November 8

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

Boston Evening-Post (November 8, 1773).

“Ann-Street Advertisements.”

Jonathan Williams, Jr., placed an advertisement for a “Number of the most Fashionable BROAD CLOTHS” and “ENGLISH GOODS in general” in the November 1, 1773, edition of the Boston Evening-Post.  On that day, he ran the same advertisement in the Boston-Gazette.  It appeared again in the Massachusetts Gazette and Boston Weekly News-Letter and the Massachusetts Spy on November 4.  Jeremiah Allen also advertised widely, promoting a “new Supply of Goods in the Hard-Ware Branch” in the same newspapers.  Archibald Cunningham did the same, inserting advertisements for wine, tea, and groceries in all of those newspapers.

That these entrepreneurs advertised in several newspapers simultaneously did not distinguish them from others in Boston and other urban ports with multiple newspapers, but an innovative aspect of their marketing efforts did deviate from standard practices.  Williams, Allen, and Cunningham apparently collaborated in creating a business district where they encouraged consumers to shop.  Their advertisements appeared together under the heading “Ann-Street Advertisements” in the Boston Evening-Post.  Decorative type marked the beginning and end of this set of advertisements.  The same header ran in the Massachusetts Spy, though the notices lacked the decorative type.  Still, a double line followed the last of the three advertisements, in contrast to the single line that separated most advertisements, indicating to observant readers where the section of “Ann-Street Advertisements” concluded.  Those three advertisements received the same treatment in the Massachusetts Gazette and Boston Weekly News-Letter as in the Boston Evening-Post.  Even though Cunningham’s advertisement did not consistently run in the Boston-Gazette, a header for “Ann-Street Advertisements” introduced the notices placed by Allen and Williams.  As in the Massachusetts Spy, the dividing lines indicated that those advertisements constituted a distinct section.  Unfortunately, America’s Historical Newspapers, the most extensive database of early American newspapers, does not include some editions of the Massachusetts Gazette and Boston Post-Boy.  The issue for November 15 features all three advertisements by Allen, Cunningham, and Williams, one after the other under a header for “Ann-street Advertisements.”  Those three entrepreneurs introduced their business district in all five newspapers published in Boston at the time.

The campaign did not continue in all of those newspapers, but it did run in some of them for several weeks.  For instance, the series of “Ann-Street Advertisements,” treated as a section within the paid notices, appeared in the Massachusetts Spy through December 2, running for five consecutive weeks. The advertisements appeared together with their header for three consecutive weeks in both the Boston Evening-Post and the Massachusetts Gazette and Boston Weekly News-Letter.  Allen, Cunningham, and Williams apparently determined that the whole was worth more than the sum of the parts, that they would benefit more from advertising as a collective than marketing their wares separately. Their strategy focused on enticing consumers to visit a commercial district to fulfill various needs while their competitors all focused on a single shop or store.  They likely hoped that cooperating among themselves and coordinating with the local printing offices would multiply the returns on their investments in advertising.

September 6

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

Boston Evening-Post (September 6, 1773).


Not long after Mr. Bates concluded his performances in New York, he arrived in Boston and began advertising exhibitions of his feats of horsemanship in the newspapers there.  He commenced with notices in the Boston Evening-Post and the Massachusetts Gazette and Boston Post-Boy on Monday, September 6, 1773, informing ladies and gentlemen of the city about his performance on Wednesday or, if the weather did not permit, on Friday.

As he had done in his advertisements in New York, he deployed “HORSEMANSHIP” as a headline for his notice and then introduced himself as “The ORIGINAL PERFORMER; Who has had the honor or performing” for a longlist of royalty in Europe.  He declared that he earned “the greatest APPLAUSE” from those regal audiences, but did not expect colonizers in New York to take his word for it.  Instead, he had “Certificates from the several Courts” that they could examine.  In addition, he asserted that the “greatest Judges in the MANLY ART” of horsemanship considered his skills “to excel any Horseman that ever attempted any Thing of the Kind.”  Bates hoped that the promises of such a spectacle would entice audiences in Boston to attend his show.

