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1774 Jefferys and Braddock Mead Map of New England (Most Inhabited Part)


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Title:    A Map of the most Inhabited part of New England containing the Provinces of Massachusets Bay and New Hampshire, with the Colonies of Connecticut and Rhode Island, divided into Counties and Townships: The whole composed form Actual Surveys and its Situation adjusted by Astronomical Observations.

Description:    A highly significant map, this is the 1774 'Jefferys' Map' of the Most Inhabited Part of New england. Centered on the Massachusetts Bay Colony, this map covers from Long Island to Lake Champlain and from the Hudson River to Cape Cod and Kennebec Bay, Maine. There is an inset of Boston in the upper left corner and another of Boston Harbor near the cartouche in the lower right quadrant. This scarce map was drawn by Braddock Mead (a.k.a. John Green) and published by Thomas Jefferys. It was first published in 1755 and went through at least six subsequent revisions, the present example being the third edition issued in 1774 for Thomas Jefferys' American Atlas. From the publication of the American Atlas onwards, this significant map, the most important in the Atlas, became known as the 'Jeffery's Map'.

It is difficult to overestimate the significance of this map to American history. When it was issued in 1755, it was by far the most sophisticated and accurate map of the New england Colonies ever published. From the date of its publication until the release of Governor De Witt's map of 1802, Mead and Jeffery's map provided the model for all subsequent depictions of the region. It was furthermore the primary cartographic reference for military strategy in the region and was used by both Continental and British forces during the American Revolutionary War. Following the war it was a principle reference for the settling of boundary and border disputes. Many of the state and county borders active today hail from this map.

Cartographically the 'Jefferys Map' is an amalgam of various sources judiciously assembled by Mead / Green. In contrast to his colorful personal and criminal life, Mead was a careful cartographer who practiced his art to the highest standards. He studiously compared and reconciled the most up to date cartographic information (available through Jefferys who held the office of 'Geographer to King George III') with earlier maps and surveys of the region. His sources, which he responsibly references in a table at the right hand side of the map, include Gardner and Kellock's 1737 survey of Connecticut, George Mitchell and Richard Hazzen's 1750 survey of New Hampshire, Governor Shirley's 1754 map of the coastline from Cape elizabeth to the Kennebek River, Richard Hazzen's survey of New York Harbor, Long Island, and the Hudson River, and various other French, and colonial survey's held by the Massachusetts Bay Colony. Notably absent from Mead's list is perhaps the primary source from which the map was derived, William Douglass' 1753 Plan of the British Dominions of New england in North America. Douglass' obscure map has long been recognized as the primary source for the above map, but the reasons for its omission from Mead's source list remain a mystery. Though Mead's map made significant advances over the Douglass map, the clear similarity between the two maps suggests that professional jealously may be the cause.

Mead's map also features a number interesting elements and notations. The Long Island Sound is alternately named the 'Devil's Belt'. Connecticut is, in various places on the map, spelled interchangeably as 'Connecticut' and 'Konektikut'. In the territory to the west of the Connecticut River, what would become Vermont, Mount Killington, today a popular ski resort, is rendered in profile and identified as 'Kellington'. Mattituck Harbor is called 'Meridiks or Mony Tricks Harbor'. The Castkills are here labeled the 'Kats Kill Mountains'. On the Hudson River, the Tappan Zee, here identified as 'Topang Sea', is excessively large. A large decorative title cartouche in the lower right quadrant, just below Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket, depicts the pilgrims greeting a stylized American Indian at Plymouth Rock.

A cornerstone map for any serious collection focusing on New england or the American Revolutionary War.


