June 30

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

Jun 30 - 6:30:1768 Virginia Gazette Rind
Virginia Gazette [Rind] (June 30, 1768).
“THE VIRGINIA ALMANACK, AND LADIES DIARY, For the Year of our Lord 1769.”

William Rind got a jump on the market for almanacs for 1769, publishing The Virginia Almanack, and Ladies Diary, for the Year of Our Lord 1769 in June of 1768. He began advertising the almanac more than six months before the new year commenced, deviating significantly from the practices of most printers who published almanacs. Usually advertisements for almanacs began appearing in September and October, often announcing plans for publishing specific titles and promising that they would go to press soon. Such advertisements attempted to incite demand for products that were not yet available for purchase, seeking to predispose customers to specific titles long before they needed to acquire an almanac for the coming year. Advertisements announcing that almanacs had indeed been published and calling on customers to obtain their copies usually began appearing in November and December, increasing in number and frequency as January approached. Some of those advertisements continued after the first of the year as printers sought to relieve themselves of surplus copies, but they steadily tapered off. Most disappeared by the middle of February, though some advertisements continued to pop up at irregular intervals. The day before Rind promoted the Virginia Almanack in the Virginia Gazette, Charles Crouch inserted a brief advertisement in his South-Carolina Gazette and Country Journal that simply announced, “BALL’s ALMANACKS for the Year 1768, to be sold by the Printer.” Attempts to sell leftover almanacs for the current year continued even as the earliest of advertisements marketed almanacs for the coming year.

Rind realized that the end of June 1768 was indeed early for distributing an almanac for 1769. Accordingly, his advertisement did not include the usual information about the accuracy of the astronomical calculations or other aspects of the calendar specific to certain days or months. Instead, he focused on the “Variety of improving and entertaining Particulars” contained within the almanac, contents that could be consulted and enjoyed no matter the season or year. These included “Enigmas, Acrosticks, Rebusses, Queries, Paradoxes, … [and] Mathematical Questions” that were “Designed for the Instruction, Use and Diversion of BOTH SEXES.” Rind also listed “Nosegays of Flowers” and “Plates of Fruit.” Although these could have refered to illustrations, the American Antiquarian Society’s entry for the Virginia Almanack indicates that “[t]he Anatomy … is the only illustration.” Rind likely meant “Nosegays of Flowers” and “Plates of Fruit” figuratively, evoking the pleasures to be derived from perusing the many and varied contents of the almanac. Considering the schedule followed by most other printers, it was indeed early for publishing and advertising an almanac, but Rind adjusted his marketing to compensate and perhaps even generate greater demand than if he had waited until the fall.

Slavery Advertisements Published June 30, 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 30 - Boston Weekly News-Letter Postscript Slavery 1
Postscript to the Boston Weekly News-Letter (June 30, 1768).

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Jun 30 - Massachusetts Gazette Draper Slavery 1
Massachusetts Gazette [Draper] (June 30, 1768).

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Jun 30 - New-York Journal Slavery 1
New-York Journal (June 30, 1768).

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Jun 30 - New-York Journal Slavery 2
New-York Journal (June 30, 1768).

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Jun 30 - New-York Journal Supplement Slavery 1
Supplement to the New-York Journal (June 30, 1768).

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Jun 30 - Pennsylvania Gazette Slavery 1
Pennsylvania Gazette (June 30, 1768).

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Jun 30 - Pennsylvania Gazette Slavery 2
Pennsylvania Gazette (June 30, 1768).

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Jun 30 - Pennsylvania Gazette Slavery 3
Pennsylvania Gazette (June 30, 1768).

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Jun 30 - Pennsylvania Gazette Slavery 4
Pennsylvania Gazette (June 30, 1768).

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Jun 30 - Pennsylvania Gazette Supplement Slavery 1
Supplement to the Pennsylvania Gazette (June 30, 1768).

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Jun 30 - Pennsylvania Gazette Supplement Slavery 2
Supplement to the Pennsylvania Gazette (June 30, 1768).

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Jun 30 - Pennsylvania Gazette Supplement Slavery 3
Supplement to the Pennsylvania Gazette (June 30, 1768).

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Jun 30 - Pennsylvania Gazette Supplement Slavery 4
Supplement to the Pennsylvania Gazette (June 30, 1768).

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Jun 30 - Pennsylvania Journal Slavery 1
Pennsylvania Journal (June 30, 1768).

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Jun 30 - Virginia Gazette Purdie and Dixon Slavery 1
Virginia Gazette [Purdie & Dixon] (June 30, 1768).

