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John Zug surveys

 Collection 0511-MDHC

Bowie, Maryland emerged from the junction of the Baltimore and Potomac Railroad and the Pennsylvania Railroad in 1872. John Edgar Zug was a banker and surveyor who lived in Bowie, Maryland. His son, John Zug, Jr. worked for the U.S. government as a civil and hydrographic engineer and a surveyor and later became a rare coin dealer. The collection includes notebooks used by both Zugs for sketches, notes and calculations while surveying parcels of land in Bowie, Maryland. The books include the names of the people who owned the land surveyed.


  • 1890-1937
  • Majority of material found within 1890-1923

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open to the public and must be used in the Special Collections reading room. Researchers must register and agree to copyright and privacy laws before using this collection.

Conditions Governing Use

Photocopies or digital surrogates may be provided in accordance with Special Collections and University Archives duplication policy.

Copyright resides with the creators of the documents or their heirs unless otherwise specified. It is the researcher's responsibility to secure permission to publish materials from the appropriate copyright holder.

Archival materials may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal and/or state right to privacy laws or other regulations. While we make a good faith effort to identify and remove such materials, some may be missed during our processing. If a researcher finds sensitive personal information in a collection, please bring it to the attention of the reading room staff.


2 Items

Content Description

The John Zug surveys consist of two notebooks containing sketches, measurements, calculations and notes about surveying various properties and laying out streets in Bowie, Maryland. One of the books, labeled "Field Book 1" on the front contains sketches probably made by John Edgar Zug (dated 1890-1891) and his son John Zug, Jr. (dated 1920-1922). The second book has sketches probably by John Zug, Jr (dated 1922-1937). The second book also includes three pages of genealogical information about the descendants of Robert Sewall (c. 1765-1820) and Polly Brant (c. 1772-1822).

The books contain information on property boundaries and land owners in Bowie in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Biographical / Historical

Bowie, Maryland emerged from the junction of the Baltimore and Potomac Railroad and the Pennsylvania Railroad which was built in 1872. Formerly the area had been very rural and the location of large tobacco plantations. The town was originally called Huntington City and was incorporated in 1874. In 1880, the Maryland legislature changed the town's name to honor Governor Oden Bowie who had helped form the Baltimore and Potomac Railroad and the town was formally incorporated as the Town of Bowie in 1916.

John Edgar Zug was born on July 27, 1842 to John Zug (1818-1843) and Margaret Hood Zug. Zug became a banker in Washington, DC during the 1860s. On January 1, 1867 he married Frances Hollis Ege, daughter of Reverend Oliver Ege and Susannah P. Thompson. They had two children, John Zug, Jr (1869-1949) and Anna Margerie Zug (1876-1967). In the early 1890s Zug worked surveying plots of land in Bowie, Maryland, where he resided on a farm. He died in 1915.

John Zug, Jr. was born on May 1, 1869 and received an engineering degree from Johns Hopkins University in 1892. He married Katherine Davey on September 20, 1899. Zug, Jr. acted as an assistant to his father in laying out Bowie in the 1890s. Later he became a civil and hydrographic engineer for the U.S. government, dredging harbors in Washington State and later working with engineers and road-builders in Alaska. Zug had a daughter, Frances Anna Zug, born September 10, 1907. During World War I, Zug served as a captain with the Corps of Engineers and was discharged in April of 1920. Zug then returned to Bowie, recommenced survey work in Bowie and became a member of the American Numismatic Association He continued dealing in rare coins into the 1940s and died on October 23, 1949.


The collection is organized as one series.

Series 1

Custodial History

The University of Maryland Libraries purchased the John Zug surveys from Bartleby's Books, a rare books dealer, in 2013.

Related Materials

The University of Maryland also holds a collection of materials about John Edgar Zug's parents, John and Margaret Hood Zug, the John and Margaret Hood Zug papers. The materials consist mainly of correspondence between the two and after John's death in 1843 between Margaret and her cousins, Thomas and Sarah Moore. The materials date from 1837-1851.

Some of John Zug, Jr.'s correspondence is included in the Arthur J. Fecht correspondence and coin collection of the American Numismatic Society. Another letter by John Zug, Jr., dated May 5, 1916, is part of the George Hay Kain Papers, Class of 1897 at the Special Collections & College Archives at Musselman Library, Gettysburg College. Zug's sister, Anna Margerie Zug dated George Hay Kain during college and Kain collection contains many of Kain's letters to her.

The Special Collections at the University of Maryland holds many books and manuscript collections related to the history of Maryland.

Some photographs of buildings in the town of Bowie are available in the Subject Photographs – Print File collection.


The following sources were used to write the biographical note for this collection.

Processing Information

The collection was placed in acid-free folders and housed in an acid-free box.

Guide to the John Zug surveys
Processed by Maya Riser-Kositsky.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English

Library Details

Part of the Special Collections and University Archives

University of Maryland Libraries
Hornbake Library
4130 Campus Drive
College Park Maryland 20742