July 31

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

Jul 31 - 7:31:1767 New-London Gazette
New-London Gazette (July 31, 1767).

“Intending to carry on my former Business …”

Charles Jeffery had been away from New London for a while, having left “to settle sundry Accounts of long standing,” but, “having almost compleated the same,” he was back and ready to resume the business he had allowed to lapse during his absence. To make sure that “all good old Customers” knew of his return, he placed an advertisement in the New-London Gazette.

Jeffery reminded readers of the various branches of the business he formerly pursued: “Butchery,—Baking Loaf and Ship Bread,—Butter Bisket, Tallow-Chandling;—Also brewing SHIP BEER, &c. &c. &c.” He did not elaborate on the goods he offered for sale, neglecting to make any of the common appeals to price or quality. He did, however, make a nod toward the sort of customer service that readers could expect; they could “depend on being used in the neatest and best manner, by their humble Servant.” He aimed this promise directly at “all good old Customers.”

Despite the hiatus in his business, Jeffery anticipated that readers of the New-London Gazette were sufficiently familiar with him and the commodities he sold that he did not need to do much by way of attempting to convince them to resume trading with him. In that regard, his advertisement resorted more to announcing his enterprise instead of marketing it. He did not even seem particularly interested in attracting new customers but rather desired to revive relationships with former associates, those “good old Customers” who made purchases from him in the past.

Jeffery may have felt little need to engage in much marketing, perhaps assuming that he had already achieved prominence and a positive reputation among residents of New London and its hinterland. In addition, he likely faced less competition than his counterparts in larger port cities, like Boston, Charleston, New York, and Philadelphia. Had he temporarily suspended business in any of those locales, he may very well have posted a rather different sort of advertisement when he sought to return to the marketplace.

Slavery Advertisements Published July 31, 1767

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

Jul 31 - New-Hampshire Gazette Slavery 1
New-Hampshire Gazette (July 31, 1767).

**********

Jul 31 - New-Hampshire Gazette Slavery 2
New-Hampshire Gazette (July 31, 1767).

**********

Jul 31 - New-London Gazette Slavery 1
New-London Gazette (July 31, 1767).

**********

Jul 31 - South-Carolina and American General Gazette Slavery 1
South-Carolina and American General Gazette (July 31, 1767).

**********

Jul 31 - South-Carolina and American General Gazette Slavery 2
South-Carolina and American General Gazette (July 31, 1767).

**********

Jul 31 - South-Carolina and American General Gazette Slavery 3
South-Carolina and American General Gazette (July 31, 1767).

**********

Jul 31 - South-Carolina and American General Gazette Slavery 4
South-Carolina and American General Gazette (July 31, 1767).

**********

Jul 31 - South-Carolina and American General Gazette Slavery 5
South-Carolina and American General Gazette (July 31, 1767).

**********

Jul 31 - South-Carolina and American General Gazette Slavery 6
South-Carolina and American General Gazette (July 31, 1767).

**********

Jul 31 - South-Carolina and American General Gazette Slavery 7
South-Carolina and American General Gazette (July 31, 1767).

July 30

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

Jul 30 - 7:30:1767 New-York Journal
New-York Journal (July 30, 1767).

“John Hansen, Of the City of Albany, INTENDING soon for England …”

As part of his preparations in advance of his departure for England, John Hansen placed an advertisement in the New-York Journal calling on “every Person or Persons whatsoever, that have any lawful Demands against him” to visit his house “and receive immediate Payment.” He also wished to settle accounts with “all Persons, who are indebted unto him.”

Such notices were fairly common in the pages of eighteenth-century newspapers, but this one merits attention because of what it reveals about reading habits and the distribution of newspapers as well as networks of commerce in the colonial era. John Hansen did not reside in the urban port where the New-York Journal was printed. Instead, he described himself as “Of the City of Albany,” on the Hudson River approximately 150 miles to the north. Despite the distance, placing a notice in the New-York Journal was advertising in a local newspaper.

Who was the intended audience for Hansen’s advertisement? Quite possibly he did business with residents of Albany and New York as well as places in between. He needed a means of distributing his announcement to as many of them as possible. To that end, Hansen purchased space in the New-York Journal with a reasonable expectation that neighbors and business associates in Albany would see his notice nestled among so many others.

That was the case because local newspapers were not so much local as regional throughout most of the eighteenth century. Americans experienced an explosion in print after the Revolution: newspapers began publication in a far greater number of smaller cities and towns in the 1780s and 1790s. Until then, however, newspaper publication was concentrated in relatively few places, simultaneously serving local residents as well as all those in the vast hinterlands that surrounded the major settlements. John Hansen could place an advertisement in a newspaper printed in New York and expect his neighbors in Albany to read it because some were subscribers themselves or had access to newspapers from faraway places at local taverns, coffeehouses, or the post office (often the shop operated by a printer). In addition to post riders who delivered newspapers, readers encountered copies that passed from hand to hand.

Subscription lists and notices placed by post riders demonstrate the reach of colonial newspapers, but advertisements by colonists like “John Hansen, Of the City of Albany” further illustrate their broad dissemination. In addition, such advertisements suggest that colonists in faraway places read or skimmed entire issues (including advertisement), not solely foreign and domestic news.

Slavery Advertisements Published July 30, 1767

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

Jul 30 - Massachusetts Gazette Slavery 1
Massachusetts Gazette (July 30, 1767).

