What was advertised in a colonial America newspaper 250 years ago this week?
“Has been regularly bred to the tailoring Trade in the most capital house for that Business.”
James Logan, a tailor, was an outsider when he arrived in Annapolis. Like many other artisans who migrated across the Atlantic, he introduced himself to his new community (and prospective clients) in a newspaper advertisement that included an account of his credentials. Until he had an opportunity to establish a reputation in his new home, he relied on his training and experience to recommend him to potential customers.
Logan’s advertisement ran in the August 4, 1771, edition of the Maryland Gazette. He informed readers that “not only has [he] been regularly bred to the tailoring Trade in the most capital House for that Business, in the City of Cork, but also worked for a considerable Time with much Applause, with most eminent Masters in England and Ireland.” Having worked with “eminent Masters” enhanced his training, but also testified to a competence that others who followed his occupation recognized in Logan. Those experiences prepared him to pursue “his Trade in all it’s various Branches,” capable of completing any task requested by clients in his new city “to give the utmost Satisfaction.” He also leveraged his connections to “the most capital House” in Cork and “eminent Masters in England and Ireland” to suggest a certain amount of cachet associated with hiring him.
The tailor also sought to convince prospective customers of his commitment to his craft combined with his desire to serve them. He trumpeted his “superior Ability” and in the same breath promised “constant Adherence to the due Assiduity highly necessary in the Execution” of his new undertaking. Even more verbose than many artisans who advertised in colonial newspapers, Logan aimed to make himself memorable to readers not yet familiar with the garments he made. For the moment, words by necessity substituted for the reputation that he hoped to cultivate in Annapolis as he built his clientele.