He had reason to feel confident in the effectiveness of this marketing strategy.  After all, he gave the same pitch in New York.  He may have delivered newspapers, clippings, or perhaps even handbills from that city to the printing offices in Boston or he may have copied out the advertisement from one of those sources.  Whatever method he deployed, he remained consistent in how he introduced himself and described his skills to prospective audiences, likely sticking with what worked.  He also repeated another technique that he used in New York, encouraging anyone interested in the performance to acquire tickets quickly because “No Money will be taken at the Doors, nor Admittance without Tickets.”  Rather than wait until the time and day of the show, Bates aimed to generate ticket sales in advance.  Through experience, he devised a system that he believed worked best for inciting interest and securing his livelihood.

July 26

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

Boston Evening-Post (July 26, 1773).

“Upon the whole, Justice and Equity, Law, Reason and Necessity urges me to draw the following Conclusion.”

A. Bowman defiantly advertised that he would sell a “Large Assortment of ENGLISH, SCOTCH and IRISH GOODS” at his “AUCTION-ROOM” on the “North Side of the Market” in Boston on August 6, 1773. He prefaced the details of the “PUBLIC VENDUE” with a lengthy address “To the PUBLIC” in the July 26 edition of the Boston Evening-Post, providing an overview of recent events involving the General Court and an Act for the Regulation and Limitation of Auctioneers.

Bowman explained that when the Court initially passed the act in February “Seven Persons officiated daily in that Business.”  However, “when the time came that this Act was to be in force, and the Select Men gave out Licences according to the Letter of the Law, Five were set aside.”  Bowman was among the auctioneers that did not receive a license, as he previously lamented in a series of advertisements in several newspapers published in Boston.  In May, those five auctioneers presented petitions to the Court in hopes that “we might be reinstated in our former Business.”  In turn, the Court exercised “Wisdom and Goodness” and passed a new act that permitted the selectmen to bestow six more licenses.  The intention of the Court, according to Bowman, had been to provide relief to the former auctioneers, but when the selectmen appointed six additional auctioneers Bowman learned that he was not among them.  “Cruel Fate!”

Bowman considered his options, “revolving and re-revolving the whole Matter in my Mind,” and decided to “go on with my Business in form as the Law directs,” though lacking a license.  In other words, he intended to obey every aspect of the law except for holding a license granted by the selectmen, asserting that it “is not my fault” and “no Reason has ever been assigned to me” why he did not receive a license.”  Bowman contented that “every Inhabitant of the Town of Boston” knew that the “additional Act was framed & enacted for the sole purpose of relieving me and my fellow Sufferers.”  He therefore upheld “the very Spirit of the Law” by resuming business as an auction, even if he did not adhere to the letter of the law.  He had been forced into that position when the selectmen neglected to act according to the intention of the legislature in passing the new act.

In addition, Bowman argued that he had a right to earn his livelihood, especially since the colony assessed taxes on him.  “Early after my Arrival in this Province,” he explained, “the Laws of it soon found me out and commanded me to contribute for their Support.”  He had paid his share “all along,” but a few weeks earlier “a large Demand was made upon me from that Quarter, and considering my hard Fate of late I was very unable to answer.”  To his chagrin, “this Creditor takes no denial, and tome made no Abatement.”  On the one hand, the law demanded that Bowman pay taxes, but, on the other, a law passed with the intention of allowing him to pursue his occupation instead prevented him from doing so.  Such injustice did not represent the “Genius of America.”

Instead, it demanded a response.  Bowman resolved to resume his business as an auctioneer, realizing that he risked prosecution “for a supposed Breach of a Law.”  In that case, he anticipated that a “Jury of my Peers” would hear his case and acknowledge what had actually happened.  He also encouraged the “Compassionate Legislative Body who have already exerted their Authority for my Relief” would once again address his predicament and “adhere to the same human Principles on which they founded the late Act.”

