What was advertised in a colonial American newspaper 250 years ago today?
“He hath opened an inn and tavern, at the sign of the Fountain … in Market-street, Baltimore.”
As summer arrived in 1773, Daniel Grant opened a new inn and tavern in Baltimore. To attract patrons, he inserted advertisements in the Maryland Gazette, published in Annapolis, and the Pennsylvania Packet, published in Philadelphia, to supplement word-of-mouth news of his establishment in Baltimore. That city did not yet have its own newspaper, though William Goddard had recently opened a printing office there and distributed subscription proposals for the Maryland Journal. Even if Grant could have advertised in a local newspaper, it benefited him to alert colonizers throughout the regions served by the Maryland Gazette and the Pennsylvania Packet that they could avail themselves of his services if they had occasion to travel to Baltimore. Besides, those newspapers were the local newspapers, at least for another few months until Goddard commenced publication of the Maryland Journal near the end of August.
As part of his marketing efforts, Grant emphasized his experience running a tavern “at the sign of the Buck, near Philadelphia.” He extended “his most grateful thanks to the gentlemen who did mum the honour to frequent his former house.” In addition, he declared that “it shall ever be his study to please” and “he hopes for a continuance of their favours” when they visited Baltimore. Such sentiments communicated to those who had not previously visited the tavern “at the sign of the Buck” that Grant had successfully cultivated a clientele and would offer the same quality of service to patrons at the inn and tavern “at the sign of the Fountain … in Market-street, Baltimore.” He pledged that “those who choose to favour him with their custom, may be assured of his best endeavours to merit their approbation.” To that end, he promoted the “late and commodious house” that he converted into an inn and tavern and asserted that he “hath provided everything for the accommodation of gentlemen, their servants, and horses, in the best manner.” Apparently, Grant also operated a stable or made arrangements with a nearby associate to provide hosteling services. Whatever their needs and desires, Grant promised prospective patrons a pleasant stay at his inn and tavern.