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Early American Newspapers, Series 1: Key Titles and Their Nameplates

Posted on 10/17/2011

Artist: Joseph H. Davis (1811-1865). Title: Mr. and Mrs. Daniel Otis and Child (1834). Source: Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Focusing on the 18th and early 19th centuries, the first series of Early American Newspapers offers over 350,000 issues from more than 710 titles. This widely used digital collection, based primarily on Clarence S. Brigham's authoritative "History and Bibliography of American Newspapers, 1690-1820," contains newspapers from 23 states and the District of Columbia. Below is a brief description—and the nameplate—of several key titles:

Albany Register (New York) One of the most successful and influential American newspapers of the late 18th and early 19th century, the Register was edited from 1808 to 1822 by the ardent anti-Federalist Solomon Southwick.

• Includes 485 issues published between 1794 and 1813. Early American Newspapers, Series 2 includes 1,462 issues published between 1789 and 1822.

American Beacon (Norfolk, Virginia) Published by a ship captain in the busy 19th-century seaport of Norfolk, the Beacon focused on seafaring activities.

• Includes 1,670 issues published between 1815 and 1820

American Mercury (Hartford, Connecticut) With a reputation for outspokenness, the Mercury was for many years Connecticut’s leading reform paper as well as a key proponent of ensuring legal equality for religious sects.

• Includes 2,586 issues published between 1784 and 1829. Coverage between 1830 and 1833 will be found in Early American Newspapers, Series 6 American Minerva (New York) Self-described as “Patroness of Peace, Commerce, and the Liberal Arts,” Noah Webster’s federalist newspaper was established to support the policies of President George Washington.

• Includes 744 issues published between 1793 and 1796 American Weekly Mercury (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) Founded in 1719 and the first newspaper in the Colonies to be published outside Boston, the Mercury was well known for its essays on political liberty. 


• Includes 1,370 issues published between 1719 and 1746

Arkansas Gazette (Little Rock) One of the first newspapers west of the Mississippi, the Gazette was founded 16 years before Arkansas achieved statehood. Throughout the 19th and 20th centuries, it remained one of the most influential newspapers in the region.

• Includes 337 issues published between 1819 and 1826. Early American Newspapers, Series 6 includes 8,638 issues of the Arkansas Gazette published between 1820 and 1900.

Boston News-Letter (Massachusetts) Established in 1704, the News-Letter was the first regularly published newspaper in the British Colonies of North America. Noted for its pro-British sympathies, the News-Letter went through a succession of printers, including Margaret Draper, one the few women printers of the 18th century.


• Includes 3,500 issues published between 1704 and 1776 City Gazette (Charleston, South Carolina) The City Gazette provides extensive coverage of the culture and history of Antebellum South Carolina, including the invention of the cotton gin and the rise of slavery.

• Includes 10,306 issues published between 1787 and 1821. Early American Newspapers, Series 2 includes 3,011 issues published between 1712 and 1826, and Series 4 includes 1,864 issues published between 1827 and 1833. Daily National Intelligencer (Washington, D.C.) As the official publication for Congressional reports, the Intelligencer’s government news was shipped to editors across the country.

• Includes 2,127 issues published between 1813 and 1820. Early American Newspapers, Series 6 includes 16,763 issues published between 1821 and 1869. Eastern Argus (Portland, Maine) This long-running weekly argued for Maine’s independence from Massachusetts.

• Includes 2,582 issues published between 1803 and 1833. Early American Newspapers, Series 3 includes 488 issues published between 1833 and 1880, and Series 7 will include issues published between 1835 and 1876. Enquirer (Richmond, Virginia) This influential southern newspaper was edited and published for 41 years by leading American journalist Thomas Ritchie. Of the Enquirer, Thomas Jefferson wrote:" I read but a single newspaper, Ritchie's Enquirer, the best that is published or ever has been published in America." Later issues of the Enquirer offer perspectives on the Confederacy’s reaction to Reconstruction.

• Includes 1,905 issues published between 1804 and 1820. Early American Newspapers, Series 2 includes 258 issues published between 1838 and 1865, and Series 6 will include issues published between 1866 and 1876. Evening Post (New York City) First published by Alexander Hamilton in 1801 as a broadside, the Post remains today the oldest continuously published daily in the country. It gained national fame under the editorship of poet and abolitionist William Cullen Bryant.

