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.