A gem in the American Antiquarian Society… The Michigan Essay…

January 14, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

In celebration of its 20oth anniversary the American Antiquarian Society published a beautiful  exhibition catalog titled “In Pursuit Of A Vision – Two Centuries of Collecting at the American Antiquarian Society”. Featured are a fascinating array of books, documents, maps & other paper ephemera, as well as several very rare & unusual newspapers we felt worthy of sharing with our Rare & Early Newspapers’ collectors (with permission from the A.A.S.).

Michigan Essay; or, The Impartial Observer“, Detroit Michigan, August 31, 1809

Isaiah Thomas devoted substantial space in The History of Printing in America (Cat.9) to a history of American serial publications, closing with an eight-page census of newspapers “Published in the United States in the beginning of the year 1810.” Thomas sought help in its compilation in March 1810 by placing a widely reprinted notice in The Massachusetts Spy, requesting publishers “to forward one or two of their papers … that the right titles of their several Newspapers, may be correctly inserted.” Many responded, and the newspaper issues sent to Thomas were later donated to AAS.

This example — the first and only extant issue of the first Michigan newspaper — arrived too late for inclusion in Thomas’s checklist. The manuscript notation on the side reads, “Utica, (N.Y.) Aug. 3d 1810. Mr. Thomas, Sir I send you this paper printed by a friend of mine to insert in your ‘History of Printing.’ If he sees your advertisement, he will send more, perhaps of a later date. Your obt. Servt. C.S. McConnell.” The Michigan Essay was printed by James M. Miller on Michigan’s first press, brought to Detroit from Baltimore in 1809 by Father Gabriel Richard. Most of the text is in English, but a few articles and advertisements are in French.

First newspapers in Michigan…

June 28, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

The first settlement in present-day Michigan was in Sault Ste. Mari in 1668, yet it was about one hundred years later before the first printing press arrived in the territory. Detroit was founded in  1701 and it was here in 1809 when the Rev. Father Gabriel Richard brought with him a printing press upon which Jame M. Miller, a printer from Utica, New York, would published the first issue of “Michigan Essay; Or, The Impartial Observer” on August 31. A portion of the issue was printed in French. Only four issues of this newspaper have survived and they are all the first issue so it is possible it may have been also the last.

The second newspaper in Michigan was also in Detroit, the “Detroit Gazette” which began on July 25, 1817.  Three of the pages were in English while one was in French. It succeeded for about thirteen years, expiring on April 22, 1830. The third newspaper was again in Detroit, the “Michigan Herald“, which began in 1825 and lasted for four years. the first French newspaper in Michigan was the “Gazette Francaise, which also began in 1825, which was also the year the first newspaper outside of Detroit was begun, being the “Michigan Sentinel” in the town of Monroe.  By the 1830’s newspapers in the Michigan Territory became more commonplace.