Here’s Hoping History Doesn’t Repeat Itself… 1693…

March 28, 2022 by · Leave a Comment 

They say those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it.  I’m pretty sure they only break out that proverb when discussing something horrific.  So it is with The Salem Witch Trials.  On February 7, 1693, THE ATHENIAN MERCURY out of London advertised the book: “The Second Edition of the late TRYALS of several WITCHES in New-England. Written by Cotton Mather”. The ad was “Published by the Special Command of the Governor”. Perhaps he wanted to make sure the readers were not doomed…

The Traveler… a sweet business…

September 21, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

Blog-9-21-2015-SugarToday I traveled to back London, England by The London Chronicle of September 21, 1765. I found the reporting of some sweet business happening in New England, the making of maple syrup! “Having chosen out a large maple-tree, suitable for the purpose, they with an axe box it…a kind of trough is prepared… in order to retain the sap as it runs down. By this means upwards of 30 gallons from one tree has been drawn in a day;…  produces a sugar, the grain of which is equal in fineness to the the Jamaica…  upwards of 600 lb. was made by one man the last season…”

~The Traveler

A gem in the American Antiquarian Society…

July 28, 2014 by · 1 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 collectors (with permission from the A.A.S.).

New-England Courant63. “The New-England Courant“, Boston, February 5, 1722

As a member of the family which controlled the Boston Globe,and as the newspaper’s treasurer from 1893 to 1937, Charles Henry Taylor avidly collected publication on the history of American printing and journalism. He generously donated to AAS anything it lacked. Among his gifts were runs of many important American newspapers, including this issue — the second earliest at AAS — of The New-England Courant.

Only the third newspaper to be printed in Boston, The New-England Courant was published by James Franklin from 1721 to 1726. During the Courant’s first two years, its popularity was bolstered by the publication of fourteen letters from one “Silence Dogood,” the nom de plume of James’s younger brother and apprentice, Benjamin Franklin. But the Courant had a contentious history, as James was often at odds with the provincial government, the powerful Mather family, and other influential Bostonians. In 1723 James was imprisoned by the Massachusetts General Court and ordered to suspend the Courant, a ban which James circumvented by issuing the paper under his brother’s name. Even after Benjamin ran away to Philadelphia in October of that year, the Courant continued to appear under this imprint until it ceased publication.

The front page of this issue contains an extensive article on the smallpox inoculation controversy then raging in Boston. While Cotton Mather and other clergy supported inoculation, many Bostonians disagreed. James Franklin opposed the practice in this and many subsequent articles.