Herman Moll (d.1732) was born in the Netherlands and moved to London about 1680. He began his career as an engraver and earned renown as the foremost map publisher in England in the early eighteenth century. Moll was one of the first mapmakers to use London as the prime meridian for longitude. British authorities used his "Map of North America" and his 1715 "A New and Exact Map of the Dominions of the King of Great Britain on ye Continent of North America" (or "Beaver Map") to counter French claims to territory in North America. Throughout his career he published many maps of high quality covering all parts of the world.
The "Map of North America" on display is one of the last maps to depict California as an island. Moll claimed that he knew of seamen who had sailed around the island. Moll, who had engraved the maps in Nouveaux Voyages de Mr. le baron de Lahontan, dans líAmérique Septentrionale (The Hague, 1703), represents Lahontanís "Morte or R. Longue" as a northern tributary of the Mississippi which flows due west to a large lake in the mountains. On the other side of the mountains he shows a river running west toward, but not reaching, the Pacific Ocean. The "Straits of Annian" also appear well to the north of California.