Slavery Advertisements Published August 16, 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.

Aug 16 - South-Carolina Gazette and Country Journal Slavery 1
South-Carolina Gazette and Country Journal (August 16, 1768).

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Aug 16 - South-Carolina Gazette and Country Journal Slavery 2
South-Carolina Gazette and Country Journal (August 16, 1768).

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Aug 16 - South-Carolina Gazette and Country Journal Slavery 3
South-Carolina Gazette and Country Journal (August 16, 1768).

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Aug 16 - South-Carolina Gazette and Country Journal Slavery 4
South-Carolina Gazette and Country Journal (August 16, 1768).

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Aug 16 - South-Carolina Gazette and Country Journal Slavery 5
South-Carolina Gazette and Country Journal (August 16, 1768).

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Aug 16 - South-Carolina Gazette and Country Journal Supplement Slavery 1
Supplement to the South-Carolina Gazette and Country Journal (August 16, 1768).

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Aug 16 - South-Carolina Gazette and Country Journal Supplement Slavery 2
Supplement to the South-Carolina Gazette and Country Journal (August 16, 1768).

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Aug 16 - South-Carolina Gazette and Country Journal Supplement Slavery 3
Supplement to the South-Carolina Gazette and Country Journal (August 16, 1768).

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Aug 16 - South-Carolina Gazette and Country Journal Supplement Slavery 4
Supplement to the South-Carolina Gazette and Country Journal (August 16, 1768).

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Aug 16 - South-Carolina Gazette and Country Journal Supplement Slavery 5
Supplement to the South-Carolina Gazette and Country Journal (August 16, 1768).

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Aug 16 - South-Carolina Gazette and Country Journal Supplement Slavery 6
Supplement to the South-Carolina Gazette and Country Journal (August 16, 1768).

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Aug 16 - South-Carolina Gazette and Country Journal Supplement Slavery 7
Supplement to the South-Carolina Gazette and Country Journal (August 16, 1768).

August 15

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

Aug 15 - 8:15:1768 New-York Gazette Weekly Mercury
New-York Gazette and Weekly Mercury (August 15, 1768).

“I am Master of the new Mode, lately invented in London, of making Wigs.”

In the advertisements they placed in American newspapers in late colonial period, entrepreneurs in occupations tied to fashion often underscored their connections to London, the cosmopolitan center of the Britain’s empire. Tailors, milliners, and others who made apparel often proclaimed that they were “from London.” Hairdressers and wigmakers advanced similar appeals. Even shopkeepers did so when they thought that it might help them to sell imported garments, textiles, and assorted adornments.

John Lewis, a native of New York, could not claim to be “from London,” but his origins mattered less than the time he had spent in that city. The “HAIR-DRESSER, and PERUKE-MAKER” opened his advertisement in the New-York Gazette and Weekly Mercury by informing prospective clients that “after considerable Residence in London” he had returned to New York and set up shop. During the time that he had resided in London Lewis had worked with “the most eminent Masters in the above mentioned Branches of Business” and, as a result, had “acquired Abilities equal to any of my Brethren, in the Professions of Hair-Dressing and Wig-Making.” This made him particularly qualified to serve customers in New York and its environs.

Lewis highlighted his familiarity with current fashions and the most advanced methods of his trade, both acquired during his time in London. To that end, his advertisement served as a primer to newspaper readers about some of styles currently popular on the other side of the Atlantic. “I am Master of the new Mode, lately invented in London,” he proclaimed, “of making Wigs that shall not need dressing for six Months, preserving their Shape and first Appearance during that Time.” For those who were unaware, he firther explained that “This fashion is much esteem’d at present in England [for] its Usefulness and Convenience.” Since such wigs were new to the American marketplace, Lewis proposed another means of helping prospective clients become more familiar with them. In addition to describing the wigs in advertisements, he made several “Specimens” or samples that “Gentlemen” could examine before engaging his services.

