October 31

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

Oct 31 - 10:31:1768 New-York Gazette Weekly Mercury
New-York Gazette and Weekly Mercury (October 31, 1768).

“The above patent Medicines from the original Warehouses in London, and warranted genuine.”

In the fall of 1768 Thomas Brownjohn advertised “a large Assortment of DRUGS & MEDICINES” available at “his Medicinal Store, in Hanover-Square” in New York. He provided a list of many of the items in his inventory, confident that prospective customers were already familiar with the symptoms each of the remedies supposedly cured. Most goods had not yet been differentiated into brands in the eighteenth century, but patent medicines were an exception. They carried names readily recognized on both sides of the Atlantic, including “Bateman’s Drops, Godfrey’s Cordial, Stoughton’s and Squires Grand Elixir, Turlington’s Balsam of Life, Doctor Radcliff’s famous purging Elixir, … Doctor Walkers Jesuit Drops, … [and] Hooper’s Anderson’s, and Locker’s Pills.” The same names appeared in advertisements placed by apothecaries from New England to Georgia.

These nostrums were widely known but not necessarily well regulated. Consumers also knew that counterfeits regularly entered the market. To address the skepticism of potential customers, Brownjohn reported that “The above patent Medicines [came] from the original Warehouses in London.” Furthermore, he pledged that they were “warranted genuine.” Turlington’s Balsam of Life was indeed Turlington’s Balsam of Life. In that case, however, customers did not have to rely solely on Brownjohn’s promises. They could also examine the packaging. John Styles notes that Turlington attempted to ward off counterfeits by rotating through “rectangular, violin and tablet shaped bottles.” In addition, those bottles “were identifiable not simply because of their shapes, but also because almost every surface was heavily embossed with letters of images.” Furthermore, “the bottles were sold with an accompanying printed bill of directions” that “illustrated the current shape of the bottle and listed the embossed information.”[1] Other patent medicine makers also deployed unique packaging in the eighteenth century. Although Brownjohn did not mention any of these additional means of confirming the authenticity of the patent medicines he sold, other retailers sometimes did so. Brownjohn may have considered it unnecessary if consumers possessed widespread familiarity not only with the products but also with the packaging when it came to patent medicines.

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[1] John Styles, “Product Innovation in Early Modern London,” Past & Present 168 (August 2000): 153-156.

Slavery Advertisements Published October 31, 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.

During the week of October 28 to November 3, 2018, the Slavery Adverts 250 Project is guest curated by Shannon Holleran (2019), a History major at Assumption College in Worcester, Massachusetts.

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

Oct 31 - Boston Evening-Post Slavery 1
Boston Evening-Post (October 31, 1768).

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Oct 31 - Boston Evening-Post Slavery 2
Boston Evening-Post (October 31, 1768).

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Oct 31 - Boston-Gazette Slavery 1
Boston-Gazette (October 31, 1768).

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Oct 31 - Boston-Gazette Slavery 2
Boston-Gazette (October 31, 1768).

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Oct 31 - Boston-Gazette Slavery 3
Boston-Gazette (October 31, 1768).

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Oct 31 - New-York Gazette Weekly Mercury Slavery 1
New-York Gazette and Weekly Mercury (October 31, 1768).

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Oct 31 - New-York Gazette Weekly Mercury Supplement Slavery 1
Supplement to the New-York Gazette and Weekly Mercury (October 31, 1768).

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Oct 31 - New-York Gazette Weekly Mercury Supplement Slavery 2
Supplement to the New-York Gazette and Weekly Mercury (October 31, 1768).

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Oct 31 - New-York Gazette Weekly Post-Boy Slavery 1
New-York Gazette: Or, the Weekly Post-Boy (October 31, 1768).

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Oct 31 - New-York Gazette Weekly Post-Boy Slavery 2
New-York Gazette: Or, the Weekly Post-Boy (October 31, 1768).

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Oct 31 - Newport Mercury Slavery 1
Newport Mercury (October 31, 1768).

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Oct 31 - South-Carolina Gazette Slavery 1
South-Carolina Gazette (October 31, 1768).

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Oct 31 - South-Carolina Gazette Slavery 2
South-Carolina Gazette (October 31, 1768).

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Oct 31 - South-Carolina Gazette Slavery 3
South-Carolina Gazette (October 31, 1768).

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Oct 31 - South-Carolina Gazette Slavery 4
South-Carolina Gazette (October 31, 1768).

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Oct 31 - South-Carolina Gazette Slavery 5
South-Carolina Gazette (October 31, 1768).

