February 18

What was advertised in a colonial American newspaper 250 years ago today?

Feb 18 - 2:18:1768 New-York Journal
New-York Journal (February 18, 1768).

“All those that really have the Welfare of their Country at Heart, are desired to consider seriously, the Importance of a Paper Manufactory to this Government.”

The Townshend Act assessed new taxes on all sorts of imported paper. When it went into effect on November 20, 1767, many colonists vowed to encourage and purchase domestic manufactures, especially paper, as a means of resisting Parliament overreaching its authority. Calls for colonists to collect linen rags and turn them over to local papermakers, not uncommon before the Townshend Act, took on a new tone once the legislation went into effect.

The “Manufacturers of PAPER at Milton” in Massachusetts placed an advertisement in the Boston-Gazette in late November 1767. In it, they addressed “All Persons dispos’d in this Wat to encourage so useful a Manufacture.” The “Manufacturers” aimed to collect enough rags quickly enough to replenish the “large Quantities of Paper” that “fortunately arriv’d from Europe before the Duties could be demanded.” Ultimately, the “Manufacturers” wished to produce so much paper that colonists would never have to purchase imported paper again (and thus avoid paying the new taxes), but that required the cooperation of consumers participating in the production process by saving their rags for that purpose.

In January 1768, Christopher Leffingwell placed a similar advertisement in the New-London Gazette. He issued a call for “CLEAN LINEN RAGS” to residents of Connecticut, calling collection of the castoffs “an entire Saving to the COUNTRY.” He encouraged “every Friend and Lover” of America to do their part, no matter how small. Leffingwell suggested that producing paper locally benefited the entire colony; the economy benefited by keeping funds within the colony rather than remitting them across the ocean as new taxes. With the assistance of colonists who collected rags, Leffingwell could “supply them with as good Paper as is imported from Abroad, and as cheap.”

John Keating joined this chorus in February 1768. In an advertisement in the New-York Journal he even more explicitly linked the production and consumption of paper to the current political situation than Leffingwell or the “Manufacturers of PAPER at Milton.” He opened his notice by proclaiming, “All those that really have the Welfare of their Country at Heart, are desired to consider seriously, the Importance of a Paper Manufactory to this Government.” Purchasing paper made in America represented a double savings: first on the cost of imported paper and then by avoiding “a most arbitrary and oppressive Duty” that “further drain’d” the colony of funds that would never return.

Keating acknowledged that collecting rags might seem small and inconsequential, yet he assured colonists that collectively their efforts would yield significant results. He recommended that they cultivate a habit of setting aside their rags by hanging a small scrap in a visible place “in every House” as a reminder. Readers who followed that advice transformed domestic spaces into political venues; otherwise mundane actions took on political meaning as both members of the household and visitors noticed clean linen rags hung as reminders to encourage domestic production and consumption. In the end, Keating predicted that this “would have the desired Effect, and supply us with Paper at home sufficient for our own Use … whereas now we are obliged to send Money abroad, not only to pay for Paper at a high Price, but an oppressive Duty upon it into the Bargain.” Keating not only advanced a “Buy American” campaign but also encouraged colonists to participate in the production of domestic manufacturers for the common good.

Slavery Advertisements Published February 18, 1768

These advertisements appeared in colonial American newspapers 250 years ago today.  Daily updates also available on Twitter: @SlaveAdverts250.

Feb 18 - Massachusetts Gazette Slavery 1
Massachusetts Gazette (February 18, 1768).

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Feb 18 - Massachusetts Gazette Slavery 2
Massachusetts Gazette (February 18, 1768).

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Feb 18 - New-York Journal Supplement Slavery 1
Supplement to the New-York Journal (February 18, 1768).

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Feb 18 - New-York Journal Supplement Slavery 2
Supplement to the New-York Journal (February 18, 1768).

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Feb 18 - Pennsylvania Gazette Slavery 1
Pennsylvania Gazette (February 18, 1768).

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Feb 18 - Pennsylvania Gazette Slavery 2
Pennsylvania Gazette (February 18, 1768).

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Feb 18 - Pennsylvania Gazette Supplement Slavery 1
Supplement to the Pennsylvania Gazette (February 18, 1768).

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Feb 18 - Virginia Gazette Purdie and Dixon Slavery 1
Virginia Gazette [Purdie & Dixon] (February 18, 1768).

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Feb 18 - Virginia Gazette Purdie and Dixon Slavery 2
Virginia Gazette [Purdie & Dixon] (February 18, 1768).

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Feb 18 - Virginia Gazette Purdie and Dixon Slavery 3
Virginia Gazette [Purdie & Dixon] (February 18, 1768).

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Feb 18 - Virginia Gazette Purdie and Dixon Slavery 4
Virginia Gazette [Purdie & Dixon] (February 18, 1768).

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Feb 18 - Virginia Gazette Purdie and Dixon Slavery 5
Virginia Gazette [Purdie & Dixon] (February 18, 1768).

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Feb 18 - Virginia Gazette Purdie and Dixon Slavery 6
Virginia Gazette [Purdie & Dixon] (February 18, 1768).