Lewis leveraged his connections to London in his advertisement. He not only claimed familiarity with the current styles but also asserted that he was in a position to educate potential customers about new tastes and methods that they had not yet encountered in the colonies. He provided extensive detail in hopes that these factors would distinguish him from local competitors who either had never traveled to London or had not done so recently.

Slavery Advertisements Published August 15, 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.

Aug 15 - Boston Evening-Post Slavery 1
Boston Evening-Post (August 15, 1768).

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Aug 15 - Boston-Gazette Slavery 1
Boston-Gazette (August 15, 1768).

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Aug 15 - Boston-Gazette Slavery 2
Boston-Gazette (August 15, 1768).

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Aug 15 - Boston-Gazette Slavery 3
Boston-Gazette (August 15, 1768).

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Aug 15 - Boston-Gazette Supplement Slavery 1
Supplement to the Boston-Gazette (August 15, 1768).

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Aug 15 - Massachusetts Gazette Green and Russell Slavery 1
Massachusetts Gazette [Green & Russell] (August 15, 1768).

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Aug 15 - Massachusetts Gazette Green and Russell Slavery 2
Massachusetts Gazette [Green & Russell] (August 15, 1768).

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Aug 15 - Massachusetts Gazette Green and Russell Slavery 3
Massachusetts Gazette [Green & Russell] (August 15, 1768).

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Aug 15 - New-York Gazette Weekly Mercury Slavery 1
New-York Gazette and Weekly Mercury (August 15, 1768).

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Aug 15 - New-York Gazette Weekly Mercury Slavery 2
New-York Gazette and Weekly Mercury (August 15, 1768).

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Aug 15 - New-York Gazette Weekly Post-Boy Slavery 1
New-York Gazette: Or, the Weekly Post-Boy (August 15, 1768).

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Aug 15 - Newport Mercury Slavery 1
Newport Mercury (August 15, 1768).

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Aug 15 - Newport Mercury Slavery 2
Newport Mercury (August 15, 1768).

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Aug 15 - Newport Mercury Slavery 3
Newport Mercury (August 15, 1768).

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Aug 15 - Newport Mercury Slavery 4
Newport Mercury (August 15, 1768).

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Aug 15 - Newport Mercury Slavery 5
Newport Mercury (August 15, 1768).

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Aug 15 - Newport Mercury Slavery 6
Newport Mercury (August 15, 1768).

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Aug 15 - Pennsylvania Chronicle Slavery 1
Pennsylvania Chronicle (August 15, 1768).

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Aug 15 - Pennsylvania Chronicle Slavery 2
Pennsylvania Chronicle (August 15, 1768).

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Aug 15 - Pennsylvania Chronicle Slavery 3
Pennsylvania Chronicle (August 15, 1768).

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Aug 15 - Pennsylvania Chronicle Slavery 4
Pennsylvania Chronicle (August 15, 1768).

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Aug 15 - Pennsylvania Chronicle Slavery 5
Pennsylvania Chronicle (August 15, 1768).

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Aug 15 - South-Carolina Gazette Slavery 1
South-Carolina Gazette (August 15, 1768).

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Aug 15 - South-Carolina Gazette Slavery 2
South-Carolina Gazette (August 15, 1768).

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Aug 15 - South-Carolina Gazette Slavery 3
South-Carolina Gazette (August 15, 1768).

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Aug 15 - South-Carolina Gazette Slavery 4
South-Carolina Gazette (August 15, 1768).

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Aug 15 - South-Carolina Gazette Slavery 5
South-Carolina Gazette (August 15, 1768).

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Aug 15 - South-Carolina Gazette Slavery 6
South-Carolina Gazette (August 15, 1768).

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Aug 15 - South-Carolina Gazette Slavery 7
South-Carolina Gazette (August 15, 1768).

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Aug 15 - South-Carolina Gazette Slavery 8
South-Carolina Gazette (August 15, 1768).

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Aug 15 - South-Carolina Gazette Slavery 9
South-Carolina Gazette (August 15, 1768).

