Most historic: Pre-Revolutionary War…

March 16, 2009 by  
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As our last discussion point on the most historic event to have in an early American newspaper collection we’ll consider the pre-Revolutionary War era.

What a period of time, from the mid-1600’s thru 1775. Keep in mind that the only newspapers to be had with American content thru 1704 would be British, most likely limited to the Oxford/London Gazette. The “Boston News-Letter” as America’s first successful newspaper began in 1704 but it can be exceedingly difficult to find any American newspaper prior to 1730. In any case let’s consider the event & not the rarity of the newspaper itself. Remember, we’re dreaming here anyway.

Dig out your history books and give thought to what single historic event in American history from this period you would like to have in your newspaper collection.

Source:  The Smithsonian

Source: The Smithsonian

Much of the late 17th century was dealing with settling the “New World” and territorial issues not just with the Native Americans but the various European countries, all trying to establish a foothold, and increasing it at that. The early 18th century saw the creation of colonial governments and continuing territorial problems, leading to the French & Indian War, which in itself created financial problems in England which led to greater taxation in America to pay for related expenses. Of course the colonists were not keen on tightening controls and increased taxation levied by a government 3000 miles away and before long there was a revolution.

My choice would be the “Pennsylvania Journal & Weekly Advertiser” issue of Oct. 31, 1765. Known as the “tombstone edition” because of the great graphics, it signaled the beginning of the Stamp Act in America, the most hated of the taxes up to that point, only to be following by more from Great Britain. The Stamp Act was the catalyst for a disintegrating relationship with the mother country. This newspaper (see photo) is both visually dramatic and historically significant in presaging the biggest event in 18th century America history.

What’s your thought?

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3 Responses to “Most historic: Pre-Revolutionary War…”

  1. Erik Anderson on March 18th, 2009 10:14 am

    A newspaper report about Benjamin Franklin’s kite experiment would be neat to have.

  2. L. A. Chancey on January 9th, 2015 1:37 pm

    I have in my possession an Indenture from 1769 with a purchase of 100 acres which was used to form a township in PA. It is in good condition. I have contacted the township and the Historical Society wants the documents. How can I get them appraised? thanks, la

  3. GuyHeilenman on January 15th, 2015 9:57 am

    Unfortunately we only handle historic newspapers. We’re not sure where to send you for help. Good luck with it.

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