In the beginning…

June 8, 2009 by · 1 Comment 

american-weekly-mercurySome collectors like to pursue a newspaper from each of the original thirteen colonies, and ideally one dated as close as possible to the beginning of that colony’s first newspaper. For those active in this pursuit, we offer this list of the earliest in each.

Although the first newspaper in America was published in Boston in 1690, Benjamin Harris’ “Publick Occurrences Both Forreign & Domestick” lasted by a single issue before being suppressed by the Royal authorities. The first successful Massachusetts newspaper–and the first in all of the colonies–started 14 years later in 1704, also in Boston, titled “The Boston News-Letter” which continued until the British occupation of the city in 1776.

Here are the remaining colonies and the newspaper titles. As you see, originally in titles was not a strength among the newspaper publishers:

American Weekly Mercury (Penna.), 1719
The New York Gazette, 1726
The Maryland Gazette, 1728
The Rhode Island Gazette, 1732
The South Carolina Gazette 1732
The Virginia Gazette, 1736
The North Carolina Gazette, 1751
The Connecticut Gazette, 1755
The New Hampshire Gazette, 1756
The Newport Mercury (Rhode Is.), 1758
The Georgia Gazette, 1763
The New Jersey Gazette, 1777

It may seem curious that New Jersey was the last of the colonies to have its own newspaper, however given its location between the major metro areas of New York and Philadelphia there likely wasn’t an incentive to create its own until much later than the others.

Reducing old maids and increasing the population…

June 6, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

polygamy1The Connecticut Courant issue of Hartford dated October 18, 1790 contains a curious piece taken from a Virginia newspaper, noting that:

“…a serious petition is now drawing up…stating arguments in favour of polygamy, from the plain principles of reason: and praying that a man may legally marry two wives.  This, it is thought, will be the most effectual means to extirpate the numerous race of old maids, and increase the population of the United States…”

Editors take note: be mindful of photos accompanying headlines…

June 4, 2009 by · 1 Comment 

kennedy_killedThe “Second Extra” of the Atlanta Journal newspaper of November 22, 1963 has a curious–if not macabre–combination of headline and photo. As would be expected of an “Extra” of this date, the large & bold headline proclaims: “KENNEDY KILLED” but immediately beneath it is a photo of a street sweeper pushing his bucket which has a pair of trousers & boots protruding from the top, with the caption: “Sweeper Means What He Says”.

One might excuse the editor, for I’m sure that in rushing this edition to the streets as quickly as possible  the planned headline was removed and the Kennedy death report quickly inserted with little thought as to what else was scheduled for top half that day’s edition.  But it serves as an important lesson to budding newspaper editors everywhere: be mindful of what what might accompany an article or photo.

Extensive list of reprinted newspapers…

June 2, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

list_of_common_reprintsThe Library of Congress, as we previously discussed, maintains a web listing of the eighteen mostly commonly found reprinted newspapers. Most reprints which turn up today will be found in this list, however many others do exist.

Rick Brown, who maintains the “” website and who edited the journal “Collectible Newspapers” for many years, created a master list of some 567 reprinted newspapers.  Should you encounter a newspapers and you are suspicious of its genuineness, check the list of titles and dates on “American Newspapers Known to Have Been Reprinted” which can also be accessed from the home page of our website. If the title & date appear on this list your suspicions many be justified.

If you care to take an additional step towards determining genuineness, Rick offers a more detailed “Annotated Index of Newspapers Editions Known To Have Been Reprinted…” for a modest charge, which offers additional details for each entry.

Although reprinted editions are exeedingly rare in the hobby of early newspapers—and most common reprints are easy for even a novice to spot—having access to such a list is of much value to the hobby and can provide some comfort when pursuing historic newspapers for one’s private collection.

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