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Aug 15 - South-Carolina Gazette Slavery 10
South-Carolina Gazette (August 15, 1768).

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Aug 15 - South-Carolina Gazette Slavery 11
South-Carolina Gazette (August 15, 1768).

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Aug 15 - South-Carolina Gazette Slavery 12
South-Carolina Gazette (August 15, 1768).

August 14

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

Aug 14 - 8:11:1768 Pennsylvania Gazette
Postscript to the Pennsylvania Gazette (August 11, 1768).

“He has of late stamped his name on his brushes.”

John Hanna made and sold all sorts of brushes “At the corner of Chestnut and Second-streets” in Philadelphia in the late 1760s. He produced brushes intended for every sort of purpose, from “sweeping, scrubbing, hearth and white-wash brushes” to “weavers, tanners, hatters, painters and furniture brushes of all kinds.” In his advertisements in the Pennsylvania Gazette he emphasized price and, especially, customer satisfaction. In making an appeal to price, the brushmaker proclaimed that he “sells by wholesale or retail, as low, if not lower, than any in this city.”

He expended much more effort on convincing potential customers that they would be satisfied if they purchased their brushes from him. He began with standardized language about quality, noting that he made brushes “in the neatest and best manner.” Hanna then backed up this pronouncement by offering a return policy should any of his brushes not meet the expectations of his customers. To that end, he asserted “that if the bristles come out in any reasonable time, with fair usage, he will give new ones for nothing.” This guarantee depended in part on the honesty of customers, but it did offer some sort of recourse should any of Hanna’s brushes fall short of the quality he promised.

The return policy likely extended to consumers who obtained Hanna’s brushes from other retailers. In a nota bene he explained that he “has of late stamped his name on his brushes, so that if they should fail, people may know where to bring them to be exchanged.” This removed retailers from having to address potential complaints about customer satisfaction. Instead, they could point out Hanna’s name on the brushes at the time of sale and instruct their own customers to contact the manufacturer directly with any concerns, anticipating a policy widely adopted in the twenty-first century.

Like many other artisans and shopkeepers, Hanna pledged that “Those who are pleased to favour him with their custom, may depend on being supplied to their satisfaction.” He enhanced his advertisement, however, with a mechanism for following through on those assurances. Stamping his name on his brushes not only branded them to encourage additional sales; it also marked them as eligible for the return policy he devised to cultivate customer satisfaction.

August 13

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

Aug 13 - 8:13:1768 Providence Gazette
Providence Gazette (August 13, 1768).

“A handsome second-hand CHAISE.”

Colonists devised multiple ways to participate in the consumer revolution of the eighteenth century. Many purchased new good directly from merchants and shopkeepers, but others stole the items they desired or bought stolen goods at lower prices through an informal economy that made goods more accessible. Some also acquired secondhand goods at discounted prices that made them affordable. Advertisements for auctions, especially estate sales, frequently appeared in newspapers published throughout the colonies, presenting an array of goods to consumers looking for bargains. Other advertisements, however, announced the sale of particular used items, such as notice in the August 12, 1768, edition of the Providence Gazette that informed readers of a “handsome second-hand CHAISE” for sale. Interested parties were instructed to “Enquire of the Printers” for more information.

The chaise was one of the many sorts of wheeled carriages familiar to colonists. The Oxford English Dictionary indicates that the “exact application … varied from time to time,” but offers this general definition: “A light open carriage for one or two persons, often having a top or calash; those with four wheels resembling the phaeton, those with two the curricle; also loosely used for pleasure carts and light carriages generally.” In the absence of a more complete description in the advertisement, the flexibility of the term “chaise” encouraged prospective buyers to contact the printers for additional information.