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Feb 18 - Virginia Gazette Rind Slavery 1
Virginia Gazette [Rind] (February 18, 1768).

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Feb 18 - Virginia Gazette Rind Slavery 2
Virginia Gazette [Rind] (February 18, 1768).

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Feb 18 - Virginia Gazette Rind Slavery 3
Virginia Gazette [Rind] (February 18, 1768).

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Feb 18 - Virginia Gazette Rind Slavery 4
Virginia Gazette [Rind] (February 18, 1768).

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Feb 18 - Virginia Gazette Rind Slavery 5
Virginia Gazette [Rind] (February 18, 1768).

February 17

What was advertised in a colonial American newspaper 250 years ago today?

Feb 17 - 2:17:1768 Georgia Gazette
Georgia Gazette (February 17, 1768).

“The Town Subscribers to this Gazette are requested to send to the Office for their Papers.”

James Johnston, the printer of the Georgia Gazette, inserted an advertisement concerning the distribution of the newspaper in the February 17, 1768, edition. “The Town Subscribers to this Gazette,” he announced, “are requested to send to the Office for their Papers.” Why did Johnston believe that this merited inclusion in the newspaper? Did it revise existing practices for getting his newspaper into the hands of subscribers? What does it reveal about the business practices of eighteenth-century printers, especially their methods for distributing newspapers?

Johnston’s short notice raises as many questions as it answers. It suggests that subscribers in Savannah previously enjoyed delivery service, but it does not indicate who made the deliveries. Johnston placed a help wanted advertisement in the same issue, promising “good encouragement” to an “honest, sober and industrious LAD” interested in becoming “an APPRENTICE to the PRINTING BUSINESS.” Perhaps another apprentice had formerly been responsible for delivering newspapers to subscribers in the relatively small port, just one of many duties assigned by the master. Maybe delivery service was only temporarily suspended until Johnston obtained a new apprentice.

That the notice addressed only the “Town Subscribers” suggests that subscribers who lived outside Savannah continued to receive their newspapers without change in the method of delivery. They may have been distributed via the post, but Johnston or his subscribers could have hired riders to carry the Georgia Gazette to readers in the hinterlands. Post riders for other newspapers sometimes published notices aimed at their customers, usually providing updates to their schedules or requesting payment for services rendered. Did the cost of a subscription usually include delivery? The newspaper’s colophon was silent on this; it solicited “Subscriptions for this Paper,” but did not list prices for either newspapers or delivery. Had Johnston previously provided delivery gratis to “Town Subscribers,” incurring only the small expense of sending an apprentice around town to drop off the newspapers? Did subscribers in the country expect to pay more for their newspapers because of their distance from the printing office?

Johnston frequently advertised various goods and services available at his printing office, indicating how he earned a living beyond publishing the Georgia Gazette. Other advertisements, however, address other aspects of his business operations. Notices concerning apprentices and delivery services reveal some of the concerns of colonial printers, even if they do not always provide all the details about the division of labor or the means of distributing newspapers to readers.

Summary of Slavery Advertisements Published February 11-17, 1768

These tables indicate how many advertisements for slaves appeared in colonial American newspapers during the week of February 11-17, 1768.

Note:  These tables are as comprehensive as currently digitized sources permit, but they may not be an exhaustive account.  They includes all newspapers that have been digitized and made available via Accessible Archives, Colonial Williamsburg’s Digital Library, and Readex’s America’s Historical Newspapers.  There are several reasons some newspapers may not have been consulted:

  • Issues that are no longer extant;
  • Issues that are extant but have not yet been digitized (including the Pennsylvania Journal); and
  • Newspapers published in a language other than English (including the Wochentliche Philadelphische Staatsbote).

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Slavery Advertisements Published February 11-17, 1768:  By Date

Slavery Adverts Tables 1768 By Date Feb 11

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Slavery Advertisements Published February 11-17, 1768, 1768:  By Region

Slavery Adverts Tables 1768 By Region Feb 11

Slavery Advertisements Published February 17, 1768

These advertisements appeared in colonial American newspapers 250 years ago today.  Daily updates also available on Twitter: @SlaveAdverts250.

Feb 17 - Georgia Gazette Slavery 1
Georgia Gazette (February 17, 1768).

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Feb 17 - Georgia Gazette Slavery 2
Georgia Gazette (February 17, 1768).

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Feb 17 - Georgia Gazette Slavery 3
Georgia Gazette (February 17, 1768).

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Feb 17 - Georgia Gazette Slavery 4
Georgia Gazette (February 17, 1768).

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Feb 17 - Georgia Gazette Slavery 5
Georgia Gazette (February 17, 1768).

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Feb 17 - Georgia Gazette Slavery 6
Georgia Gazette (February 17, 1768).

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Feb 17 - Georgia Gazette Slavery 7
Georgia Gazette (February 17, 1768).

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Feb 17 - Georgia Gazette Slavery 8
Georgia Gazette (February 17, 1768).

February 16

What was advertised in a colonial American newspaper 250 years ago today?

