June 24

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

Jun 24 - 6:24:1768 New-Hampshire Gazette
New-Hampshire Gazette (June 24, 1768).

“Shoes, as neat and Strong as ever was made or brought from the famous Shoe Town of Lynn.”

When Samuel Foster, a cobbler, set up shop in Portsmouth, he placed an advertisement in the June 24, 1768, edition of the New-Hampshire Gazette to inform residents that “he has now removed to this Town.” Like many others who advertised consumer goods and services, he stated that he delivered exemplary customer service, promising that “all Persons who favour him with their Custom may depend on being faithfully and punctually served.” Realizing that this fairly common appeal might not provide sufficient cause for readers to employ him, Foster turned to boasting about the quality of his shoes as well as favorably comparing the products of his workshop to shoes made in both Portsmouth and Lynn, Massachusetts.

He commenced with a local comparison, pledging that he made “Mens Shoes, of all Sorts, as neat and Cheap as any Shoe Maker in Town.” Foster introduced himself to his new neighbors with an assertion that this shoes were equal, if not superior, to those produced by any of his competitors in the area. Just in case that was not bold enough, he trumpeted an even more striking claim about the quality of the shoes he made for women. He offered a variety for different tastes – “Womens Silk, Cloth, Calamanco and Leather Shoes” – and proclaimed they were “as neat and Strong as ever was made or brought from the famous Shoe Town of Lynn.” Shoe production began in Lynn in the seventeenth century. By the middle of the eighteenth century the town achieved a reputation for its shoes that extended far beyond New England. Advertisers who ran notices in newspapers printed in New York, Philadelphia, and Charleston sometimes specified that they carried shoes made in Lynn, suggesting that they expected this designation would resonate with prospective customers.

As a newcomer to Portsmouth, Foster needed to establish a new clientele among residents unfamiliar with his work or his reputation. To that end, he made forceful claims about the quality of the shoes produced in his shop, implicitly challenging readers to make purchases and confirm for themselves whether his work merited the accolades he claimed. At the very least, he associated “the famous Shoe Town of Lynn” with his workshop in the minds of potential customers.

Slavery Advertisements Published June 24, 1768

The Slavery Adverts 250 Project chronicles the role of newspaper advertising in perpetuating slavery in the era of the American Revolution. The project seeks to reveal the ubiquity of slavery in eighteenth-century life from New England to Georgia by republishing advertisements for slaves – for sale, wanted to purchase, runaways, captured fugitives – in daily digests on this site as well as in real time via the @SlaveAdverts250 Twitter feed, utilizing twenty-first-century media to stand in for the print media of the eighteenth century.

The project aims to provide modern audiences with a sense of just how often colonists encountered these advertisements in their daily lives. Enslaved men, women, and children appeared in print somewhere in the colonies almost every single day. Those advertisements served as a constant backdrop for social, cultural, economic, and political life in colonial and revolutionary America. Colonists who did not own slaves were still confronted with slavery as well as invited to maintain the system by purchasing slaves or assisting in the capture of runaways. The frequency of these newspaper advertisements suggests just how embedded slavery was in colonial and revolutionary American culture in everyday interactions beyond the printed page.

These advertisements also testify to the experiences of enslaved men, women, and children, though readers must consider that those experiences have been remediated through descriptions offered by slaveholders rather than the slaves themselves. Often unnamed in the advertisements, enslaved men, women, and children were not invisible or unimportant in early America.

These advertisements appeared in colonial American newspapers 250 years ago today.

Jun 24 - New-Hampshire Gazette Slavery 1
New-Hampshire Gazette (June 24, 1768).

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Jun 24 - South-Carolina and American General Gazette Slavery 1
South-Carolina and American General Gazette (June 24, 1768).

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Jun 24 - South-Carolina and American General Gazette Slavery 2
South-Carolina and American General Gazette (June 24, 1768).

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Jun 24 - South-Carolina and American General Gazette Slavery 3
South-Carolina and American General Gazette (June 24, 1768).

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Jun 24 - South-Carolina and American General Gazette Slavery 4
South-Carolina and American General Gazette (June 24, 1768).

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Jun 24 - South-Carolina and American General Gazette Slavery 5
South-Carolina and American General Gazette (June 24, 1768).

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Jun 24 - South-Carolina and American General Gazette Slavery 6
South-Carolina and American General Gazette (June 24, 1768).

