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Fry-Jefferson Map Society
Lecture & Map Exhibition
 With a Revolutionary War Theme.

Library of Virginia, 800 East Broad St., Richmond, VA.


Saturday, October 25, 2014.
Map exhibition starts at 11:00 AM.
 “Behind the Scenes” tours start at 11:00 AM.
Lectures start at 1:00 PM.

“Reading Maps in the Age of the American Revolution”

by Dr. Martin Brückner.


This lecture recovers the art and science of “mappery” in early America. A rare term revived during the Revolutionary decades, it meant the study of mapmaking and map reading. Discussing maps owned by the Library of Virginia, the lecture describes American encounters with maps made for high and low audiences. Taking its cue from the much-overlooked 18th-century understanding that considered maps to be “useful” and “ornamental,” the lecture examines the practical and symbolic role of map literacy in the age of revolution. It also explores the way in which decorative handbooks choreographed the reading experience of maps, including the century’s largest Map of the British Empire (1733) by Henry Popple, the much-pirated Map of the Most Inhabited Parts of Virginia (1754) by Joshua Fry and Peter Jefferson, and the map that informed peace negotiations, John Mitchell’s Map of the British and French Dominions in North America (1755).

“How to Read an Atlas from Both Sides of the American Revolution”

by Dr. S. Max Edelson.


Following Britain’s victories over France and Spain during the Seven Years’ War (1756–1763), surveyors fanned out across North America and the West Indies to map its vast new territories. From 1768 to 1781, London’s mapmakers published a series of atlases that made public these precise new images of American land in lavishly illustrated editions. One of them, The American Military Pocket Atlas (1776) by Robert Sayer and John Bennet, changed the meaning of this knowledge by using it to provide the British military with a tool to make war on the former colonies. At the same time, the Continental Congress’s War Department assembled its own collection of colonial maps to defend and proclaim a new nation. This lecture interprets these two “atlases” from opposing sides of the American Revolution and makes the case that we should understand the meaning of independence in geographic as well as political terms.

Admission is free. Free parking in lower level garage. Café on site.

For more information and reservations, please call 804.692.3561.