The community also had an opportunity to respond when Bowman once again “contend[ed] for my daily Bread” according to the “honour and fidelity with which I conducted my business in former times.”  With a flourish at the end of his lengthy account, Bowman declared that “Justice and Equity, Law, Reason and Necessity” prompted him to hold an auction at the end of the following week.  “A. BOWMAN, Auctioneer,” had no choice but to follow that path.  He knew it and so did the public, at least once he published an advertisement that framed the narrative to demonstrate how much he had been wronged throughout the entire ordeal.

July 12

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

Boston Evening-Post (July 12, 1773).

“The Particulars of the late melancholy and shocking TRAGEDY.”

Ripped from the headlines!  Just a few weeks after the “melancholy and shocking TRAGEDY, which lately happened at SALEM, near Boston, the 17th of June 1773,” Ezekiel Russell advertised a broadside commemorating the deaths of ten drowning victims, three men and seven women.  Compounding the tragedy, five of the women were pregnant, “two or three of them far advanced.”[1]  Several boats had departed from Salem’s harbor “on Parties of Pleasure,” including one boat that took its passengers to Baker’s Island, “where they went ashore, staid and dined.”  When the passengers boarded again, the boat sailed to another part of the island “for the Purpose of Fishing” and later anchored between Baker’s Island and Misery Island, “where they drank Tea.”

When the weather began to look threatening, they determined to try for Marblehead Harbour.”  As the wind intensified, the men recommended to William Ward, “the Commander of the Boat,” that he lower the sails, but Ward insisted that “the Boat would stand it.”  The passengers, “trusting his Judgment, thought proper to submit.”  The women huddled in the cabin, out of the wind and out of the way of the men attempting to get the boat to shore.  When a “sudden, smart Gust of Wind canted the Boat over on one Side,” one of the men, John Becket, had time to open the cabin door and warn the women that “they were all going to the Bottom.”  The Boat “instantly sunk.”  Becket and a “Lad about 15 Years old” were the only survivors.  Becket reported that heard the women shrieking in their last moments.  Observers on shore in Marblehead, about a mile distant, saw what happened and, “by their timely and vigorous Efforts,” launched a small schooner to retrieve Becket and the youth from the water, but it was too late to aid Ward and the women.

Russell presented an even more dramatic scene when he marketed the broadside, suggesting that the boat had been closer to shore than the newspaper accounts indicated.  “Shocking indeed must one imagine it for their Friends on the Shore at Marblehead, and at the small Distance of 100 Yards,” he proclaimed, “to behold these distressed People just launching into Eternity, and not able to afford them the least of their wonted Assistance!”  Ramping up his efforts to play on the emotions of prospective customers, Russell became even more melodramatic: “Surely the Shrieks and Cries of the poor drowning Souls, which seemed to reach the Heavens (especially the Lamentations of the Women, as the pregnant Situation of five of them made the Scene more dreadful) must pierce the Soul of the Spectator, and melt his Heart, even were it adamant!”  It was not Russell who was ghoulish in marketing this broadside, but rather readers who could learn of this “melancholy and shocking TRAGEDY” without it affecting them.  They could demonstrate that the events had indeed moved them by purchasing and displaying the broadside “Decorated with the Figure of Ten Coffins.”

The following day, colonizers from Salem and Marblehead located and raised the sunken boat.  They recovered the bodies of six of women, but did not find the bodies of Mrs. Diggadon and the three men.  They returned the bodies of the women to “the same Wharf from which so much Cheerfulness and Gaiety they departed the Day before.”  At the funerals, the “Solemnity of the several Processions drew together a vast Number of People” of “all Ranks” to mourn the victims of such a tragedy.