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Jun 24 - South-Carolina and American General Gazette Slavery 7
South-Carolina and American General Gazette (June 24, 1768).

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Jun 24 - South-Carolina and American General Gazette Slavery 8
South-Carolina and American General Gazette (June 24, 1768).

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Jun 24 - South-Carolina and American General Gazette Slavery 9
South-Carolina and American General Gazette (June 24, 1768).

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Jun 24 - South-Carolina and American General Gazette Slavery 10
South-Carolina and American General Gazette (June 24, 1768).

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Jun 24 - South-Carolina and American General Gazette Slavery 11
South-Carolina and American General Gazette (June 24, 1768).

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Jun 24 - South-Carolina and American General Gazette Slavery 12
South-Carolina and American General Gazette (June 24, 1768).

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Jun 24 - South-Carolina and American General Gazette Slavery 13
South-Carolina and American General Gazette (June 24, 1768).

June 23

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

Jun 23 - 6:23:1768 New-York Journal
New-York Journal (June 23, 1768).

“Young ladies and growing misses inclined to casts or rises in the hips or shoulders, he likewise prevents.”

Richard Norris, a “Stay-Maker, FROM LONDON,” followed many of the usual conventions in the advertisement he placed in the June 23, 1768, edition of the New-York Journal, but he also included one significant innovation. After informing prospective clients of the variety of stays and other garments he made, he also noted that “Any ladies uneasy in their shapes, he likewise fits without any Incumberances.” Furthermore, “Young ladies and growing misses inclined to casts or rises in the hips or shoulders, he likewise prevents by methods approved of by the society of stay-makers in London.” Staymakers regularly offered implicit commentary about women’s appearances in their advertisements, but Norris explicitly named reasons that women might feel uncomfortable about their bodies. He purposefully attempted to induce anxiety about their physical features among female readers as a means of attracting clients.

He gave priority to that marketing strategy before turning to more common appeals made by staymakers and others in the garment trades. He asserted that he produced apparel as fashionable as any currently worn in London, rather than lagging behind the styles en vogue in the cosmopolitan center of the empire. Prospective patrons could be confident this was the case because Norris “acquires the first fashions of the court of London by a correspondent he has settled there.” Norris realized some sort of research was necessary and cultivated a relationship to make sure he received the most current information about the fashions currently popular among the most influential women in England. In addition, he had previously served prominent women of taste, having “had the honour of working for several ladies of distinction both in England and in this city.” Not only had he made stays and other garments for the elite, his efforts had earned him “universal applause” among his clients.

Like many artisans, Norris emphasized skill and quality in addition to his extensive experience. He pledged that he made garments “after the neatest and best manner,” but in addition to invoking that familiar phrase he proclaimed “his work preferable to any done in these parts for neatness and true fitting.” In other words, Norris considered himself the best staymaker in New York – and encouraged readers of the New-York Journal to adopt that attitude as well.

Norris combined several common appeals with an innovative marketing strategy designed to cause or enhance uneasiness among women by explicitly mentioning various qualities of their bodies. He offered the standard appeals as a remedy to those concerns. Like many modern advertisers, especially advertisers of products intended primarily for women, he attempted to create anxiety among prospective customers and then conveniently provided consumption of his goods and services as the remedy.

Summary of Slavery Advertisements Published June 17-23, 1768

These tables indicate how many advertisements for slaves appeared in colonial American newspapers during the week of June 17-23, 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 June 17-23, 1768:  By Date

Slavery Adverts Tables 1768 By Date Jun 17

 

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Slavery Advertisements Published June 17-23, 1768:  By Region

Slavery Adverts Tables 1768 By Region Jun 17

 

Slavery Advertisements Published June 23, 1768

The Slavery Adverts 250 Project chronicles the role of newspaper advertising in perpetuating slavery in the era of the American Revolution. The project seeks to reveal the ubiquity of slavery in eighteenth-century life from New England to Georgia by republishing advertisements for slaves – for sale, wanted to purchase, runaways, captured fugitives – in daily digests on this site as well as in real time via the @SlaveAdverts250 Twitter feed, utilizing twenty-first-century media to stand in for the print media of the eighteenth century.