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Oct 31 - South-Carolina Gazette Slavery 6
South-Carolina Gazette (October 31, 1768).

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Oct 31 - South-Carolina Gazette Slavery 7
South-Carolina Gazette (October 31, 1768).

October 30

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

Oct 30 - 10:27:1768 New-York Journal
Supplement to the New-York Journal (October 27, 1768).

“SUPPLEMENT to the NEW-YORK JOURNAL OR GENERAL ADVERTISER.”

John Holt’s newspaper lived up to the full name that appeared in the masthead: “THE NEW-YORK JOURNAL; OR, THE GENERAL ADVERTISER.” In many instances, Holt’s newspaper might better have been called an advertiser because it carried significantly more paid notices than news content.

Consider, for example, the October 27, 1768, edition. It consisted of the standard four-page issue created by printing two pages on each side of a broadsheet and then folding it in half. Each page featured three columns. In addition, Holt distributed a four-page “SUPPLEMENT to the NEW-YORK JOURNAL OR GENERAL ADVERTISER.” Printed on a smaller sheet, each page had two columns of text the same width as those in the regular issue as well as a third column of text rotated such that it appeared perpendicular to the rest. The sheet was not wide enough to accommodate three columns, so the compositor devised a creative means of inserting advertisements using type already set for previous issues.

In the regular issue, advertising filled a significant amount of space: five of the twelve columns. News and other content, such as a table of the tides and a poet’s corner, accounted for the remaining columns. Advertising comprised an even greater proportion of the supplement. Only two columns of news appeared in it.

Those advertisements helped to sustain the New-York Journal. Like most eighteenth-century newspapers, its viability depended in large part on the revenues generated from advertising. Unlike most newspapers of the era, it listed the fees for advertisement in the colophon. “Advertisements of no more Length than Breadth,” Holt specified, “are inserted for Five Shillings, four Weeks, and One Shilling for each Week after.” A great many advertisements happened to be longer than they were wide. In such instances, Holt charged “in the same Proportion” for “larger Advertisements.” Peter T. Curtenius’s advertisement, twice as long as it was wide, would have cost ten shillings to set the type and run for four weeks and an additional two shillings for each additional insertion.

Not all colonial newspapers contained as many advertisements as the New-York Journal, but most did devote at least one-quarter of their space – and often much, much more – to paid notices. In that regard, newspapers were delivery mechanisms for advertising as much as for news, even in an era predating the rise of Madison Avenue and the modern advertising industry.

October 29

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

Oct 29 - 10:29:1768 Providence Gazette
Providence Gazette (October 29, 1768).

Weatherwise’s ALMANACK, For the Year 1769, To be Sold by the Printers hereof.”

During the fall of 1768 printers throughout the colonies participated in an annual ritual: advertising new almanacs for the coming year. Sarah Goddard and John Carter, the printers of the Providence Gazette, got an early start that year. They first advertised Abraham Weatherwise’s “N. England Town and Country Almanack” at the end of August. That advertisement extended nearly three-quarters of a column and advanced several appeals to prospective customers.

It ran for just two weeks before Goddard and Carter replaced it with a different advertisement of a similar length. This one focused on various aspects of the contents, including “a beautiful poetical Essay on Public Spirit, wrote by an American Patriot,” “a Table of Roads,” and “Bearings of different Places from the Rhode-Island Light-House, with Directions for entering the Port of New-London, very serviceable to Navigators, more particularly to those unacquainted with the Coast.” The notice concluded with some comments on its brisk sales so far: “The first Impression of Weaterwise’s Almanack, through the Encouragement of the Public, having met with a Sale far exceeding the Printers most sanguine Expectations, they were nearly all disposed of before several large Orders from our Country Friends came to Hand; but as another Edition will be published on Monday, they may depend on having their Orders immediately completed.” The following week Goddard and Carter updated that advertisement, eliminating the final paragraph and adding a bold new headline proclaiming that they had “Just PUBLISHED” a “SECOND EDITION.” Weatherwise’s almanac was popular, or so the printers wanted it to seem.

Over the next several weeks Goddard and Carter irregularly inserted that advertisement. It appeared in some issues, but not in others. Perhaps other content sometimes crowded out the lengthy notice. At the end of October, the printers shifted to yet another advertisement, this time resorting to a notice of only three lines: “Weatherwise’s ALMANACK, / For the Year 1769, / To be Sold by the Printers hereof.” Like other short advertisements place by printers, this one likely served two purposes. It complete a column that otherwise did not have sufficient content while also promoting a product that generated revenues beyond the newspaper’s subscription and advertising fees. Goddard and Carter had already committed significant space to marketing the almanac to readers of the Providence Gazette. This brief advertisement reminded prospective customers who had not yet purchased copies of their availability without occupying as much space as other notices had in previous issues.