That account of the tragedy first appeared in the June 22 edition of the Essex Gazette, published in Salem.  Within the next ten days, the Boston Evening-Post reprinted the news on June 28 and the Massachusetts Gazette and Boston Weekly News-Letter did so on July 1.  Even if colonizers in Salem, Boston, and other towns did not read about the tragedy, they almost certainly heard about it given the way that local news, especially something as “melancholy and shocking” as these drownings, usually spread by word-of-mouth much more quickly than printers could set type.

Russell provided an opportunity for consumers to acquire a keepsake of the tragedy.  He anticipated that they would be eager to do so, offering “Great Allowance … to travelling Traders, who buy [the broadside] by the Groce [or Gross].”  In other words, peddlers who would disseminate the broadside throughout the countryside received a significant discount for purchasing by volume.  Russell claimed that he did not consider it macabre to advertise and sell the broadside, asserting that it was “printed in this Form at the Request of the Friends and Acquaintance of the Ten deceased Persons.”  To incite sales, whether at his shop or from itinerant peddlers, he suggested that it was “very proper to be posted up in every House in New-England, to keep in Remembrance the most sorrowful Event, of the kind, that has happened in America since its first Discovery.”  Even as Russell focused on the emotional response to such a harrowing story, he participated in the commodification of recent events, just as printers, booksellers, and others did following the Boston Massacre and the death of George Whitefield.

The Library of Congress makes an image of the broadside available to the public.


[1] This narrative draws from the account in the Essex Gazette.  That account also appeared in the Boston Evening-Post and the Massachusetts Gazette and Boston Weekly News-Letter and on the broadside.

June 20

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

Supplement to the Boston-Gazette (June 14, 1773).


Isaac Greenwood may not have believed that imitation was the sincerest form of flattery when John Cutler decided to run advertisements adorned with a woodcut that closely replicated the image of genteel woman shaded by an umbrella that he had included in many of his advertisements for the past couple of years.  Greenwood first used the image in May 1771 and continued incorporating it into his newspaper notices in 1772 and 1773.  In the summer of 1773, he launched a new advertising campaign that featured the woodcut and the headline “NOT IMPORTED” to underscore that he made the “UMBRILLOES” he sold while simultaneously encouraging consumers to support domestic manufactures by choosing them over imported alternatives.

Boston Evening-Post (June 14, 1773).

Cutler also made “Umbrilloes of all sorts for Ladies and Gentlemen … in the best Manner.”  In addition, he “mended and covered” old umbrellas.  As Greenwood’s latest advertisement with the image of the woman and umbrella appeared in supplement that accompanied the June 14 edition of the Boston-Gazette, Cutler debuted his strikingly similar woodcut in an advertisement in the Boston Evening-Post on the same day.  He then took the rather extraordinary step of having the woodcut transferred to the printing offices of the Massachusetts Gazette and Boston Weekly News-Letter in time to run in the June 17 edition.  Such transfers continued for the next several weeks as Cutler increased the exposure for the image by inserting it in more than one newspaper.

Massachusetts Gazette and Boston Weekly News-Letter (June 17, 1773).

Some prospective customers may have considered the woman depicted in Cutler’s advertisements more elegant than the one in Greenwood’s notices.  Both wore necklaces.  In the original image, the necklace hugged the woman’s chin, making it difficult to distinguish, while in the imitation the necklace hung lower on the woman’s neck and featured a pendant that enhanced it.  The original image offered a view of the woman’s decolletage, while the imitation placed greater emphasis on embroidery and other adornments.  The hairstyles differed as well.  The woman in the original image wore a high roll, but some viewers may have mistaken it for a turban.  In the imitation, the woman had her hair pile high upon her head, but the image suggested elaborate curls and even a tendril that hung below her right ear to frame her face.

