August 19

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

Aug 19 - 8:19:1767 Georgia Gazette
Georgia Gazette (August 19, 1767).

“I will not pay any debts of her contracting.”

Four short lines on the final page of advertisements in the August 19, 1767, issue of the Georgia Gazette alerted residents of Savannah to discord in the Frentz household. John Frentz placed a notice “to forewarn all persons from purchasing effects of any kind from my wife, Margaret Frentz, or crediting her on my account.” He added that he would not “pay any debts of her contracting” after August 4, 1767.

By August 19, regular readers of the Georgia Gazette would have been aware of Frentz’s prohibition already. The notice first appeared two weeks earlier in the August 5 edition and again on August 12. Like many advertisements published during the colonial era, it ran for three weeks before disappearing from the pages of the public prints. The discord between John and Margaret Frentz, however, most likely did not evaporate quite so quickly, not if it had been so substantial as to warrant airing in public in the local newspaper.

Frentz’s advertisement was the only one of its kind in the Georgia Gazette throughout the month of August 1767, but it was not a sort unfamiliar to colonists. In larger ports, weekly newspapers often carried as many as half a dozen such warnings published by husbands targeting absent or recalcitrant wives. Any given issue published in New York or Philadelphia was as likely as not to contain at least one such notice.

Frentz’s notice, however, did differ from most others in one significant way. He did not indicate that Margaret had departed from his household. Similar announcements have collectively become known as “runaway wife” advertisements; they usually included some sort of variation on the wife “eloping” away from husband and home, thus justifying the aggrieved husband no longer assuming responsibility for any debts contracted by an absent and insubordinate wife.

Margaret may not have departed at the time John composed his advertisement, but he still worried about what sorts of mischief she might do to his disadvantage. He attempted to eliminate, or at least curtail, her ability to participate in the marketplace, disavowing any debts she initiated. He also sought to prevent her from selling any sorts of goods, presumably including his own belongings, which may have been a strategy for preventing her from eventually “eloping” once she had accumulated enough cash to have a fair chance of making her escape.

Runaway wife advertisements are often interpreted as evidence of women asserting agency in eighteenth-century America, removing themselves from unhappy marriages and households. That was certainly the case, but they also demonstrate that husbands continued to possess the upper hand, even after wives departed. Women had less access to cash and credit as well as fewer opportunities to participate in the marketplace. In this advertisement, John Frentz used buying and selling goods as a means of curbing the agency of his disobedient wife.

Slavery Advertisements Published August 13-19, 1767

These tables indicate how many advertisements for slaves appeared in colonial American newspapers during the week of August 13-19, 1767.

Note:  These tables are as comprehensive as currently digitized sources permit, but they may not be an exhaustive account.  They includes all newspapers that have been digitized and made available via Accessible Archives, Colonial Williamsburg’s Digital Library, and Readex’s America’s Historical Newspapers.  There are several reasons some newspapers may not have been consulted:

  • Issues that are no longer extant;
  • Issues that are extant but have not yet been digitized (including the Pennsylvania Journal); and
  • Newspapers published in a language other than English (including the Wochentliche Philadelphische Staatsbote).

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Slavery Advertisements Published August 13-19, 1767:  By Date

Slavery Adverts Tables 1767 By Date Aug 13

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Slavery Advertisements Published August 13-19, 1767:  By Region

Slavery Adverts Tables 1767 By Region Aug 13

Slavery Advertisements Published August 19, 1767

These advertisements appeared in colonial American newspapers 250 years ago today.  Daily updates also available on Twitter: @SlaveAdverts250.

Aug 19 - Georgia Gazette Slavery 1
Georgia Gazette (August 19, 1767).

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Aug 19 - Georgia Gazette Slavery 2
Georgia Gazette (August 19, 1767).

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Aug 19 - Georgia Gazette Slavery 3
Georgia Gazette (August 19, 1767).

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Aug 19 - Georgia Gazette Slavery 4
Georgia Gazette (August 19, 1767).

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Aug 19 - Georgia Gazette Slavery 5
Georgia Gazette (August 19, 1767).

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Aug 19 - Georgia Gazette Slavery 8
Georgia Gazette (August 19, 1767).

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Aug 19 - Georgia Gazette Slavery 6
Georgia Gazette (August 19, 1767).

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Aug 19 - Georgia Gazette Slavery 7
Georgia Gazette (August 19, 1767).

