June 25

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

Jun 25 - 6:25:1766 Georgia Gazette
Georgia Gazette (June 25, 1766).

“The surviving Copartners of Alexande Fyffe and Co. Give this Publick Notice.”

“NOTWITHSTANDING the repeated notice the subscribers have from time to time given.”

DANIEL OCAIN in Savannah, HATH opened a house of entertainment.”

This page of the Georgia Gazette has a rather curious layout. Four of the advertisements have been rotated to run perpendicular to the others printed on the page. I previously encountered something similar in the New-Hampshire Gazette. I hypothesized that it might be an attempt to used layout innovatively to draw attention to the advertisements, but upon consulting original copies (rather than digitized surrogates) of the New-Hampshire Gazette I discovered that the paper supply had been disrupted temporarily. The newspaper had been printed on smaller sheets, which prompted the printer to rotate some of the advertisements already set in type as a strategy for squeezing in as many as possible on a smaller page.

I wondered if that might be the case in this instance. I consulted the original issue of the Georgia Gazette in the collections of the American Antiquarian Society, but I encountered something rather different this time around. In addition to the usual broadsheet folded in half to create a four-page issue, the printer also distributed an additional quarter sheet with advertisements printed on one side only. Fairly regularly in the eighteenth century an additional half sheet (printed on both sides) accompanied the four-page broadsheet newspaper, especially in urban ports with well-established presses and periodical publications. This quarter page advertising supplement, however, was quite unique. I have not previously encountered others like it.

Jun 25 - Quarter Sheet
Quarter sheet advertising supplement accompanying the Georgia Gazette (June 25, 1766).  American Antiquarian Society.

Why did the printer of the Georgia Gazette do this? It was not uncommon for printers to insert messages alerting readers (and presumably the advertisers themselves) that advertisement excluded in the current issue would be printed in the next. Why not do that in this instance? Was there such a backlog of advertising that the printer needed to publish these as soon as possible in order to satisfy readers and advertisers alike? Or was there another explanation for this curious quarter sheet?

Leave a Reply