; sketches; published maps; photos of installations; and magazines, booklets, posters, and brochures in which the maps were published. Maps were commissioned for education, advertisements, and to illustrate articles. They depict nature trails, college campuses, tourist destinations, and cities.


  • 1984 - 2012


Language of Materials

Material is in English.

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research. Please contact the Leventhal Map and Education Center to make a research appointment.

Conditions Governing Use

Items in this collection may be subject to copyright restrictions. In most cases, the Boston Public Library does not hold the copyright to the items in our collections. It is the sole responsibility of the user to make their own determination about what types of usage might be permissible under U.S. and international copyright law.

John Roman (1950-)

John Roman (1950-) is an American map illustrator, author, and college art professor. Roman was born in Hartford, Connecticut and grew up in Hartford, Colchester, and Simsbury, CT. He served in the US Army in Augsburg, Germany from 1969–1971. From 1971-1974, he attended New England School of Art & Design at Suffolk University in Boston, Massachusetts, where he studied illustration, cartooning and animation.

After graduating, Roman pursued a freelance career specializing in illustrated maps that combine cartography and cartooning. His maps have appeared in national and international publications including TIME, Yankee Magazine, Sports Illustrated, The Wall Street Journal, and Walden Magazine (Germany). His illustrations won recognition from the Society of Illustrators (New York, New York), the Society of Illustrators of Los Angeles, Communication Arts, and the American Society of Architectural Illustrators.

Roman illustrated three nationally syndicated comic strips: “Son & Co.” (King Features Syndicate), “The Biography Sunday Comics” (United Features), and “Gunther” (The McNaught Syndicate). Many of his original comic strips are archived in the collections of the Cartoon Art Museum, the International Museum of Cartoon Art, the Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art, and the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum at Ohio State University.

Roman wrote about his work and approach to illustrated maps in The Art of Illustrated Maps: A Complete Guide to Creative Mapmaking's History, Process and Inspiration published by HOW Books in 2015. Roman is a feature-story writer for Artists Magazine and authored articles and essays for national art magazines and journals.

Roman is an Assistant Professor of Illustration at the Massachusetts College of Art and Design, where he has taught since 1993. He is married to painter, illustrator, and fellow professor at Massachusetts College of Art and Design, Irena Roman. John and Irena Roman reside in Scituate, Massachusetts.


2.0 Cubic Feet (31 folders)


Maps arranged according to the inventory list that accompanied the donation. In general, map titles are transcribed from the inventory, and are not included on the maps.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of John Roman, 2015.

Processing Information

This electronic finding aid is transcribed from legacy data. In many cases, transcriptions were not verified against collection materials at the time of transcription. As a result, this finding aid could be incomplete and might only reflect a partial understanding of the material.

Statement on harmful description

Archival description reflects the biases of time periods and cultures in which it was created and may include direct quotations or descriptions that use inappropriate or harmful language. Creator provided descriptions may be maintained in order to preserve the context in which the collection was created and/or used. Legacy description and potentially offensive content may be made available online until a collection can be reprocessed because the access that they provide to primary source materials is uniquely valuable to the research community at large. Our efforts to repair outdated descriptions and to describe our collections more equitably are iterative and ongoing.

John Roman papers
Frances Pollitt and Lauren Chen
2020 March, encoded 2022 January
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

About this library

Part of the Boston Public Library Archives & Special Collections Repository

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