MEAD, Braddock (c 1688-1757). Map of the Most Inhabited Part of New England. London: Sayer & Bennett, June 1775 (1776).
AN EXCEPTIONALLY FINE ENGRAVED MAP OF NEW ENGLAND WITH SUPERB ORIGINAL COLOR, the title within an elaborate asymmetrical rococo cartouche with a fine vignette of the Pilgrims and Native Americans at Plymouth Rock lower right, an inset plans of the Town of Boston upper left, and Boston Harbour lower right (old folds, some offsetting). First published in 1755, this edition is from Thomas Jeffery's celebrated "American Atlas: or, a geographical description of the whole continent of America", R. Sayer and Bennett, 1775, which updated the map and re-issued it at a time of intense interest in Revolutionary Boston. Mead's map of New England was the most detailed and informative pre-Revolutionary map of New England, as well as the first large-scale representation of the region. Green's map remained the primary authority for the region until the 19th century, and ranks in importance with Mouzon's North and South Carolina, Fry and Jefferson's Virginia and Maryland, and Scull's Pennsylvania." This issue includes insets of Boston Harbor and the Town of Boston, rather than Fort Frederick on Lake Champlain.
Frequently working under the alias of 'John Green', Braddock Mead was Thomas Jefferys' brilliant but eccentric cartographer and draughtsman. Mead carefully collected, analyzed, and synthesized information from disparate sources, which he acknowledged on his maps. This map of New England demonstrates an intelligent compilation and careful evaluation of reports on latitudes and longitudes. At a time when the quality and ethics of map production were at low ebb in England, Mead vigorously urged and practiced high standards; in the making of maps and nautical charts he was in advance of his time. Like Mouzon's Carolinas, Mead's New England was one of the foremost maps included in Thomas Jefferys' "American Atlas".
Jefferys was geographer to the Prince of Wales, later King George III, and the leading map supplier of his day. His "American Atlas" is the most important 18th-century atlas for America, described by Walter Ristow as a "geographical description of the whole continent of America, as portrayed in the best available maps in the latter half of the eighteenth century... as a major cartographic reference work it was, very likely, consulted by American, English, and French civilian administrators and military officers during the Revolution." Jefferys published some of "the most important eighteenth-century maps of the Americas, a series given cohesion and impetus by the preliminary hostilities and eventual outbreak of the Seven Years' War. Among many individual works of note were Joshua Fry's and Peter Jefferson's 1751 survey of Virginia, engraved and published by Jefferys in 1753, and Joseph Blanchard's and Samuel Langdon's New Hampshire (1761), the first published map of the state. The culmination of this concentration of work was the atlas published in association with Robert Sayer as A General Topography of North America in 1768. Posthumous collections were published by Sayer in 1775 as The American Atlas, The North-American Pilot, including important charts by James Cook, and The West-India Atlas, for which a collection of working drafts survives in the British Library" (DNB). For more information about this map, or a warm welcome to see it and other maps in our library at 72nd Street, NYC, please contact Natalie Zadrozna.