December 13

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

New-Hampshire Gazette (December 13, 1771).

“A Civil, Military & Ecclesiastical REGISTER of the Province of New-Hampshire, for the YEAR 1772.”

Each year as fall turned to winter, readers regularly encountered advertisements for almanacs in colonial American newspapers.  Printers often listed the contents as a means of enticing prospective customers to purchase particular titles, emphasizing the range of useful or entertaining items included in one publication or another.  In 1771, Daniel Fowle and Robert Fowle, the printers of the New-Hampshire Gazette gathered together a variety of useful information that might otherwise have appeared in an almanac in a separate pamphlet.  They advertised their “Civil, Military & Ecclesiastical REGISTER of the Province of New-Hampshire, for the YEAR 1772” in their newspaper.

The bulk of their advertisement consisted of an enumeration of the contents, everything from a “List of the Governor, Council and House of Representatives” and “Judges and Officers of the Superiour Court, and Court of Admiralty” to “Barristers of Law and Practising Attornies with their respective Places of Residence” and “Custom House Officers and Notaries Public” to “Trustees and Officers of Dartmouth-College” and “Ministers, Churches and religious Assemblies of the several Denominations in each County.”  The pamphlet also included directions along several roads “with the most noted Houses of Entertainment” for those who needed to travel within the colony for one reason or another.

The Civil, Military and Ecclesiastical Register apparently did not meet with as much success as the Fowles hoped.  They did not update it and publish a new edition for 1773 nor for any subsequent year.  Thomas Fleet and John Fleet printed and sold a register for New Hampshire in 1779, folding it into A Pocket Almanack for the Year of our Lord 1780 … Calculated for the use of the State of Massachusetts Bay in New-England.  Following the American Revolution, George Jerry Osborne published Osborne’s New-Hampshire Register with an Almanack, for the Year 1787, yet another pamphlet that merged the elements of an almanac with those of a register.  Osborne published registers with almanacs for 1788 and 1789.  Others also appeared on the market before the end of the century.  Perhaps the Fowles would have attempted to revive their register if it had not been for the disruptions of the American Revolution.  The register for 1772 testified to their interest in such a project, provided that it found enough buyers willing to purchase it.

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