In several ways, Cutler’s new image was superior to the familiar one that Greenwood had circulated for more than two years.  Cutler could have chosen another image to represent his business in the public prints.  After all, he advised prospective customers that he made umbrellas “at the Golden Cock, in Marlborough Street.”  Some advertisers experimented with branding and logos in the late eighteenth century, consistently associating an image with their shops and their goods.  Greenwood may not have been very happy that Cutler devised an image that so closely resembled the one that already represented his business.

May 24

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

Boston Evening-Post (May 24, 1773).

“A sprightly, active BOY … not much inclined to Macaronism, is wanted as an Apprentice.”

Thomas Fleet and John Fleet sought an apprentice to assist in their printing office at the Heart and Crown in Boston.  On May 24, 1773, the printers placed a notice in their own newspaper, the Boston Evening-Post, to advise readers that a “sprightly, active BOY, that can read and write, & not much inclined to Macaronism, is wanted as an Apprentice to the Printing Business.”

Most of those credentials make sense to modern readers.  The work undertaken in a printing office was physically demanding, so the Fleets needed a “sprightly, active” apprentice who was up to the challenge.  That apprentice would also assist in setting type and perhaps with some of the bookkeeping, making the ability to read and write almost essential (though some apprentices did learn to read in the process of setting type).  But what about a prospective apprentice “not much inclined to Macaronism”?

In that instance, the Fleets used a slang term recognized by eighteenth-century readers.  They did not seek a “Macaroni” or, as the Oxford English Dictionary explains, a “dandy or fop [who] extravagantly imitated Continental tastes and fashions.”  The OED also includes an example of “Macaroni” in use in 1770, revealing the derision bestowed on the young men who adopted the style: “There is indeed a kind of animal, neither male nor female, a thing of the neuter gender, lately started up amongst us.  It is called a Macaroni.  It talks without meaning, it smiles without pleasantry, it eats without appetite, it rides without exercise, it wenches without passion.”  In the colonies as in Britain, Macaronis participated in the consumer revolution to excess, wallowing in luxury and vice.

Such a character would not do in a printing office … and the Fleets did not want their business to become the venue for parents to attempt to correct such behaviors demonstrated by sons of an appropriate age to enter into apprenticeship agreements.  Many other employment advertisements of the era included “sober” (or, turning to the OED once again, “moderate in demeanour … indicating or implying a serious mind or purpose”) as one of the credentials.  The Fleets could have included “sober” in their notice, but perhaps they had recent encounters with Macaronis that made them particularly cautious about bringing an apprentice with such proclivities into their printing office.  They made it clear that Macaronis need not apply at the Heart and Crown.

April 19

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

Boston Evening-Post (April 19, 1773).

Those who are acquainted with his Prices, will not need to be told that he sells at low Rates.”

Samuel Eliot made consumer choice and low prices the centerpieces of the advertisement he inserted in the April 19, 1773, edition of the Boston Evening-Post.  He first established that he stocked a “very fine Assortment of English and India Piece GOODS.”  He also stated that his inventory included a “Variety of Genteel Looking-Glasses” as well as “Stationary, Cutlery, and Hard Ware.”  He did not provide as extensive a list of individual items as Caleb Blanchard did for his “large and general Assortment of English and India GOODS” or Daniel Waldo did for his “compleat Assortment of London, Bristol, Birmingham, and Sheffield Hard Ware Goods,” but he did conclude with “&c. &c.” (an abbreviation for et cetera) to indicate that he sold goods beyond those that appeared in his advertisement.