October 28

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

Oct 28 - 10:28:1768 New-Hampshire Gazette
New-Hampshire Gazette (October 28, 1768).

“A very likely, healthy Negro BOY, about 17 Years of Age, to be Sold.”

A brief advertisement in the October 28, 1768, edition of the New-Hampshire Gazette advised readers of “A very likely, healthy Negro BOY, about 17 Years of Age, to be Sold.” The notice did not provide any additional information about the enslaved youth or the seller; instead, it instructed interested parties to “Enquire of the Printers.”

Readers of the New-Hampshire Gazette would not have considered such an advertisement particularly remarkable. Although they did not appear in the same numbers as in newspapers published in Boston, advertisements concerning enslaved people were inserted in New Hampshire’s only newspaper regularly. This particular advertisement was more likely to attract attention for its format rather than its content. With the exception of the masthead on the first page and the colophon on the final page, the rest of the content was organized into three columns on each page. The masthead, colophon, and this advertisement for a “Negro BOY,” however spanned all three columns. The advertisement ran across the bottom of the third page, a position that distinguished it from news and other paid notices.

Did this format make the advertisement more effective? It is impossible to say for certain, but it is also worth noting that it ran for only one week. Newspaper printers who listed their rates for advertising typically indicated a flat fee for setting the type and inserting an advertisement for three or four weeks as well as additional fees for each additional week the notice ran. Unless they struck a special deal, the printers and advertiser would have expected this advertisement for an enslaved youth to appear in at least three consecutive issues of the New-Hampshire Gazette. That it was discontinued after its initial appearance suggests that someone did indeed purchase the “healthy Negro BOY,” prompting the anonymous advertiser to cancel further insertions.

This does not conclusively demonstrate the success of the advertisement, but it does strongly suggest an active marketplace for buying and selling enslaved people in New Hampshire. At the very least, the advertisement testifies to the presence of slaves in the colony, a familiar sight both in public and in the public prints.

Slavery Advertisements Published October 28, 1763

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.

During the week of October 28 to November 3, 2018, the Slavery Adverts 250 Project is guest curated by Shannon Holleran (2019), a History major at Assumption College in Worcester, Massachusetts.

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

Oct 28 - New-Hampshire Gazette Slavery 1
New-Hampshire Gazette (October 28, 1768).

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Oct 28 - New-London Gazette Slavery 1
New-London Gazette (October 28, 1768).

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Oct 28 - New-London Gazette Slavery 2
New-London Gazette (October 28, 1768).

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Oct 28 - New-London Gazette Slavery 3
New-London Gazette (October 28, 1768).

October 27

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

Oct 27 - 10:27:1768 New-York Journal
New-York Journal (October 27, 1768).

“A grand set of Fire-works.”

The proprietors of Ranelagh Garden advertised leisure activities, especially fireworks displays, to colonists in New York and the surrounding area throughout the spring, summer, and fall of 1768. As October drew to a close, they announced plans for “a grand Set of Fire-Works” for “the last Time for the Season.” The proprietors planned to go out with a bang, literally, by presenting a program that included “a Variety of Pieces, several of them in an intire new and elegant Taste.” The “Pieces” did not consist primarily of projectiles launched into the air and visible from some distance. Instead, they amounted to an ornamental design created by igniting devices filled with gunpowder and other combustible chemicals.

The show took place in four stages, each with a display even grander the previous. Indeed, the descriptions of the “FIRST FIRING” through the “FOURTH FIRING” became increasingly elaborate. The first, for instance, presented a “beautiful Cascade of different Fires,” but the grand finale consisted of “An illuminated Statue of Harlequin flying on a Cord, with a Fire Tube in his right Hand, which will set fire to an Italian Candle, I the right Hand of a Figure representing Columbine; which Figure will communicate Fire to an Horizontal Wheel, by which she will be turned round, backwards and forwards several Times. The Whole to conclude with the Flight of Harlequin, to the Place from whence he came, and several large double and single Rockets.”