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Jun 30 - Virginia Gazette Purdie and Dixon Slavery 2
Virginia Gazette [Purdie & Dixon] (June 30, 1768).

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Jun 30 - Virginia Gazette Purdie and Dixon Slavery 3
Virginia Gazette [Purdie & Dixon] (June 30, 1768).

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Jun 30 - Virginia Gazette Purdie and Dixon Slavery 4
Virginia Gazette [Purdie & Dixon] (June 30, 1768).

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Jun 30 - Virginia Gazette Purdie and Dixon Slavery 5
Virginia Gazette [Purdie & Dixon] (June 30, 1768).

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Jun 30 - Virginia Gazette Purdie and Dixon Slavery 6
Virginia Gazette [Purdie & Dixon] (June 30, 1768).

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Jun 30 - Virginia Gazette Purdie and Dixon Slavery 7
Virginia Gazette [Purdie & Dixon] (June 30, 1768).

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Jun 30 - Virginia Gazette Purdie and Dixon Slavery 8
Virginia Gazette [Purdie & Dixon] (June 30, 1768).

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Jun 30 - Virginia Gazette Purdie and Dixon Slavery 9
Virginia Gazette [Purdie & Dixon] (June 30, 1768).

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Jun 30 - Virginia Gazette Purdie and Dixon Slavery 10
Virginia Gazette [Purdie & Dixon] (June 30, 1768).

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Jun 30 - Virginia Gazette Purdie and Dixon Slavery 11
Virginia Gazette [Purdie & Dixon] (June 30, 1768).

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Jun 30 - Virginia Gazette Rind Slavery 1
Virginia Gazette [Rind] (June 30, 1768).

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Jun 30 - Virginia Gazette Rind Slavery 2
Virginia Gazette [Rind] (June 30, 1768).

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Jun 30 - Virginia Gazette Rind Slavery 3
Virginia Gazette [Rind] (June 30, 1768).

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Jun 30 - Virginia Gazette Rind Slavery 4
Virginia Gazette [Rind] (June 30, 1768).

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Jun 30 - Virginia Gazette Rind Slavery 5
Virginia Gazette [Rind] (June 30, 1768).

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Jun 30 - Virginia Gazette Rind Slavery 6
Virginia Gazette [Rind] (June 30, 1768).

June 29

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

Jun 29 - 6:29:1768 Georgia Gazette
Georgia Gazette (June 29, 1768).

“Has just imported for Sale from LONDON, By the CHARMING SALLY, Capt. RAINIER.”

To inform residents of Savannah and the rest of the colony that he now stocked “AN ASSORTTMENT of MEDICINES, and sundry other Articles,” Lewis Johnson placed an extensive advertisement in the June 29, 1768, edition of the Georgia Gazette. In it, Johnson listed everything from “Peruvian bark” to “West India castor oil” to “Spirit of lavender.” In addition to ingredients for compounding remedies, Johnson also carried several popular patent medicines, including “Bateman’s drops,” “Godfrey’s cordial,” “Turlington’s balsam,” and “Anderson’s pills.”

Johnson must have rushed his advertisement to press, though he may have written the copy in advance of receiving a new shipment of merchandise. Before listing his wares, he informed prospective customers that he “Has just imported for Sale from LONDON, By the CHARMING SALLY, Capt. RAINIER,” the dozens of items he enumerated. Johnson’s advertisement filled most of a column on the second page. The facing page featured a variety of advertisements and news items, including the shipping news for the previous week. Among the arrivals and departures at the port, on June 28 the “Ship Charming Sally, Peter Rainier” had ENTERED INWARDS at the CUSTOM-HOUSE” from London. The vessel that carried Johnson’s new inventory arrived the day before his advertisement ran in the Georgia Gazette. The shipping news that appeared elsewhere in the newspaper bolstered his assertion that he carried fresh goods rather than leftovers that had sat on shelves or in storage. This also suggests one manner in which readers engaged with newspapers; Johnson may have expected readers to move back and forth between news items and his advertisement to tell a more complete story.

The copy of this issue of the Georgia Gazette that has been preserved, photographed, and digitized provides other evidence about how some readers used newspapers. Four of the items in the left column have small checkmarks next to them. Why? This was not an indication for the printer or compositor to remove those items in subsequent insertions. All four appear throughout the entire run of Johnson’s advertisement. Instead, someone took note of those items in particular. Perhaps a prospective customer used the advertisement to make a shopping list. Perhaps a competitor marked items of interest. We will probably never know what those checkmarks signified, but they do testify that the advertisement garnered notice. It was not merely published and overlooked by readers of the Georgia Gazette.

