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COLLECTION Identifier: MS Am 1220, 1220.9-.13

John Jeffries papers


Papers of Boston physician and balloonist John Jeffries concerning his medical practice and balloon ascensions.


  • Creation: 1768-1963


Language of Materials

Collection materials are in English with a few in French.

Conditions Governing Access

There are no restrictions on physical access to this material.


3.5 linear feet (11 boxes, 1 volume)

Includes 20 volumes of diaries and journals, 1779-1819, beginning with Jeffries work as surgeon in British military hospitals in Nova Scotia and New York, service with British troops in a campaign during the American Revolution, and his subsequent practice in England. Diaries also contain Jeffries observations of balloon ascensions made in England in 1784 and 1785 with Jean-Pierre Blanchard. Other material relating to the balloon ascensions include bills and receipts; equipment lists; writings; agreement; correspondence, 1784-1786, of contemporaries; and a pen and sepia wash drawing. Medical papers include Jeffries' medical and surgical notebooks and essays, 1768-1775; orderly books, 1776-1778, from his service as a surgeon; and diplomas and medical commissions.

Also includes papers about Jeffries, especially materials collected by Benjamin Joy Jeffries and James Howard Means.

Biographical / Historical

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.


Arranged into the following series:

  1. I. Letters and other papers concerning John Jeffries
  2. II. John Jeffries compositions and other papers
  3. III. Oversize materials

Physical Location

b, pf

Immediate Source of Acquisition

50M-326-339, 342-346, 357-361. Deposited by Dr. James H. Means, 60 Mt. Vernon Street Boston; received: 1951; gift: 1951-1953.

68M-93. Gift of Mrs. J. H. Means, 60 Mt. Vernon Street Boston, Massachusetts; received: 1968 August 1.

Processing Information

Reformatted in 2015 by Bonnie B. Salt

Jeffries, John, 1745-1819. John Jeffries papers, 1768-1963: Guide.
Houghton Library, Harvard College Library
Language of description

Repository Details

Part of the Houghton Library Repository

Houghton Library is Harvard College's principal repository for rare books and manuscripts, archives, and more. Houghton Library's collections represent the scope of human experience from ancient Egypt to twenty-first century Cambridge. With strengths primarily in North American and European history, literature, and culture, collections range in media from printed books and handwritten manuscripts to maps, drawings and paintings, prints, posters, photographs, film and audio recordings, and digital media, as well as costumes, theater props, and a wide range of other objects. Houghton Library has historically focused on collecting the written record of European and Eurocentric North American culture, yet it holds a large and diverse number of primary sources valuable for research on the languages, culture and history of indigenous peoples of the Americas, Africa, Asia and Oceania.

Houghton Library’s Reading Room is free and open to all who wish to use the library’s collections.

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