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Plan de la ville et environs de Williamsburg en Virginie, America (Frenchman's Map of Williamsburg, Virginia), 1782, 1978-2011

Identifier: Mss. Acc. 2009.002-Mss. Acc. Mss. Acc. 2013.184-Mss. Acc. 2011.536

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Scope and Contents

The Plan de la ville et environs de Williamsburg en Virginie, America (a 11 mai 1782, levé au pas), also known as the Frenchman's Map is a map of Williamsburg dated May 11, 1782. It was drafted by an unknown Frenchman probably stationed with Rochambeau's army. Its detail suggests perhaps a billeting map for the French army following the battle of Yorktown. It has been called the "Bible of the Restoration of Williamsburg" because of the detail of the original buildings shown. It has also been used to illustrate town planning in eighteenth century America. Relief shown by hachures.

In addition to the original map, Mss. Acc. 2013.184, the collection includes 1978 and 2011 facsimiles, Mss. Acc. 2009.002 and 2011.536 respectively. The 1978 facsimile (a second edition reprint) includes introductory text by the publishers Meriden Gravure Company and Colonial Williamsburg, Inc. The 2011 facsimile was created while the map was on loan to the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation for the exhibit "More Than Meets the Eye."


  • Creation: 1782 May 11 (Original)
  • Creation: 1978 and 2011 (Reproductions)

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Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open to all researchers. Manuscript collections and archival records may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal or state right to privacy laws and regulations, such as the Virginia Public Records Act (Code of Virginia. § 42.1-76-91); and the Virginia Freedom of Information Act (Code of Virginia § 2.2-3705.5). Confidential material may include, but is not limited to, educational, medical, and personnel records. If sensitive material is found in this collection, please contact a staff member immediately. The disclosure of personally identifiable information pertaining to a living individual may have legal consequences for which the College of William and Mary assumes no responsibility.

For preservation reasons, reprints and digital versions have to be used in lieu of the original. Applications for an exception need to be obtained from the SCRCDirector well in advance of the intended visit, and outline the specific reason that necessitates access to the original item.

Conditions Governing Use

Before publishing quotations or excerpts from any materials, permission must be obtained from the Curator of Manuscripts and Rare Books, and the holder of the copyright, if not Swem Library.


0.3 Linear Feet : 1 original map and 4 reproductions ; the image portion of the original map measures 25” (w) x 16” (h). With frame, the dimensions are 33” (w) x 24” (h).

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Source: Original map was a gift of John D. Crimmins in 1909; the 2011 facsimile is a gift of the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation.


Additional information about the Frenchman's Map is available at:

Guide to the Plan de la ville et environs de Williamsburg en Virginie, America (Frenchman's Map of Williamsburg, Virginia)
SCRC Staff.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
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Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections Research Center Repository