Carriages of all sorts were markers of status, expensive to acquire and maintain. Opportunities to purchase secondhand carriages made them more affordable, but those with the means to purchase used carriages did not have to wait for private individuals to sell them. Some coachmakers, including Adino Paddock in Boston, incorporated sales of secondhand carriages into their marketing, selling those they received as trade-ins from customers who purchased new carriages. Regardless of who sold secondhand chaises and other sorts of carriages, their availability in the colonial marketplace indicates that they retained resale value after the initial sale. Colonists bought and sold used carriages long before the practice became a common aspect of the modern automobile industry.

August 12

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

Aug 12 - 8:12:1768 New-London Gazette
New-London Gazette (August 12, 1768).

“Last Night the shops of the subscribers in said Middletown was broke open.”

Many advertisements in eighteenth-century newspapers listed all sorts of consumer goods as a means of encouraging readers to visit shops, examine the merchandise, and make purchases. Other advertisements, however, demonstrate that not all colonists acquired goods through those means. Some colonists instead resorted to theft.

Such was the case in Middletown, Connecticut, at the end of July in 1768. On the morning of the final day of the month, George Philips, Asal Johnson, and Francis Whitmore all awoke to discover that their shops had been “broke open” during the night and several items stolen. The thief or thieves grabbed “about 6 dozen barcelona handkerchiefs, of which 2 dozen were black, the rest shaded various colours; 1 dozen black cravats, 3 or 4 pieces of black ribbons, 1 paper of white metal buckles, 1 castor hat a little moth eaten, 2 or 3 penknives,” and currency in several denominations from Philips. Similar items went missing from the shops of Johnson and Whitmore. The volume of stolen goods suggests that the thieves may not have intended these items solely for their own use. Instead, they may have attempted to fence them or otherwise distribute them through what Serena Zabin has termed an informal economy that allowed greater numbers of colonists to participate in the consumer revolution.

Philips and Johnson offered a reward to “Any person who will seize the thief or thieves with any or all of said articles, and secure them so that they shall be brought to justice.” The penalties could be quite severe for those convicted. Two years earlier in Rhode Island, for instance, Joseph Hart became a convict servant, sold into servitude “for the term of three years to satisfy the damages and costs of his prosecution and conviction, for stealing sundry goods.” Colonists who chose to gain access to the consumer revolution via extralegal means weighed the risks and rewards of acquiring goods that might otherwise have remained beyond their reach.

Slavery Advertisements Published August 12, 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.

Aug 12 - New-Hampshire Gazette Slavery 1
New-Hampshire Gazette (August 12, 1768).

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Aug 12 - New-London Gazette Slavery 1
New-London Gazette (August 12, 1768).

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Aug 12 - South-Carolina and American General Gazette Slavery 1
South-Carolina and American General Gazette (August 12, 1768).

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Aug 12 - South-Carolina and American General Gazette Slavery 2
South-Carolina and American General Gazette (August 12, 1768).

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Aug 12 - South-Carolina and American General Gazette Slavery 3
South-Carolina and American General Gazette (August 12, 1768).

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Aug 12 - South-Carolina and American General Gazette Slavery 4
South-Carolina and American General Gazette (August 12, 1768).

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Aug 12 - South-Carolina and American General Gazette Slavery 5
South-Carolina and American General Gazette (August 12, 1768).

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Aug 12 - South-Carolina and American General Gazette Slavery 6
South-Carolina and American General Gazette (August 12, 1768).

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Aug 12 - South-Carolina and American General Gazette Slavery 7
South-Carolina and American General Gazette (August 12, 1768).

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Aug 12 - South-Carolina and American General Gazette Slavery 8
South-Carolina and American General Gazette (August 12, 1768).

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Aug 12 - South-Carolina and American General Gazette Slavery 9
South-Carolina and American General Gazette (August 12, 1768).

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Aug 12 - South-Carolina and American General Gazette Slavery 10
South-Carolina and American General Gazette (August 12, 1768).

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Aug 12 - South-Carolina and American General Gazette Slavery 11
South-Carolina and American General Gazette (August 12, 1768).

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Aug 12 - South-Carolina and American General Gazette Slavery 12
South-Carolina and American General Gazette (August 12, 1768).