**********

Jul 30 - Massachusetts Gazette Slavery 2
Massachusetts Gazette (July 30, 1767).

**********

Jul 30 - New-York Gazette Weekly Post-Boy Slavery 1
New-York Gazette: Or, the Weekly Post-Boy (July 30, 1767).

**********

Jul 30 - New-York Journal Salvery 2
New-York Gazette: Or, the Weekly Post-Boy (July 30, 1767).

**********

Jul 30 - New-York Journal Slavery 1
New-York Journal (July 30, 1767).

**********

Jul 30 - Pennsylvania Gazette Slavery 1
Pennsylvania Gazette (July 30, 1767).

**********

Jul 30 - Pennsylvania Gazette Slavery 2
Pennsylvania Gazette (July 30, 1767).

**********

Jul 30 - Pennsylvania Gazette Supplement Slavery 1
Supplement to the Pennsylvania Gazette (July 30, 1767).

**********

Jul 30 - Pennsylvania Gazette Supplement Slavery 2
Supplement to the Pennsylvania Gazette (July 30, 1767).

**********

Jul 30 - Pennsylvania Gazette Supplement Slavery 3
Supplement to the Pennsylvania Gazette (July 30, 1767).

**********

Jul 30 - Pennsylvania Gazette Supplement Slavery 4
Supplement to the Pennsylvania Gazette (July 30, 1767).

**********

Jul 30 - Virginia Gazette Slavery 1
Virginia Gazette (July 30, 1767).

**********

Jul 30 - Virginia Gazette Slavery 2
Virginia Gazette (July 30, 1767).

**********

Jul 30 - Virginia Gazette Slavery 3
Virginia Gazette (July 30, 1767).

**********

Jul 30 - Virginia Gazette Slavery 5
Virginia Gazette (July 30, 1767).

**********

Jul 30 - Virginia Gazette Slavery 6
Virginia Gazette (July 30, 1767).

**********

Jul 30 - Virginia Gazette Slavery 7
Virginia Gazette (July 30, 1767).

**********

Jul 30 - Virginia Gazette Slavery 8
Virginia Gazette (July 30, 1767).

**********

Jul 30 - Virginia Gazette Slavery Slavery 4
Virginia Gazette (July 30, 1767).

July 29

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

Jul 29 - 7:29:1767 Georgia Gazette
Georgia Gazette (July 29, 1767).

“To be leased for Twelve Months, THE PLANTATION and HOUSE.”

John Graham and John Oates offered a lease on Smithfield, the plantation and house of the deceased William Smith. James Johnston, the printer of the Georgia Gazette, gave their notice space in his newspaper, but he also used it to serve his own needs (beyond collecting the advertising fees). Johnston needed to fill out the first page of the July 29, 1767, edition of the Georgia Gazette; this advertisement was just the right length to do so (though several others in the same issue would have fit the bill and could have been inserted interchangeably in the same spot).

Unlike many colonial newspapers that clustered advertising on one or two pages, paid advertisements appeared on every page of this issue of the Georgia Gazette. The notice concerning Smithfield was the sole advertisement on the first page, filling the small space left by a satirical political essay on what was “RIGHT, WRONG, and REASONABLE, with regard to America” from the British perspective, a sarcastic list of lamentations that anticipated many of the grievances against George III eventually included in the Declaration of Independence. The second page included a letter reprinted from the London Chronicle as well as extensive news from New York and shorter updates from Newport, Rhode Island; Charleston, South Carolina; and several Caribbean colonies. Two advertisements – one concerning stray horses and the other seeking “a QUANTITY of GOOD BEES-WAX” – completed the page. Local news occupied the third page. Given that advertisements appeared at the top of the first column, the printer likely left space in anticipation of including additional news from across the Atlantic and from other colonies, continuing from the previous page, but ran out of content. An extended legal notice took up one of the two columns on the final page; advertisements, including two final advertisements placed by the printer, accounted for the remainder.

Printers and compositors valued advertising not only because of the additional revenue generated. Advertising yielded content of varying lengths that could be manipulated to complete the pages of a newspaper when news items were not available. To that end, the Georgia Gazette incorporated advertising throughout the July 29 issue, even inserting two notices from the printer in order to fill the space.

Summary of Slavery Advertisements Published July 23-29, 1767

These tables indicate how many advertisements for slaves appeared in colonial American newspapers during the week of July 23-29, 1767.

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).

**********

Slavery Advertisements Published July 23-29, 1767:  By Date

Slavery Adverts Tables 1767 By Date Jul 23

**********

Slavery Advertisements Published July 23-29, 1767:  By Region

Slavery Adverts Tables 1767 By Region Jul 23

Slavery Advertisements Published July 29, 1767

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

Jul 29 - Georgia Gazette Slavery 1
Georgia Gazette (July 29, 1767).

**********

Jul 29 - Georgia Gazette Slavery 2
Georgia Gazette (July 29, 1767).

**********

Jul 29 - Georgia Gazette Slavery 3
Georgia Gazette (July 29, 1767).

**********

Jul 29 - Georgia Gazette Slavery 4
Georgia Gazette (July 29, 1767).

**********

Jul 29 - Georgia Gazette Slavery 5
Georgia Gazette (July 29, 1767).

**********

Jul 29 - Georgia Gazette Slavery 6
Georgia Gazette (July 29, 1767).