The News Media and the Making of America, 1730-1865

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In colonial America, newspapers were delivered to their readers in a variety of ways. In the cities, customers often picked up their papers at the printing office. In the countryside, post riders delivered newspapers. Having free access to the postal…

Isaiah Thomas (1749-1831) would become a prominent Patriot printer during the American Revolution and eventually one of the wealthiest men in the United States, but at sixteen he illegally left his apprenticeship in Boston with a poor printer named…

This broadside announcing the Treaty of Paris was published by Isaiah Thomas (1749-1831) in Worcester, Massachusetts. The subtitle—”Sure and Certain”—immediately tries to dispel any worries about the treaty being a rumor. But…

So-called “rebels” or “patriots” were not the only ones to use print media to their advantage during the pre-Revolution crisis. In the spring of 1774, loyalists in the shire town of Worcester, Massachusetts, felt that they…

Public readings of the newly minted Declaration of Independence took place in taverns, churches, town greens, or anywhere else people could gather. In New England, the first public reading of the Declaration of Independence is believed to have taken…

Although breaking news usually appeared on the interior of colonial newspapers as that side of the paper was generally printed last, this copy of the New-Hampshire Gazette—published by Daniel Fowle (ca. 1715-87)—leads with a front-page…

James Rivington (1724-1802), publisher of Rivington’s New-York Gazetteer, was born in London and was a bookseller in his native land before immigrating to the colonies in 1760. He eventually established a bookstore in New York and then ventured…

This book, commissioned by the new Provincial Congress, was one of the first items printed in Worcester, Massachusetts, after printer Isaiah Thomas’s arrival in April 1775. As the title explains, it is A Narrative, of the Excursion and Ravages…

The American account of the events at Lexington and Concord is recounted in this dramatic broadside. Note the heavy black borders and the coffins that adorn the top of the broadside. Both the graphics and the inflammatory prose are designed to incite…

While most colonial newspapers had circulations of between 300 and 600, theMassachusetts Spyhad a circulation of 3,500 from subscribers throughout the thirteen colonies, making it the most popular American newspaper at the time. Designed specifically…