The project aims to provide modern audiences with a sense of just how often colonists encountered these advertisements in their daily lives. Enslaved men, women, and children appeared in print somewhere in the colonies almost every single day. Those advertisements served as a constant backdrop for social, cultural, economic, and political life in colonial and revolutionary America. Colonists who did not own slaves were still confronted with slavery as well as invited to maintain the system by purchasing slaves or assisting in the capture of runaways. The frequency of these newspaper advertisements suggests just how embedded slavery was in colonial and revolutionary American culture in everyday interactions beyond the printed page.

These advertisements also testify to the experiences of enslaved men, women, and children, though readers must consider that those experiences have been remediated through descriptions offered by slaveholders rather than the slaves themselves. Often unnamed in the advertisements, enslaved men, women, and children were not invisible or unimportant in early America.

These advertisements appeared in colonial American newspapers 250 years ago today.

Jun 23 - Boston Weekly News-Letter Slavery 1
Boston Weekly News-Letter (June 23, 1768).

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Jun 23 - New-York Journal Supplement Slavery 1
Supplement to the New-York Journal (June 23, 1768).

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Jun 23 - Pennsylvania Gazette Slavery 1
Pennsylvania Gazette (June 23, 1768).

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Jun 23 - Pennsylvania Gazette Slavery 2
Pennsylvania Gazette (June 23, 1768).

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Jun 23 - Pennsylvania Gazette Slavery 3
Pennsylvania Gazette (June 23, 1768).

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Jun 23 - Pennsylvania Gazette Slavery 4
Pennsylvania Gazette (June 23, 1768).

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Jun 23 - Pennsylvania Gazette Supplement Slavery 1
Supplement to the Pennsylvania Gazette (June 23, 1768).

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Jun 23 - Pennsylvania Gazette Supplement Slavery 2
Supplement to the Pennsylvania Gazette (June 23, 1768).

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Jun 23 - Pennsylvania Gazette Supplement Slavery 3
Supplement to the Pennsylvania Gazette (June 23, 1768).

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Jun 23 - Pennsylvania Gazette Supplement Slavery 4
Supplement to the Pennsylvania Gazette (June 23, 1768).

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Jun 23 - Pennsylvania Gazette Supplement Slavery 5
Supplement to the Pennsylvania Gazette (June 23, 1768).

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Jun 23 - Pennsylvania Journal Slavery 1
Pennsylvania Journal (June 23, 1768).

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Jun 23 - Virginia Gazette Purdie and Dixon Slavery 1
Virginia Gazette [Purdie & Dixon] (June 23, 1768).

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Jun 23 - Virginia Gazette Purdie and Dixon Slavery 2
Virginia Gazette [Purdie & Dixon] (June 23, 1768).

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Jun 23 - Virginia Gazette Purdie and Dixon Slavery 3
Virginia Gazette [Purdie & Dixon] (June 23, 1768).

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Jun 23 - Virginia Gazette Purdie and Dixon Slavery 4
Virginia Gazette [Purdie & Dixon] (June 23, 1768).

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Jun 23 - Virginia Gazette Purdie and Dixon Slavery 5
Virginia Gazette [Purdie & Dixon] (June 23, 1768).

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Jun 23 - Virginia Gazette Purdie and Dixon Slavery 6
Virginia Gazette [Purdie & Dixon] (June 23, 1768).

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Jun 23 - Virginia Gazette Purdie and Dixon Slavery 7
Virginia Gazette [Purdie & Dixon] (June 23, 1768).

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Jun 23 - Virginia Gazette Purdie and Dixon Slavery 8
Virginia Gazette [Purdie & Dixon] (June 23, 1768).

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Jun 23 - Virginia Gazette Rind Slavery 1
Virginia Gazette [Rind] (June 23, 1768).

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Jun 23 - Virginia Gazette Rind Slavery 2
Virginia Gazette [Rind] (June 23, 1768).

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Jun 23 - Virginia Gazette Rind Slavery 3
Virginia Gazette [Rind] (June 23, 1768).

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Jun 23 - Virginia Gazette Rind Slavery 4
Virginia Gazette [Rind] (June 23, 1768).

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Jun 23 - Virginia Gazette Rind Slavery 5
Virginia Gazette [Rind] (June 23, 1768).

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Jun 23 - Virginia Gazette Rind Slavery 6
Virginia Gazette [Rind] (June 23, 1768).

June 22

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

Jun 22 - 6:22:1768 Georgia Gazette
Georgia Gazette (June 22, 1768).

