First newspapers in New Jersey…

January 31, 2011 by  
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Given that New Jersey is geographically wedged between the the large colonial cities of New York and Philadelphia, there seemed to be little interest in creating a New Jersey newspaper until relatively late in the 18th century. Although New York & Pennsylvania had newspapers in the 1720’s, New Jersey’s first title, “The New Jersey Gazette“, did not appear until 1777.

But printing was being done in the colony as early as 1723, and it even had its first magazine, “The New American Magazine“, done by James Parker at Woodbridge in 1758. But it was Isaac Collins who on Dec. 5, 1777 started in Burlington the province’s first newspaper, “The New Jersey Gazette”, which would be removed to Trenton just three months later where it continued until 1786.

Technically there is another contender for the the title of New Jersey’s first newspaper, as Hugh Gaine removed his  “New York Gazette & Weekly Mercury” to Newark, New Jersey, just prior to the British occupation of that city. His first Newark edition was on Sept. 21, 1776 and he only printed seven issues through Nov. 2, 1776 before returning to New York a few days later.

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2 Responses to “First newspapers in New Jersey…”

  1. Pete on February 15th, 2011 4:42 pm

    The Encyclopedia of New Jersey also mentions William Goddard using James Parker’s print shop in Woodbridge to pblish one edition of the Constitutional Courant in September 1765. The reference work also mentions the Plain-Dealer, which was “not really a newspaper” as it was a handwritten sheet posted on the wall in Matthew Potter’s tavern in Bridgeton and last for eight issues from 1775 to 1776. I remember you guys offering for sale a handwritten “newspaper” I think.

    I am a little curious about the use of the word “magazine” since some magazines I’ve seen are done on newspaper. Was there some set of criteria that separated a newspaper from a magazine. It certainly wasn’t glossines!

  2. Tim Hughes on February 15th, 2011 5:08 pm

    Pete – Thanks for the informative comments.

    As for the definition of a “magazine”, there is no universal definition, but the most common definition would be that it is more typically a weekly or a monthly publication as opposed to a daily (although many newspapers are weekly), usually smaller in size, say 9 by 12 inches or perhaps smaller, and have more literary & “miscellaneous” content rather than breaking news of the day. Although not a perfect definition as there would be exceptions to all I noted, it’s a pretty good rule of thumb. The type of paper it was printed upon would not be a defining point as newsprint was often the same for both.

    Tim Hughes

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