This entire program was a show that colonists would be disappointed to miss, not only because it happened to be the last of the season. Several of the pieces had not “ever been exhibited here before,” including “A new Piece representing a large and beautiful Palm Tree, with three large Chinese Fountains, on the Top curiously decorated.” One of the most elaborate displays depicted “a magnificent Pavilion, with three Fronts beautifully embellished, with Illuminations, Chinese and Venetian Fountains, Italian Candles, and Diamonds, with the Letters G.R. under an illuminated Crown.” The initials stood for George Rex, a Latin appellation for George III. Colonists participated in entertainments that honored the monarch even as they quarreled with Parliament over the quartering of troops in Boston and the imposition of taxes on paper, glass, and other goods throughout the colonies.

Among the many advertisements for consumer goods that crowded New York’s newspapers, other notices promoted leisure activities. They marketed experiences to colonists who had the time and the means to partake in them. Along with pleasure gardens, spas, and inns, the fireworks at Ranelagh Gardens were part of an incipient tourism and hospitality industry that emerged as part of the consumer revolution in the second half of the eighteenth century.

Slavery Advertisements Published October 27, 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.

During the week of October 21-27, 2018, the Slavery Adverts 250 Project is guest curated by Jose Garcia (2019), a History major at Assumption College in Worcester, Massachusetts.

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

Oct 27 - Massachusetts Gazette Draper 2
Massachusetts Gazette [Draper] (October 27, 1768).

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Oct 27 - Massachusetts Gazette Draper Slavery 1
Massachusetts Gazette [Draper] (October 27, 1768).

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Oct 27 - New-York Journal Supplement Slavery 1
Supplement to the New-York Journal (October 27, 1768).

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Oct 27 - New-York Journal Supplement Slavery 2
Supplement to the New-York Journal (October 27, 1768).

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Oct 27 - Pennsylvania Gazette Postscript Slavery 1
Postscript to the Pennsylvania Gazette (October 27, 1768).

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Oct 27 - Pennsylvania Gazette Postscript Slavery 2
Postscript to the Pennsylvania Gazette (October 27, 1768).

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Oct 27 - Pennsylvania Gazette Supplement Slavery 1
Supplement to the Pennsylvania Gazette (October 27, 1768).

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Oct 27 - Virginia Gazette Purdie and Dixon Slavery 1
Virginia Gazette [Purdie & Dixon] (October 27, 1768).

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Oct 27 - Virginia Gazette Purdie and Dixon Supplement Slavery 1
Supplement to the Virginia Gazette [Purdie & Dixon] (October 27, 1768).

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Oct 27 - Virginia Gazette Purdie and Dixon Supplement Slavery 2
Supplement to the Virginia Gazette [Purdie & Dixon] (October 27, 1768).

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Oct 27 - Virginia Gazette Purdie and Dixon Supplement Slavery 3
Supplement to the Virginia Gazette [Purdie & Dixon] (October 27, 1768).

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Oct 27 - Virginia Gazette Purdie and Dixon Supplement Slavery 4
Supplement to the Virginia Gazette [Purdie & Dixon] (October 27, 1768).

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Oct 27 - Virginia Gazette Purdie and Dixon Supplement Slavery 5
Supplement to the Virginia Gazette [Purdie & Dixon] (October 27, 1768).

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Oct 27 - Virginia Gazette Purdie and Dixon Supplement Slavery 6
Supplement to the Virginia Gazette [Purdie & Dixon] (October 27, 1768).

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Oct 27 - Virginia Gazette Purdie and Dixon Supplement Slavery 7
Supplement to the Virginia Gazette [Purdie & Dixon] (October 27, 1768).

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Oct 27 - Virginia Gazette Purdie and Dixon Supplement Slavery 8
Supplement to the Virginia Gazette [Purdie & Dixon] (October 27, 1768).

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Oct 27 - Virginia Gazette Rind Slavery 1
Virginia Gazette [Rind] (October 27, 1768).

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Oct 27 - Virginia Gazette Rind Slavery 2
Virginia Gazette [Rind] (October 27, 1768).

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Oct 27 - Virginia Gazette Rind Slavery 3
Virginia Gazette [Rind] (October 27, 1768).

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Oct 27 - Virginia Gazette Rind Slavery 4
Virginia Gazette [Rind] (October 27, 1768).

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Oct 27 - Virginia Gazette Rind Slavery 5
Virginia Gazette [Rind] (October 27, 1768).

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Oct 27 - Virginia Gazette Rind Slavery 6
Virginia Gazette [Rind] (October 27, 1768).

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Oct 27 - Virginia Gazette Rind Slavery 7
Virginia Gazette [Rind] (October 27, 1768).

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Oct 27 - Virginia Gazette Rind Slavery 8
Virginia Gazette [Rind] (October 27, 1768).

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Oct 27 - Virginia Gazette Rind Slavery 9
Virginia Gazette [Rind] (October 27, 1768).