“A FEW COPIES of the ACTS of the GENERAL ASSEMBLY passed last session to be sold by the printer of this paper.”

James Johnston squeezed as much content as possible onto the pages of the June 22, 1768, edition of the Georgia Gazette. In addition to news items and paid advertisements, he inserted his own short notices – none more than four lines – at the bottom of columns on the second, third, and fourth pages. In the lengthiest, he sought an apprentice: “WANTED, AN honest, sober and industrious LAD, as an APPRENTICE to the PRINTING BUSINESS. Such a one will meet with good encouragement by applying to the printer of this paper.” In another, he announced, “A FEW COPIES of the ACTS of the GENERAL ASSEMBLY passed last session to be sold by the printer of this paper.” The shortest, an advertisement Johnston inserted frequently, simply stated, “BLANKS of most sorts to be sold at the Printing-Office.” In addition to those notices, the printer incorporated an advertisement into the colophon that appeared on the final page of each issue of the Georgia Gazette: “SAVANNAH: Printed by JAMES JOHNSTON, at the Printing-Office in Broughton-Street, where Advertisements, Letters of Intelligence, and Subscriptions for this Paper, are taken in.—Hand-Bills, Advertisements, &c. printed at the shortest Notice.”

Johnston did not need to insert these advertisements to fill the already densely formatted columns of the June 22 issue. He could have instead inserted more space between advertisements or news items that appeared on the page, a strategy that he sometimes deployed when he fell far short of sufficient content to complete an issue. His need for an apprentice may have been pressing, convincing him to run the longest of his notices in hopes of acquiring more assistance in the day-to-day operations of the printing office as quickly as possible. He may have also considered the shorter notices concerning items for sale urgent for generating revenue. After all, he had not published the Georgia Gazette the previous week, perhaps a symptom of financial difficulties or a potential cause of future disruptions that some additional sales in the printing office might remedy. Whatever the reasons for inserting these short advertisements, Johnston’s decision to do so demonstrates that eighteenth-century printers considered the pages of their newspapers malleable to their own needs. They earned a living and served their communities by publishing news and advertising, but they also tailored the format and contents to accommodate their own interests.

Slavery Advertisements Published June 22, 1768

The Slavery Adverts 250 Project chronicles the role of newspaper advertising in perpetuating slavery in the era of the American Revolution. The project seeks to reveal the ubiquity of slavery in eighteenth-century life from New England to Georgia by republishing advertisements for slaves – for sale, wanted to purchase, runaways, captured fugitives – in daily digests on this site as well as in real time via the @SlaveAdverts250 Twitter feed, utilizing twenty-first-century media to stand in for the print media of the eighteenth century.

The project aims to provide modern audiences with a sense of just how often colonists encountered these advertisements in their daily lives. Enslaved men, women, and children appeared in print somewhere in the colonies almost every single day. Those advertisements served as a constant backdrop for social, cultural, economic, and political life in colonial and revolutionary America. Colonists who did not own slaves were still confronted with slavery as well as invited to maintain the system by purchasing slaves or assisting in the capture of runaways. The frequency of these newspaper advertisements suggests just how embedded slavery was in colonial and revolutionary American culture in everyday interactions beyond the printed page.

These advertisements also testify to the experiences of enslaved men, women, and children, though readers must consider that those experiences have been remediated through descriptions offered by slaveholders rather than the slaves themselves. Often unnamed in the advertisements, enslaved men, women, and children were not invisible or unimportant in early America.

These advertisements appeared in colonial American newspapers 250 years ago today.

Jun 22 - Georgia Gazette Slavery 1
Georgia Gazette (June 22, 1768).

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Jun 22 - Georgia Gazette Slavery 2
Georgia Gazette (June 22, 1768).

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Jun 22 - Georgia Gazette Slavery 3
Georgia Gazette (June 22, 1768).

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Jun 22 - Georgia Gazette Slavery 4
Georgia Gazette (June 22, 1768).

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Jun 22 - Georgia Gazette Slavery 5
Georgia Gazette (June 22, 1768).

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Jun 22 - Georgia Gazette Slavery 8
Georgia Gazette (June 22, 1768).

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Jun 22 - Georgia Gazette Slavery 9
Georgia Gazette (June 22, 1768).

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Jun 22 - Georgia Gazette Slavery 6
Georgia Gazette (June 22, 1768).

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Jun 22 - Georgia Gazette Slavery 7