Slavery Advertisements Published June 29, 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 29 - Georgia Gazette Slavery 1
Georgia Gazette (June 29, 1768).

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Jun 29 - Georgia Gazette Slavery 2
Georgia Gazette (June 29, 1768).

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Jun 29 - Georgia Gazette Slavery 3
Georgia Gazette (June 29, 1768).

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Jun 29 - Georgia Gazette Slavery 4
Georgia Gazette (June 29, 1768).

June 28

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

Jun 28 - 6:28:1768 South-Carolina Gazette and Country Journal
South-Carolina Gazette and Country Journal (June 28, 1768).

“TO BE SOLD, EXCEEDING good Rhenish WINE, in BOTTLES.”

The proportion of news to advertising varied among eighteenth-century newspapers. Some carried relatively few advertisements, but others, especially those published in the largest port cities, often devoted significant portions of each issue to advertising. Many of those seemed to strike a balance between the two types of content, designating two of the four pages of a standard issue to each. Some, however, received so much advertising that they regularly issued two-page supplements comprised solely of advertising. Such was the case for the Pennsylvania Gazette in the late 1760s. In such instances, advertising accounted for two-thirds of the content delivered to readers, which helps to explain why many printers considered advertisements rather than subscriptions better for generating revenues. Some printers acknowledged this by including “Advertiser” in the title of the newspaper. The masthead of the Boston Post-Boy, for instance, read “The Boston Post-Boy & Advertiser.”

Charles Crouch’s South-Carolina Gazette and Country Journal ran more advertising than most other American newspapers in the late 1760s. Indeed, advertising sometimes seemed to crowd out other content, especially news. For instance, consider the four-page standard issue and the two-page supplement distributed on June 28, 1768. Not surprisingly, the supplement consisted entirely of advertisements, except for the masthead. With twelve woodcuts of horses, houses, slaves, and even a mirror on a stand for “WEYMAN’s Looking-Glass Shop” distributed across two pages, this advertising supplement featured far more images to break up the otherwise dense text than appeared in the vast majority of newspaper during the period.

Advertising also comprised most of the standard issue. Except for a proclamation by the lieutenant governor that filled one-third of a column on the third page, the final two pages consisted entirely of advertising. Advertisements filled the entire first column on the first page. In other words, seven of twelve columns in the regular issue (in addition to all six columns in the supplement) delivered advertising to readers. The remainder of the issue was rather short on news. After eliminating poetry and amusing anecdotes, just a little more than two columns featured news and editorials, including “DEFENCE of the AMERICANS,” reprinted “From the Gentleman’s Magazine, for January 1768.”

In this case, Crouch’s publication operated as an advertiser rather than as a newspaper. While it is extremely difficult to determine what readers thought about the advertisements delivered to them in newspapers of all sorts, this balance of news and advertising suggests that at least some readers expected and desired to read advertisements. Perhaps more significantly, the collective decision of advertisers to continue placing notices in publications that provided as much (if not more) advertising as news suggests that advertisers felt confident that readers would indeed peruse their notices. Although they did not engage in market research as we understand it today, anecdotal evidence likely suggested that newspaper advertising achieved some positive return on their investment.

Slavery Advertisements Published June 28, 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 28 - South-Carolina Gazette and Country Journal Slavery 1
South-Carolina Gazette and Country Journal (June 28, 1768).

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Jun 28 - South-Carolina Gazette and Country Journal Slavery 2
South-Carolina Gazette and Country Journal (June 28, 1768).

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Jun 28 - South-Carolina Gazette and Country Journal Slavery 3
South-Carolina Gazette and Country Journal (June 28, 1768).

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Jun 28 - South-Carolina Gazette and Country Journal Slavery 4
South-Carolina Gazette and Country Journal (June 28, 1768).

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Jun 28 - South-Carolina Gazette and Country Journal Slavery 5
South-Carolina Gazette and Country Journal (June 28, 1768).

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Jun 28 - South-Carolina Gazette and Country Journal Slavery 6
South-Carolina Gazette and Country Journal (June 28, 1768).

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Jun 28 - South-Carolina Gazette and Country Journal Slavery 7
South-Carolina Gazette and Country Journal (June 28, 1768).

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Jun 28 - South-Carolina Gazette and Country Journal Slavery 8
South-Carolina Gazette and Country Journal (June 28, 1768).

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Jun 28 - South-Carolina Gazette and Country Journal Slavery 9
South-Carolina Gazette and Country Journal (June 28, 1768).

