Date Codes for The Gousha Map Company

Year

Code

Year

Code

Year

Code

1927

A

1951

Y

1975

WW

1928

B

1952

Z

1976

XX

1929

C

1953

AA

1977

YY

1930

D

1954

BB

1978

ZZ

1931

E

1955

CC

1979

AB

1932

F

1956

DD

1980

AC

1933

G

1957

EE

1981

AN

1934

H

1958

FF

1982

MZ

1935

I

1959

GG

1983

OB

1936

J

1960

HH

1984

YL

1937

K

1961

II

1985

CP

1938

L

1962

JJ

1986

KX

1939

M

1963

KK

1987

QD

1940

N

1964

LL

1988

WJ

1941

O

1965

MM

1989

ER

1942

P

1966

NN

1990

IV

1943

Q

1967

OO

1991

SF

1944

R

1968

PP

1992

UH

1945

S

1969

QQ

1993

GT

1946

T

1970

RR

1994

NA

1947

U

1971

SS

1995

ZM

1948

V

1972

TT

1996

BO

1949

W

1973

UU

   

1950

X

1974

VV

   

The H. M. Gousha Company was founded in 1926 in Chicago by former employees of the Rand McNally Company and like Rand - decided to use hidden date codes within the maps they produced.   While some maps were dated in the legend or title - many were not and the dates were concealed in a code which was usually placed in the lower right or lower left corners of the main side of the map.

The code used consisted of one or two letters with a series of digits and at times another letter.  The digits were not relevant to the date of the map - they were used to indicate the map masters and to assist in the filing of the map.  The older maps quite often did not have any numbers at all - just letters.

If two groups of letters appear - there are no hard and fast rules to follow - check the letters against the face of the map and consider other maps of the apparent same vintage and apply which letter is most likely the one representing the year - based on common sense.  On some occasions different letters appeared on the different sides of the same map.  When this happens - the newest date is most likely the most accurate. 


Date Codes for The Rand McNally Company

Year

Code

Year

Code

Year

Code

1919

A

1950

0

1981

81

1920 B 1951 1 1982 82
1921 C 1952 2 1983 83
1922 D 1953 3 1984 84
1923 E 1954 4 1985 85
1924 F 1955 5 1986 86
1925 G 1956 6 1987 87
1926 H 1957 7 1988 88
1927 I 1958 8 1989 89
1928 J 1959 9 1990 90
1929 K 1960 0 1991 91
1930 L 1961 1 1992 92
1931 M 1962 2 1993 93
1932 N 1963 3 1994 94
1933 O 1964 4 1995 95
1934 P 1965 5 1996 96
1935 Q 1966 66 1997 97
1936 R 1967 67 1998 98
1937 S 1968 68 1999 99
1938 T 1969 69 2000 00
1939 U 1970 70 2001 01
1940 V 1971 71 2002 02
1941 W 1972 72 2003 03
1942 X 1973 73 2004 04
1943 Y 1974 74 2005 05
1944 Z 1975 75 2006 06
1945 5 1976 8 2007  07
1946 6 1977 77 2008  08 
1947 7 1978 78 2009  09 
1948 8 1979 79 2010  10 
1949 9 1980 80 2011  11 

With thanks to Jeff Koenker of the Road Map Collectors Association:

Over the years Rand McNally (RM) appears to have used a number of "systems" to date their maps. All variations may not be explained here---but most maps should still be able to be dated. One big exception, in the 20's some RM maps have no letters or numbers at all and these must be dated by comparing to known dated maps.

First, RM used a simple letter code, A for 1919, B for 1920, through Z for 1944. However, some of the years prior to 1944 numbers began to appear after the letter. If the set of numbers has 4 digits, the first 2 digits indicate the year the base map was drafted while the second 2 digits either indicate the year the first RM map was made of the area (the original base) or simply a code for the area covered. The latter seems more likely except that it limits RM to 100 areas. If only 2 digits exist after the letter, they seem to be a code for the area.

These codes can usually be found on the very bottom of a RM map either on the left or right. They are often "hidden" on the map itself on the bottom rather than in a border where they could be easily found ;-)

Now, after 1944 the letter was replaced by a 1 or 2 digit year preceding the above series on digits and often separated by a hyphen. from 1945 to 1965 only the last digit of the year was used. To distinguish 1945 from 1955 from 1965 generally requires common sense -- look at the census date if given, interstate highways, etc. From 1966 to present, the last 2 digits of the year are used.

Example:
Z 4424
The Z indicates a 1944 printing, the 44 shows that the base map was newly drawn this year, the 24 either shows the original base map was drawn in 1924 or simply a code signifying the area covered (it is a Texaco Illinois map)

Example:
0-3868-4
The 0 indicates either a 1950 or 1960 printing (in this case it is clearly 1950 based on the map), the 38 shows that the base map was drawn in 1938, the 68 cannot be 1968 and so must be a code for the area, and the 4 indicates 4 updates to the base from 1938 to 1950. (it is Buffalo-Niagara Falls for Gulf)  Now to all this may be added a letter N, S, E, W, or even V for North, South, etc. when only a portion of the base is used. The V stands for a Velox print (?).

Example:
One more.... 3-584630V-5
The 3 is either 1953 or 1963 (map has a 1963 copyright statement), 58 for a 1958 base map, 46 for either first map in 1946 or a code for the area, 30 for 30 printings since 1958 for various companies and years, V for Velox, and 5 for 5 editions (updates) between 1958 and 1963. (Texaco map)