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Oct 27 - Virginia Gazette Rind Slavery 10
Virginia Gazette [Rind] (October 27, 1768).

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Oct 27 - Virginia Gazette Rind Slavery 11
Virginia Gazette [Rind] (October 27, 1768).

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Oct 27 - Virginia Gazette Rind Supplement Slavery 1
Supplement to the Virginia Gazette [Rind] (October 27, 1768).

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Oct 27 - Virginia Gazette Rind Supplement Slavery 2
Supplement to the Virginia Gazette [Rind] (October 27, 1768).

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Oct 27 - Virginia Gazette Rind Supplement Slavery 3
Supplement to the Virginia Gazette [Rind] (October 27, 1768).

October 26

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

Oct 26 - 10:26:1768 Georgia Gazette
Georgia Gazette (October 26, 1768).

“WHITE, green, and blue plains, London duffils, shags, white and striped flannels, striped linsies.”

In the fall of 1768, Rae and Somerville promoted their “Compleat ASSORTMENT of EUROPEAN and EAST-INDIA GOODS” in an advertisement in the Georgia Gazette. The partners listed dozens of items in a notice that extended approximately one-third of a column. Compared to list-style advertisements that appeared in newspapers printed in other cities, especially the busiest ports, this advertisement may have seemed relatively short. Compared to other advertisements for consumer goods in the Georgia Gazette, however, Rae and Somerville’s notice was extensive.

Advertisements of a similar length did appear in the colony’s only newspaper, but they usually had other purposes. Many fell in the category of legal notices. Elsewhere in the same issue, advertisements of a similar length included a notice from the provost marshal concerning the sale of lands taken “under execution” and a notice from the surveyor general warning against fraudulent methods of delineating boundaries. Estate sales, especially when they included real estate, also tended to occupy as much space in the Georgia Gazette.

The length of Rae and Somerville’s advertisement made it particularly noticeable, especially considering that the Georgia Gazette featured only two columns per page. That meant that the extensive list of merchandise accounted for one-sixth of a page in the standard four-page issue. It was twice the length of any other advertisement for consumer goods in the same edition, with only one exception. Inglis and Hall once again inserted their advertisement for goods recently imported on the Industry and the Georgia Packet. Longer than most, it was not as lengthy as Rae and Somerville’s notice, neither by the number of items listed nor by the column inches. Inglis and Hall had listed only one item per line rather than a dense block of text that crowded as many items as possible into the space Rae and Somerville had purchased.

In addition, Inglis and Hall frequently advertised in the Georgia Gazette. When it came to presenting notices to local consumers via the newspaper, Inglis and Hall were the colony’s most prominent merchants. Readers were accustomed to seeing their lengthy advertisements. Rae and Somerville, on the other hand, had not previously made the same investment in advertising in the public prints. That made their extensive advertisement all the more noteworthy to those who regularly read the Georgia Gazette. In the range of newspaper advertisements for consumer goods published throughout the colonies in the 1760s, Rae and Somerville’s notice fits somewhere in the middle in terms of the number of items listed and how much of a column it occupied. Compared to others in the Georgia Gazette, the barometer most readers would have used, it was an exceptionally extensive advertisement. Its intended impact must be considered relative to experiences of the audience who would have read it.

Slavery Advertisements Published October 26, 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.

During the week of October 21-27, 2018, the Slavery Adverts 250 Project is guest curated by Jose Garcia (2019), a History major at Assumption College in Worcester, Massachusetts.

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

Oct 26 - Georgia Gazette Slavery 1
Georgia Gazette (October 26, 1768).

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Oct 26 - Georgia Gazette Slavery 2
Georgia Gazette (October 26, 1768).

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Oct 26 - Georgia Gazette Slavery 3
Georgia Gazette (October 26, 1768).

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Oct 26 - Georgia Gazette Slavery 4
Georgia Gazette (October 26, 1768).

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Oct 26 - Georgia Gazette Slavery 5
Georgia Gazette (October 26, 1768).

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Oct 26 - Georgia Gazette Slavery 6
Georgia Gazette (October 26, 1768).

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Oct 26 - Georgia Gazette Slavery 7
Georgia Gazette (October 26, 1768).

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Oct 26 - Georgia Gazette Slavery 8
Georgia Gazette (October 26, 1768).

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Oct 26 - Georgia Gazette Slavery 9
Georgia Gazette (October 26, 1768).

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Oct 26 - Georgia Gazette Slavery 10
Georgia Gazette (October 26, 1768).