• Includes 6,090 issues published between 1801 and 1821. Early American Newspapers, Series 7 will include issues published between 1822 and 1876.

Farmer’s Cabinet (Amherst, New Hampshire) The Cabinet is especially noteworthy for remaining neutral when many newspapers of its time were openly influenced by political controversy.

• Includes 4,943 issues published between 1802 and 1879 Georgia Gazette (Savannah) Georgia’s first newspaper, the Gazette provides a rich record of southern colonial life.

• Includes 363 issues published between 1763 and 1770. Early American Newspapers, Series 2 includes 600 issues published between 1788 and 1802. Early American Newspapers, Series 5, includes 19 issues published in 1803. Massachusetts Spy (Boston and Worcester) Initially neutral but soon openly supporting the Patriots, the Massachusetts Spy was arguably the most important newspaper in America leading up to the Revolution. It was co-founded by Isaiah Thomas, one of the most successful and colorful journalists of the 18th century and founder of the American Antiquarian Society.



• Includes 283 issues published in Boston between 1770 and 1775, and 2,371 issues published in Worcester between 1775 and 1820. Early American Newspapers, Series 6 will include issues published between 1821 and 1876.

National Aegis (Worcester, Massachusetts) Offering a political counterpoint to Worcester’s Federalist paper, the Massachusetts Spy, the Aegis defended Jeffersonian Republicanism throughout its run.

• Includes 989 issues published between 1801 and 1820. Early American Newspapers, Series 2 includes 155 issues published between 1825 and 1827, and Series 7 will include issues published between 1821 and 1876.

New-England Courant (Boston) Shortly after founding the Courant in 1721, James Franklin was imprisoned and his paper suppressed for its radical views against the General Court. Franklin’s younger brother, Benjamin, who had been serving his apprenticeship at the Courant, assumed control of the paper in 1723. Benjamin Franklin’s early writings, under the name Silence Dogood, appear in this paper.

• Includes 243 issues published between 1721 and 1726 New-Hampshire Gazette (Portsmouth) The first newspaper in the state of New Hampshire, the Gazette is also one the nation’s oldest existing papers.


• Includes 4,140 issues published between 1756 and 1833. Early American Newspapers, Series 2 includes 415 issues published between 1836 and 1844, Series 3 includes 486 issues published between 1834 and 1851, Series 4 includes 772 issues published between 1836 and 1851, and Series 7 will include issues published between 1852 and 1876. Pennsylvania Gazette (Philadelphia) Published by Benjamin Franklin, this prominent 18th-century newspaper contains not only in-depth articles on every aspect of Colonial America but also the full text of many seminal government documents, including the U.S. Constitution, the Declaration of Independence and the Federalist Papers.

• Includes 635 issues published between 1742 and 1757. Early American Newspapers, Series 2 includes 1,524 issues published between 1736 and 1775 Providence Patriot (Rhode Island) The Patriot, an influential and often eloquent paper, provides a local look at two early race riots: the 1824 Hardscrabble Riot and the 1831 Snow Town Riot in which working class whites attacked African American residents. Unable to control the violent mob, Providence officials requested that the Governor send in military troops.

• Includes 1,507 issues published between 1814 and 1829. Early American Newspapers, Series 2 includes 1,192 issues published between 1814 and 1834. Publick Occurrences (Boston) The first newspaper in North America, Publick Occurrences: Both Forreign and Domestick was published for the first and last time on September 26, 1690 before being shut down for printing “sundry doubtful and uncertain Reports” without royal consent.

• Includes the single issue published in 1690

Vermont Gazette (Bennington) Publisher Anthony Haswell, who brought the first printing press to Vermont, was jailed for publishing articles in the Gazette that criticized the United States’ newly established government.

• Includes 2,199 issues published between 1783 and 1832. Early American Newspapers, Series 3 includes 105 issues published between 1843 and 1844, and Series 5 includes 834 issues published between 1832 and 1850. For more information about Early American Newspapers, Series 1, 1690-1876, please contact or visit our website.  To request a free trial for your institution, please use this form.

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