Jeffries, John, 1745-1819

Alternative names
Dates:
Birth 1745-02-05
Death 1819-09-16

Biographical notes:

Jeffries was a Boston physician, surgeon, scientist, and the first man (with Jean-Pierre Blanchard) to fly a balloon across the English Channel between England and France.

From the description of John Jeffries papers, 1768-1819. (Harvard University). WorldCat record id: 612364982

From the guide to the John Jeffries papers, 1768-1819., (Houghton Library, Harvard College Library, Harvard University)

Physician and meteorologist of Boston.

From the description of Card, undated : [Boston]. (Duke University). WorldCat record id: 35093245

On November 30,1784, Dr. John Jeffries (1745-1819) of Boston ascended in a balloon in London with Jean Pierre Blanchard. He recorded the first airborne scientific observations of the atmosphere. To amuse himself, he wrote four notes to friends and dropped them over the side. Three of them were found and delivered to their addresses. One of the notes, addressed to Mr. Arodie Thayer, is preserved in this collection at Amherst College. Considered the oldest piece of airmail in existence, it was given to the College by Thatcher Thayer, nephew of Arodie Thayer and member of the Class of 1831. The note is a badly stained, yellowed 3 x 5 card with a scribbled pencil message. For years it was assumed that the message on the card was the original written by Dr. Jeffries; however, restoration experts at the National Archives once examined the card and said they thought the message had been written in an ink made from berries, which fades quickly, and had been traced in pencil at a later date.

From the description of John Jeffries air-mail letter collection, 1784-1961. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 51954089

On November 30,1784, American physician John Jeffries (1745-1819) and French inventor Jean Pierre Blanchard (1753-1809) flew in a balloon from London to Stone Marsh, Kent. Dr Jeffries was the first American to fly, as well as the first meteorologist; and this flight was the occasion for the first airborne scientific observations of the atmosphere. To amuse himself, Dr Jeffries wrote four notes to friends and dropped them over the side. Three of them were found and delivered to their addresses. The only one of these that still survives was addressed to Mr. Arodie Thayer. This note, considered the oldest piece of airmail in existence, was gifted to Amherst College by his nephew Thatcher Thayer (AC 1831).

The note is a badly stained, yellowed 3 x 5 card. The original is thought to have been written in a quick-fading ink made from pokeberries, and to have been traced over subsequently (and not always correctly) with pencil. Despite the tracer's efforts, a good portion of the note is too indistinct to be decipherable.

From the guide to the Jeffries Air-Mail Letter Collection, 1784-1961, (Amherst College Archives and Special Collections)

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Permalink:
http://n2t.net/ark:/99166/w6b864sx
Ark ID:
w6b864sx
SNAC ID:
32199360

Subjects:

  • Balloon ascensions--Great Britain
  • Medical students
  • American loyalists
  • Anatomical specimens
  • Smallpox--prevention & control
  • Smallpox--Prevention
  • Meteorology--Observations
  • Smallpox
  • Balloon post--Great Britain
  • Anatomy--Exhibitions
  • Balloons
  • Balloon ascensions
  • Specimen Handling
  • Medical records
  • Military hospitals
  • Smallpox--Vaccination
  • Balloon post
  • Vaccination
  • Anatomy

Occupations:

  • Balloonists
  • Surgeons

Places:

  • Great Britain (as recorded)
  • England (as recorded)
  • Nova Scotia (as recorded)
  • New York (State) (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)
  • France (as recorded)