First newspapers in Massachusetts…

May 31, 2010 by · 1 Comment 

It would be of no surprise that Massachusetts has the longest history of newspaper publishing anywhere in the colonies. The very first printing press in the colonies was set up there, and by 1690 a newspaper was published in Boston, “Public Occurrences Both Foreign and Domestick”, but lasting but a single issue. In November of 2008 I did a post specifically on this title so I won’t dwell on this effort other than to say that it lasted but a single issue before being suppressed.

It was not for another fourteen years that Bartholomew Green, of the very famous Green family of printers, had the honor of printing the first newspaper to be permanently established in the colonies, the Boston “News-Letter“. Green published it for the owner, John Campbell, for 18 years and when  Campbell retired Green & his successors continued the publication until the evacuation of Boston 1776, at which point the newspaper ceased.

The third newspaper in Massachusetts, also in Boston, was the famed “Boston Gazette“, printed for owner William Brooker by James Franklin, elder brother to Benjamin. This newspaper started on Dec. 21, 1719 and when sold James Franklin decided to begin a newspaper of his own. The “New-England Courant” began Aug. 7,1721 and it was on this project that Benjamin Franklin gained his apprenticeship as a printer. He would then move to Philadelphia, buy the Pennsylvania Gazette, and the rest is, well, history.

So it was that the first three newspapers in the American colonies were all published in Boston, although it was a close call. The first newspaper outside of Boston, the “American Weekly Mercury“, began in Philadelphia on Dec. 22, 1719, just one day after the “Boston Gazette“.

The “top ten”: 18th century…

December 14, 2009 by · 9 Comments 

Continuing with our “top ten events to be found in newspapers” for various periods of time, today we consider the 18th century.

What an event-filled one hundred years it was. As you can tell by the list my focal point is on the American Revolution, but there are other events or specific newspapers which made it into my top ten.

Again I offer apologies to our non-American friends as this list has  a decidedly American bias, primarily because the vast majority of those who purchase from us are American.

Here we go, starting with number ten:

George-Washington-death10) Death of George Washington, 1799 (Front page, preferably in a Virginia Gazette)

9) Hanging of Captain Kidd, 1701 (Just can’t resist a great pirate hanging, he being perhaps the most famous of all time)

8.) Any newspaper with the first installment of Paine’s “The Crisis” (“These are the times that try men’s souls…” has to be one of the more famous beginnings of all time)

7) Full text of the Stamp Act (Certainly a trigger event that would lead to the Revolution)

6) Boston Tea Party (In a Boston newspaper. An event every school kid knows about)

5) The Pennsylvania Journal, Nov. 1, 1765 “skull & crossbones” engraving (Replaced its normal masthead on this date: seen in most history books)

Constitution_PA_Packet4) Battle of Lexington & Concord with mention of Paul Revere’s ride (The beginning of the Revolutionary War. I had one once with mention of Revere–exceedingly rare–great to have in a Boston area newspaper)

3) The Boston News-Letter, 1704 (Great to have issue #1 of America’s first successful newspaper, but any issue from 1704 would do)

2) The Pennsylvania Packet, Sept. 19, 1787 (First newspaper to print the Constitution, & done in broadside format. Need I say more?)

1) The Declaration of Independence, 1776 (Ideally the Pennsylvania Evening Post, July 6, 1776, but the Packet of July  8 would work too as it contains the Declaration entirely on the front page: better for display).