August 18

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

Aug 18 - 8:18:1767 South-Carolina Gazette and Country Journal Supplement
Supplement to the South-Carolina Gazette and Country Journal (August 18, 1767).

“They will be warranted to be equal, if not superior in quality, to any WINES that has been imported this season.”

Samuel Peronneau advertised “A large parcel of genuine Made[i]ra Wines” in the supplement that accompanied the August 18, 1767, edition of the South-Carolina Gazette and Country Journal. On the same page, William Hulme promoted the “MADEIRA, VIDONIA and LISBON WINES, BRANDY and GIN” he sold, along with “RUMS, from Jamaica, Barbados, and the Northward.” Elsewhere in the issue, several shopkeepers advertised other alcoholic beverages. James McCall included “bottled beer, cyder, ale, and perry” among a list of dozens of imported items in stock at his shop. Samuel Grove carried “best Taunton ale, [and] cyder,” while Greenland and Jones sold “best Bristol bottled beer, [and] Philadelphia ditto in whole and half barrels.” Other merchants and shopkeepers regularly advertised beers, wines, and liquors in the South-Carolina Gazette and Country Journal and other newspapers printed in Charleston in the late 1760s. Residents of Charleston had many options when it came to acquiring alcohol.

Amid this sea of choices, Peronneau attempted to distinguish his offerings from those presented by his competitors. He confidently stated that his wines were “Of the best London, York, and Jamaica qualities” and boldly pledged that they “will be warranted to be equal, if not superior in quality, to any WINES that has been imported this season.” Some competitors made passing comments about the quality of their beverages, but Peronneau elaborated on why potential customers could trust his assurances in that regard. He did not sell whatever happened to be shipped to him by faraway associates. Instead, he contracted “a gentleman on the spot” to examine “every pipe.” In each instance, that gentleman “spared no pains in the choice of them.” In effect, Peronneau had a quality control agent overseeing the merchandise that entered his warehouse. Ultimately, that “gentleman” worked on behalf of Peronneau’s clients, his efforts mutually benefitting the retailer and the customers rather than the suppliers.

Whether they sold wine or other imported goods, most advertisers did not provide much information about the processes through which they acquired their inventory. Peronneau, however, had a system that distinguished his wines from others on the market. This allowed him to include specific details that further developed his appeal to quality, one of the most common appeals in eighteenth-century advertisements. Rather than make vague and general statements about the quality of his merchandise, Peronneau offered potential customers specific details explaining why they should believe that he did indeed stock wine “equal, if not superior in quality” to any others they could purchase locally.

Slavery Advertisements Published August 18, 1767

These advertisements appeared in colonial American newspapers 250 years ago today.  Daily updates also available on Twitter: @SlaveAdverts250.

Aug 18 - South-Carolina Gazette and Country Journal Slavery 1
South-Carolina Gazette and Country Journal (August 18, 1767).

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Aug 18 - South-Carolina Gazette and Country Journal Slavery 2
South-Carolina Gazette and Country Journal (August 18, 1767).

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Aug 18 - South-Carolina Gazette and Country Journal Slavery 3
South-Carolina Gazette and Country Journal (August 18, 1767).

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Aug 18 - South-Carolina Gazette and Country Journal Slavery 4
South-Carolina Gazette and Country Journal (August 18, 1767).

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Aug 18 - South-Carolina Gazette and Country Journal Slavery 5
South-Carolina Gazette and Country Journal (August 18, 1767).

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Aug 18 - South-Carolina Gazette and Country Journal Slavery 6
South-Carolina Gazette and Country Journal (August 18, 1767).

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Aug 18 - South-Carolina Gazette and Country Journal Slavery 7
South-Carolina Gazette and Country Journal (August 18, 1767).

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Aug 18 - South-Carolina Gazette and Country Journal Supplement Slavery 1
Supplement to the South-Carolina Gazette and Country Journal (August 18, 1767).

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Aug 18 - South-Carolina Gazette and Country Journal Supplement Slavery 2
Supplement to the South-Carolina Gazette and Country Journal (August 18, 1767).

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Aug 18 - South-Carolina Gazette and Country Journal Supplement Slavery 3
Supplement to the South-Carolina Gazette and Country Journal (August 18, 1767).

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Aug 18 - South-Carolina Gazette and Country Journal Supplement Slavery 4
Supplement to the South-Carolina Gazette and Country Journal (August 18, 1767).