Feb 16 - 2:16:1768 South-Carolina Gazette and Country Journal
South-Carolina Gazette and Country Journal (February 16, 1768).

“JOHN & SARAH CRANE, TAYLOR and MANTUA-MAKER, from LONDON.”

Given their participation in the colonial marketplace as the providers of goods and services, women were underrepresented among the advertisements in eighteenth-century newspapers. Some female entrepreneurs did place their own advertisements to promote businesses they operated, but others followed a different strategy when they jointly advertised with men. Such advertisements had several variations. In most, a woman advertised alongside a male relation, most often as wife and husband but sometimes as siblings or as mother and son. On occasion, women advertised with male partners who were not related to them, but such instances were much less common.

Joint advertisements also varied in terms of how prominently they featured women’s activities in the marketplace. Some focused almost exclusively on the activities of a male head of household and only mentioned in passing that a woman also worked in the shop or otherwise provided goods or services on her own. Such advertisements frequently used the man’s name as the headline and did not mention the woman until the final sentence or in a nota bene that almost seemed an afterthought. Others, such as an advertisement by John Holliday and Mrs. Holliday, devoted equal amounts of space to the separate endeavors of both parties, yet still focused primary attention on the husband by using his name as the headline and promoting his business before turning to his wife.

Sometimes, however, men and women placed advertisements that portrayed them as equal partners in their enterprises, especially when they pursued related occupations. That was the case with John and Sarah Crane, “TAYLOR and MANTUA-MAKER, from LONDON,” in an advertisement in the January 16, 1768, edition of the South-Carolina Gazette and Country Journal. The headline featured both of their names in capital letters. The body of the advertisement addressed the qualities they both contributed to the garments they made. A nota bene even promoted certain items made by “Mrs. Crane” beyond those customers might have expected from a mantuamaker, suggesting her skill and versatility. The Cranes apparently continued this egalitarianism into other aspects of their marketing. Their advertisement indicated their shop was marked “With their names in gold letters over the door.” The space there they conducted their business, just like their advertisement, was a shared domain where the Cranes acted as partners. Their story demonstrates what was possible for married women as providers of goods and services in the colonial marketplace, even if it was not the most probable arrangement.

Slavery Advertisements Published February 16, 1768

These advertisements appeared in colonial American newspapers 250 years ago today.  Daily updates also available on Twitter: @SlaveAdverts250.

Feb 16 - South-Carolina Gazette and Country Journal Slavery 1
South-Carolina Gazette and Country Journal (February 16, 1768).

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Feb 16 - South-Carolina Gazette and Country Journal Slavery 2
South-Carolina Gazette and Country Journal (February 16, 1768).

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Feb 16 - South-Carolina Gazette and Country Journal Slavery 3
South-Carolina Gazette and Country Journal (February 16, 1768).

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Feb 16 - South-Carolina Gazette and Country Journal Slavery 4
South-Carolina Gazette and Country Journal (February 16, 1768).

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Feb 16 - South-Carolina Gazette and Country Journal Slavery 5
South-Carolina Gazette and Country Journal (February 16, 1768).

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Feb 16 - South-Carolina Gazette and Country Journal Slavery 6
South-Carolina Gazette and Country Journal (February 16, 1768).

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Feb 16 - South-Carolina Gazette and Country Journal Slavery 7
South-Carolina Gazette and Country Journal (February 16, 1768).

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Feb 16 - South-Carolina Gazette and Country Journal Slavery 8
South-Carolina Gazette and Country Journal (February 16, 1768).

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Feb 16 - South-Carolina Gazette and Country Journal Slavery 9
South-Carolina Gazette and Country Journal (February 16, 1768).

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Feb 16 - South-Carolina Gazette and Country Journal Supplement Slavery 1
Supplement to the South-Carolina Gazette and Country Journal (February 16, 1768).

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Feb 16 - South-Carolina Gazette and Country Journal Supplement Slavery 2
Supplement to the South-Carolina Gazette and Country Journal (February 16, 1768).

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Feb 16 - South-Carolina Gazette and Country Journal Supplement Slavery 3
Supplement to the South-Carolina Gazette and Country Journal (February 16, 1768).

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Feb 16 - South-Carolina Gazette and Country Journal Supplement Slavery 4
Supplement to the South-Carolina Gazette and Country Journal (February 16, 1768).

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Feb 16 - South-Carolina Gazette and Country Journal Addition Slavery 1
Addition to the South-Carolina Gazette and Country Journal (February 16, 1768).

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Feb 16 - South-Carolina Gazette and Country Journal Addition Slavery 2
Addition to the South-Carolina Gazette and Country Journal (February 16, 1768).

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Feb 16 - South-Carolina Gazette and Country Journal Addition Slavery 3
Addition to the South-Carolina Gazette and Country Journal (February 16, 1768).

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Feb 16 - South-Carolina Gazette and Country Journal Addition Slavery 4
Addition to the South-Carolina Gazette and Country Journal (February 16, 1768).

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Feb 16 - South-Carolina Gazette and Country Journal Addition Slavery 5
Addition to the South-Carolina Gazette and Country Journal (February 16, 1768).