French edition of the Fry & Jefferson map of Virginia; first state


Joshua Fry and Peter Jefferson.  “Carte De La Virginie et Du Maryland.”  Paris: Gilles Robert De Vaugondy, 1755.  19 x 25 1/4.   Engraving by E[lizabeth]. Haussard.  Very good condition.  Pedley: 470, state 1.

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The first state of Robert De Vaugondy’s French edition of the Fry-Jefferson map of Virginia and Maryland.  This is one of the most famous of American maps, and the finest eighteenth century map of these states.  Commissioned by the colonial government of Virginia, this is the first accurate map of the colony beyond the Chesapeake Bay region and into the Appalachian mountains.  Joshua Fry, Thomas Jefferson’s tutor, and Peter Jefferson, Thomas’ father, based the map on their own surveys of the interior together with other first-hand information, producing a superior map that extends from the Chesapeake in the east to beyond the mountains in the west.  This map was thus a watershed in the history of the mapping of Virginia and remained the prototype for the region for the second half of the century.  The first edition of this map was published in London in 1751 in a very large size.  Its impact was greatly increased by this reduced French edition, which came out a mere four years after the first English edition.  In fact, it is said that Thomas Jefferson hung the smaller version at Monticello as the English copy of his father’s map was too large.  The map shows excellent topographical information from Delaware through western Virginia, presenting the development, transportation and economic potential of the mid-Atlantic English colonies in a wonderfully graphic manner.