Date:    1774 (dated)

References:    Rumsey 0346.019. Allen, David Yehling ,Long Island Maps and Their Makers, 34-37. Cumming, William P., British Maps of Colonial America, 45-47. Krieger, Alex and Cobb, David, eds., Mapping Boston, 28. Sellers, John R. and Van Ee, Patricia, Maps and Charts of North America, no. 797. Phillips, Atlases, 1166

Cartographer:    Braddock Mead (c. 1688 - 1757), also known as John Green, was an Irish cartographer and map engraver active in London during the middle part of the 18th century. Mead is one of the most interesting and colorful figures in cartography who's left handed personal life sharply contrasted with the high standard of his maps. Mead was born in Ireland around 1688 and seems to have come from a good family and received a respectable education. His brother Thomas Mead held the position of Lord Mayor of Dublin in 1757. Braddock Mead left Dublin for London around 1717 where seems to have been draw to vice, subsidizing his cartographic work with various "hack jobs" and gambling. In 1728 Mead fell in with a plot to defraud a 12 year old Irish heiress, Bridget Reading, of her fortune by kidnapping and marrying her himself. Mead suffered jail time for the crime but was more fortunate than his partner, a fellow Irishman named Kimberly, who was hanged. As a cartographer Mead cannot have exhibited a more antithetical character. He held himself and others to the highest standards of accuracy and scholarship, and issued a call for greater transparency in the field of mapmaking. Mead worked with Ephraim Chambers on the Universal Dictionary, as well as with Cave and Astley in the publication of various travelogues and explorer's journals. Eventually he came to work for the publishing house of Thomas Jefferys, who saw through Mead's personal failings to appreciate his cartographic brilliance. Mead has been called the genius behind Jefferys and he seems to have had a hand in the production of many of Jefferys' most important maps. William Cumming notes that Mead
had a number of marked characteristics as a cartographer...One was his ability to collect, to analyze the value of, and to use a wide variety of sources; these he acknowledged scrupulously on the maps he designed and even more fully in accompanying remarks. Another outstanding characteristic was his intelligent compilation and careful evaluation of reports on latitudes and longitudes used in the construction of his maps, which he also entered in tables on the face of the maps...Mead's contributions to cartography stand out...At a time when the quality and the ethics of map production were at a low ebb in England, he vigorously urged and practiced the highest standards; in the making of maps and navigational charts he was in advance of his time. For this he deserves due credit.
Click here for a list of maps by Braddock Mead (John Green).

Cartographer:    Thomas Jefferys (1695 - 1771) was one of the most prominent and prolific map publishers and engravers of his day. Our first records of Jefferys appear in the 1735 when he was apprenticed to Emmual Bowen. Later, in the 1740s he engraved several maps for the popular periodical The Gentlemans' Magazine. Around 1740 Jefferys was finally able to go into business for himself and in 1746 received an appointment as "Geographer to Fredrick, Prince of Wales", which shortly after translated to the position of "Royal Cartographer to King George III". While not specifically a cartographer, Jefferys specialized in compiling and re-engraving the works of earlier cartographers into coherent cartographic wholes. While not salaried position, Jefferys appointment as "Royal Cartographer" allowed him preferential access to the most up to date cartographic material available. He his best known for his maps of the America, particularly The American Atlas, which included some of the finest and most important late colonial ear maps of America ever published. Despite his prolific publishing history, royal appointments, and international publishing fame, Jefferys lived most of his life in dire economic straits. It is recorded that he had to be bailed out of bankruptcy by the Sayer firm during the publication of The American Atlas. In the end Jefferys died with very little. Nonetheless, his cartographic legacy survived him, even after his death in 1771, many of his important maps continued to be published and republished by Sayer and Bennet, Lotter, La Rouge, and others. Many attribute some of Jefferys best maps to the colorful and criminally inclined cartographic genius Braddock Mead, who is considered the "secret behind Jefferys". Jefferys was succeeded by his son, also Thomas, who had little success as a cartographer and eventually sold his stock to William Faden. Click here for a list of rare maps from Thomas Jefferys.

Size:   Printed area measures 41 in height x 40 inches in width (104.14 x 101.6 centimeters)

Condition:    Very good. Some verso reinforcement. Else extremely clean.

Code:   MostInhabitedPartofNewEngland-jeffreysmead-1774 (to order by phone call: 646-483-0487)

© Geographicus Rare Antique Maps, Kevin Brown, 26/7/2014



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