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Jun 28 - South-Carolina Gazette and Country Journal Slavery 10
South-Carolina Gazette and Country Journal (June 28, 1768).

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Jun 28 - South-Carolina Gazette and Country Journal Slavery 11
South-Carolina Gazette and Country Journal (June 28, 1768).

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Jun 28 - South-Carolina Gazette and Country Journal Slavery 12
South-Carolina Gazette and Country Journal (June 28, 1768).

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Jun 28 - South-Carolina Gazette and Country Journal Slavery 13
South-Carolina Gazette and Country Journal (June 28, 1768).

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Jun 28 - South-Carolina Gazette and Country Journal Slavery 14
South-Carolina Gazette and Country Journal (June 28, 1768).

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Jun 28 - South-Carolina Gazette and Country Journal Slavery 15
South-Carolina Gazette and Country Journal (June 28, 1768).

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Jun 28 - South-Carolina Gazette and Country Journal Supplement Slavery 1
Supplement to the South-Carolina Gazette and Country Journal (June 28, 1768).

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Jun 28 - South-Carolina Gazette and Country Journal Supplement Slavery 2
Supplement to the South-Carolina Gazette and Country Journal (June 28, 1768).

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Jun 28 - South-Carolina Gazette and Country Journal Supplement Slavery 3
Supplement to the South-Carolina Gazette and Country Journal (June 28, 1768).

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Jun 28 - South-Carolina Gazette and Country Journal Supplement Slavery 4
Supplement to the South-Carolina Gazette and Country Journal (June 28, 1768).

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Jun 28 - South-Carolina Gazette and Country Journal Supplement Slavery 5
Supplement to the South-Carolina Gazette and Country Journal (June 28, 1768).

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Jun 28 - South-Carolina Gazette and Country Journal Supplement Slavery 6
Supplement to the South-Carolina Gazette and Country Journal (June 28, 1768).

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Jun 28 - South-Carolina Gazette and Country Journal Supplement Slavery 7
Supplement to the South-Carolina Gazette and Country Journal (June 28, 1768).

June 27

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

Jun 27 - New-York Gazette Weekly Mercury
New-York Gazette and Weekly Mercury (June 27, 1768).

“RUN-away from the subscriber at Hosack, near Albany, an indented Irish servant Man.”

The second and third pages (or the two center pages of a broadsheet folded in half to create the standard four-page issue) of the June 27, 1768, edition of the New-York Gazette and Weekly Mercury included more than just the usual three columns. The compositor created a very thin fourth column by rotating the type ninety degrees; this allowed for the insertion of three additional advertisements in the outside margins that otherwise would not have fit on the page. Two of those advertisements appeared on the second page. John Duncan and Thomas Peeles placed a notice calling on those indebted “to the estate of John Knox, of the town of Schenectady, and county of Albany” to settle accounts. Collin McDonald “of the manor of Livingston, and county of Albany” inserted a notice warning others against trusting his wife, Catherine. She had “eloped from his bed,” causing him to “forewarn all persons not to trust or harbour her on my account, as I will pay no debts contracted by her.” A single advertisement occupied the additional column on the third page. In it, John Macomb, “at Hosack, near Albany,” described James McKinzie, a runaway indentured servant. Given that all three of these advertisements came from Albany and none of them previously appeared in the New-York Gazette and Weekly Mercury, they likely all arrived at the same time via the same post carrier or messenger, after the type for the rest of the issue had been set but not before it went to press. The printer and compositor may have had a brief window of opportunity to work these advertisements into the June 27 issue rather than wait a week to publish them.

The placement of these advertisements was certainly out of the ordinary for the New-York Gazette and Weekly Mercury, but it was not altogether uncommon in newspapers published in the American colonies during the eighteenth century. Printers and compositors sometimes made space for short advertisements in the side margins or across the bottom of the page, but usually only when special circumstances required. This aspect of American newspaper production and format differs significantly from standard practices in Dutch newspapers in the 1760s, as I learned from during a panel on “Newspapers and Information Management in the Atlantic World” at the 24th annual conference sponsored by the Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture held earlier this month. In her paper on “Dutch Newspaper Coverage of the Berbice Slave Revolit, 1763,” Esther Baakman (Leiden University) presented images of the newspapers she consulted. In terms of graphic design, they featured two columns for news and a third column for advertising. The column for advertising was slightly narrower than the other two and rotated ninety degrees. What amounted to an occasional strategy for inserting additional advertisements in American newspapers was a design feature intended to aid readers in distinguishing among content in Dutch newspapers in the middle of the eighteenth century.