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Aug 18 - South-Carolina Gazette and Country Journal Supplement Slavery 5
Supplement to the South-Carolina Gazette and Country Journal (August 18, 1767).

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Aug 18 - South-Carolina Gazette and Country Journal Supplement Slavery 6
Supplement to the South-Carolina Gazette and Country Journal (August 18, 1767).

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Aug 18 - South-Carolina Gazette and Country Journal Supplement Slavery 7
Supplement to the South-Carolina Gazette and Country Journal (August 18, 1767).

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Aug 18 - South-Carolina Gazette and Country Journal Supplement Slavery 8
Supplement to the South-Carolina Gazette and Country Journal (August 18, 1767).

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Aug 18 - South-Carolina Gazette and Country Journal Supplement Slavery 9
Supplement to the South-Carolina Gazette and Country Journal (August 18, 1767).

August 17

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

Aug 17 - 8:17:1767 Boston Evening-Post
Boston Evening-Post (August 17, 1767).

“I … am of Opinion that they may be serviceable in many Disorders, if properly used.”

These items from the August 17, 1767, edition of the Boston Evening-Post blurred the lines between advertising and news content. The proprietor of “JACKSON’s Mineral Well in Boston” had previously advertised the spa in other newspapers. The “RULES” for the establishment, including the hours and rates, appeared in an advertisement on the final page of the issue that carried these announcements, easily identified as an advertisement among more than a score of other advertisements. These announcements, on the other hand, occupied a more liminal space on the third page, at the transition between the news content and advertising in the issue.

The notices had the appearance of news. They followed immediately after an extract from a “Letter from a Gentleman in London” and news from Portsmouth, New Hampshire, but they preceded James McMaster’s advertisement for “A general Assortment of Scotch and English Goods” and the advertising that accounted for the remainder of the issue. In particular, the item by James Lloyd resembled a letter submitted to the newspaper rather than an advertisement. Lloyd sought to rectify an incorrect report that he described “Mr. Jackson’s mineral Spring” as being “of a noxious Quality.” Furthermore, he so wholly approved of the waters that he “recommended the Use of them” to his patients afflicted with various disorders. Was this news or an endorsement? The other item contained information that might have been considered general interest but did not explicitly address potential patrons.

Were these pieces local news items the editor selected as a service to readers? Or were they puff pieces and product placements that the proprietor of the “Mineral Well” had arranged to have printed in such close proximity to the news as to make them appear as though they came from a source that did not stand to generate revenue from inciting clients to visit the spa? If they were indeed advertisements, they could have been combined with verifiable advertisement printed on the following page.

Aug 17 - 8:17:1767 Page 3 of Boston Evening-Post
Third Page of Boston Evening-Post (August 17, 1767).

Slavery Advertisements Published August 17, 1767

These advertisements appeared in colonial American newspapers 250 years ago today.  Daily updates also available on Twitter: @SlaveAdverts250.

Aug 17 - New York Gazette Slavery 1
New-York Gazette (August 17, 1767).

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Aug 17 - New-York Mercury Slavery 1
New-York Mercury (August 17, 1767).

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Aug 17 - New-York Mercury Slavery 2
New-York Mercury (August 17, 1767).

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Aug 17 - New-York Mercury Slavery 3
New-York Mercury (August 17, 1767).

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Aug 17 - New-York Mercury Supplement Slavery 1
Supplement to the New-York Mercury (August 17, 1767).

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Aug 17 - New-York Mercury Supplement Slavery 2
Supplement to the New-York Mercury (August 17, 1767).

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Aug 17 - New-York Mercury Supplement Slavery 3
Supplement to the New-York Mercury (August 17, 1767).

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Aug 17 - New-York Mercury Supplement Slavery 4
Supplement to the New-York Mercury (August 17, 1767).

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Aug 17 - New-York Mercury Supplement Slavery 5
Supplement to the New-York Mercury (August 17, 1767).

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Aug 17 - New-York Mercury Supplement Slavery 6
Supplement to the New-York Mercury (August 17, 1767).

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Aug 17 - New-York Mercury Supplement Slavery 7
Supplement to the New-York Mercury (August 17, 1767).

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Aug 17 - Pennsylvania Chronicle Slavery 1
Pennsylvania Chronicle (August 17, 1767).

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Aug 17 - Pennsylvania Chronicle Slavery 2
Pennsylvania Gazette (August 17, 1767).

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Aug 17 - Pennsylvania Chronicle Slavery 3
Pennsylvania Gazette (August 17, 1767).