Rather than listing dozens of items like some of his competitors, Eliot devoted more attention to promoting his prices.  In a paragraph that appeared in italics, he declared, “Those who are acquainted with his Prices, will not need to be told that he sells at low Rates.”  Even though they did not need to be told, Eliot offered a reminder that simultaneously presented an opening for elaborating on his prices for “those who are not” already aware of the bargains he offered.  He invited them “to call on him,” confidently asserting that once they visited his shop near Dock Square or his store on Wilson’s Lane they “shall be satisfied he makes no idle Profession, when he engages to sell his Goods on the most reasonable Terms.”  Eliot suggested that he set such low prices that many consumers already associated good deals with his merchandise.  For those not already aware, he issued a challenge to confirm his “low Rates” for themselves.  Getting prospective customers into one of his locations, Eliot likely surmised, increased the chances of making sales, especially if his prices were indeed as low as he suggested.  Other merchants and shopkeepers, like Ebenezer Storer, made passing references to “the lowest Rates” for their goods.  Eliot, in contrast, encouraged engagement with readers of the Boston Evening-Post by creating a narrative around his prices.

April 5

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

Boston Evening-Post (April 5, 1773).

“No Good will be received by him of any Servants or Minors.”

Martin Bicker launched a new enterprise in Boston in the early 1770s.  He offered his services as a broker who “receive[s] in all sorts of English and Scotch Goods, Houshold Furniture,” and other items and “does engage to raise the Cash for such Goods delivered [to] him for Sale.”  In so doing, he put himself in competition most directly with auctioneers in the city, though he also gave consumers another alternative to buying from shopkeepers.  Retailers also had the option to purchase wares from Bicker rather than from merchants.  Still, Bicker positioned him services primarily as an alternative to those provided by auctioneers in the city.  In an advertisement in the April 5, 1773, edition of the Boston Evening-Post, he declared that he paid cash for goods that clients entrusted to him “with as quick Dispatch and to good Advantage as can be done at any Auction whatever.”  In addition, he concluded with a nota bene directed at buyers, declaring that he “has for Sale a Variety of English and other Goods, which may be had as cheap as at any VENDUE” or auction.  Bicker noted that he ran his brokerage “At the RED FLAG,” a symbol usually associated with auctions but appropriated here for his own purposes.

Given that the broker offered secondhand goods for sale, he aimed to reassure the public that he did not peddle stolen items.  Bicker stopped short of allowing others to examine his ledgers, but he did promise that “no Goods will be received by him of any Servants or Minors.”  That meant that he did not accept items delivered by all sorts of free and unfree laborers who fell within the category of servants, including indentured servants, apprentices, and enslaved men and women.  Bicker realized that these subordinates sometimes stole goods from their employers, masters, or enslavers and then sold or traded them.  He also refused items from children and youth who similarly lacked authority when it came to disposing of goods.  In his efforts to make his brokerage a success, Bicker pursued two strategies in his advertisement.  He presented his services as equal to those in the auction houses already familiar to residents of Boston while simultaneously encouraging confidence in his integrity as an honest dealer who did not accept any and all merchandise sent his way.  Instead, he exercised appropriate discretion that testified to his overall trustworthiness.

March 22

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

Boston-Gazette (March 22, 1773).


Within a week of Benjamin Edes and John Gill announcing that “Dr. CHURCH’S ORATION will be Published by the Printers hereof as soon as possible,” advertisements for that pamphlet appeared in three of Boston’s newspapers.  Edes and Gill referred to the address that Dr. Benjamin Church delivered “At the Request of the Inhabitants of the Town of BOSTON” on the third anniversary of the Boston Massacre “to COMMEMORATE the BLOODY TRAGEDY.”  Edes and Gill reported on the commemorations in their newspaper, the Boston-Gazette, on March 8, 1773, reporting that Church spoke about “the dangerous Tendency of Standing Armies” to the “universal Applause of his Audience.”  Furthermore, “his Fellow Citizens voted him their Thanks, and unanimously requested a Copy of his Oration for the Press.”  In the next weekly issue of the Boston-Gazette, Edes and Gill advised the public that they would soon publish Church’s Oration.

Boston Evening-Post (March 22, 1773).

