Thomas Jefferys

Birth: 1719


Thomas Jefferys (1719-1771) was an English map engraver and author. He originally operated his business on St. Martin's Lane, Charing Cross, London and who was the leading map supplier of his day. He engraved and printed maps for government and other official bodies and produced a wide range of commercial maps and atlases, especially of North America.

Eventually he became the geographer to the Prince of Wales. As "Geographer to the Prince of Wales", he produced A Plan of all the Houses, destroyed & damaged by the Great Fire, which begun in Exchange Alley Cornhill, on Friday March 25, 1748. He produced The Small English Atlas with Thomas Kitchin, and he engraved plans of towns in the English Midlands. Afterwards he became the personal geographer to the British King George III.

In 1754, Jefferys published a Map of the Most Inhabited Part of Virginia which had been surveyed by Joshua Fry and Peter Jefferson in 1751. The next year he published a map of New England surveyed by John Green, and in 1768 he published A General Topography of North America and the West Indies in association with Robert Sayer. In 1775, after his death, collections of his maps were published by Sayer as The American Atlas and The West-India Atlas. In 1754, Jefferys took a robust and public stance in the controversy with the French on the boundary of Nova Scotia and Acadia, which arose in the time and context of Father Le Loutre's War, which is commonly held to have begun in 1749 and ended with the expulsion of the Acadians in 1755.

Thomas Jefferys died on 20 Nov. 1771 (Gent. Mag. xli. 523). By his wife Elizabeth he left two sons and two daughters (will registered in P.C.C. 444, Trevor). Jefferys posthumously lent his name in 1776 to The American Atlas: Or, A Geographical Description Of The Whole Continent Of America. It contains works by, amongst others, Joshua Fry and Peter Jefferson.

Jefferys published:


Gordon Goodwin, Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900, Volume 29. pg. 269.

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