Three days later, the Massachusetts Gazette and Boston Weekly News-Letter carried a notice that the “THIRD EDITION, corrected by the AUTHOR” was “Just Publish’d” and sold by Edes and Gill as well as Thomas Fleet and John Fleet, the printers of the Boston Evening-Post.  Apparently, Joseph Greenleaf was the first printer to take Church’s Oration to press, but Edes and Gill produced a superior edition.  In promoting the third edition, the printers gave their advertisement a privileged place in the Boston-Gazette.  It appeared as the first item in the first column on the first page of the March 22 issue, making it difficult for readers to overlook.  The same day, the Fleets ran the same notice in the Boston Evening-Post.  Although not as prominently displayed as in the Boston-Gazette, the placement likely received special attention.  Rather than nestled among the dozens of advertisements on the third and fourth pages, it ran as the sole advertisement on the second page.  As readers moved from “Proceedings of the Town of Westminster” to news from London that arrived in the colonies via New York, they encountered the advertisement for Church’s Oration.  In its own way, that notice served as news, continuing the coverage of current events and shaping how colonizers viewed their place within the empire.

February 21

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

Boston Evening-Post (February 15, 1773).

“Early Charlton, early Hotspur, early Golden Hotspur.”

For colonizers in Boston and nearby towns, it was a sign that spring was coming!  The first advertisement for garden seeds appeared in local newspapers on February 15, 1773.  In the late 1760s and the early 1770s, seed sellers, most of them women, took to the pages of the public prints to advertise their wares when they believed that winter passed its halfway point.  Susanna Renken was the first in 1773, just as she had been in 1768 and 1770.  Soon, several other women who advertised seeds each year would join her, as would a smaller number of men.  Indeed, shopkeeper John Adams placed the second advertisement for seeds in newspapers printed in Boston in 1773, but it did not take long for women to outnumber him with their advertisements.

Renken, already familiar to many readers in part due to her annual advertising campaign, had the market to her herself for a few days.  On February 15, she ran notices with identical copy in two of the three newspapers published in Boston that day, the Boston Evening-Post and the Boston-Gazette.  She focused primarily on a long list of seeds, but concluded by mentioning some grocery items, a “Variety of China Bowls and Dishes,” and an “Assortment of India and English Goods.”  Most of her female competitors usually did not promote other items, but Renken recognized an opportunity to encourage other sales, especially if customers were not quite ready to purchase garden seeds in the middle of February.  After all, many of the headlines in other advertisements still hawked “WINTER GOODS.

Massachusetts Gazette and Boston Weekly News-Letter (February 18, 1773).

She had the public prints to herself for only three days.  Adams inserted his advertisement in the Massachusetts Gazette and Boston Weekly News-Letter on February 18.  Renken did not expand her advertising to that newspaper or the Massachusetts Spy.  Her next notices ran once again in the Boston Evening-Post and the Boston-Gazette and, for the first time that year, the Massachusetts Gazette and Boston Post-Boy on February 22.  Other women who participated in the annual ritual joined her on that day, Elizabeth Clark and Nowell, Elizabeth Dyar, and Elizabeth Greenleaf in the Supplement to the Boston-Gazette and Elizabeth Greenleaf in the Massachusetts Gazette and Boston Post-Boy.  Ebenezer Oliver, who inherited the business from his mother, Bethiah Oliver, and invoked her name in his notice, also advertised in the Supplement to the Boston-Gazette, as did John Adams.  A few days later, John Adams, Elizabeth Greenleaf, and Ebenezer Oliver advertised in the Massachusetts Gazette and Boston Weekly News-Letter and Lydia Dyar, Elizabeth Greenleaf, and Anna Johnson advertised in the Massachusetts Spy on February 25.  By then, Renken decided that she would increase the number of newspapers carrying her advertisements, perhaps after noticing that her competitors launched their campaigns.  She also placed a notice in the February 25 edition of the Massachusetts Spy.  For a few days Renken was the sole seed seller promoting her merchandise in Boston’s newspapers, but it soon became a very crowded field.