The United States' First Newspaper Publick Occurrences, both foreign and domestic, was the first US newspaper. In September 1690, the first multi-page newspaper was produced in Boston. Prior to its inception, one-page newspapers were distributed. The first issue of the Massachusetts News-Letter contained news from across New England, including events in Boston itself.
In addition to news, the paper included advertisements for merchandise sold by local merchants. These advertisements were an important source of income for the paper's publishers - many of whom were also prominent politicians. They also served as political endorsements, as some advertisers sought support from specific candidates.
Other early newspapers include The Pennsylvania Gazette, which began publication in 1765; The National Intelligencer, which started out as a weekly newspaper but became a daily in 1821; and The New York Times, which launched in 1851.
All these newspapers are considered important in their time for establishing trends or giving information about current affairs. Today, they are still used as sources of information about events.
The first newspaper printed in the present-day United States was the Boston Gazette, which began publication in April 1722. It was followed by other newspapers such as the Maryland Journal, the Virginia Gazette, the Philadelphia Gazette, and the Connecticut Courant.
The first colonial newspaper in America, Publick Occurrences Both Forreign and Domestick, was published in Boston on September 25, 1690. It contained news of interest to readers in England as well as America.
In Europe, newspapers had been appearing for more than a century before they were published in America. The first newspaper in what is now Canada was also published in Boston in 1719.
Political papers have been published throughout history, but they weren't called newspapers until much later. The first newspaper was called a "political paper" because that's exactly what it printed: information about politics and politicians.
It started in London where the government was publishing an information sheet about important events happening in other parts of the world. This information wasn't available elsewhere at the time, so it became very popular and many people subscribed to it.
As it gained popularity, the government decided to make it a regular feature in every newspaper. They cover topics such as international affairs, politics, wars, disasters, new technologies, sports events, entertainment news, and anything else that might be relevant or interesting to read about.
The colonial governor shut down the first newspaper in the United States, Publick Occurrences Both Forreign and Domestick (Boston, September 1690), after just one issue. The paper reported on events outside and inside Boston but also contained editorial comments from its editor, William Cunningham. Its demise was due to political infighting among the editors themselves.
Other early newspapers included News-Letter, or Eastern Chronicle (Philadelphia), which began publication in 1772; New-York Daily Advertiser, which started out as a weekly newspaper but became daily in 1796; and Virginia Herald, published from Richmond from 1727 to 1825. In addition, there were several monthly publications that are considered newspapers today including National Advocate, American Museum, Federal Republican, New-Hampshire Patriot, and General Advertiser.
The first newspaper printed in the present-day United States was the Maryland Journal, which began publication in 1730. It was a weekly newspaper that was circulated throughout Maryland. Other early newspapers included The Pennsylvania Gazette, which began publication in 1729; The Boston Post, which started out as a newsletter but became a newspaper in 1732; and The Connecticut Courant, which began publication in 1720.
In all, before the American Revolution broke out, more than 20 newspapers were being published in the colonies.
The Evolution of American Newspapers The first colonial newspapers were published in the early 18th century, kicking off the history of American newspapers. Newspapers in the United States originated as a sideline for printers. They rose to prominence as a political force in the fight for American independence. Following independence, the first amendment was enacted.
You don't need a history degree, or even to have paid attention in your US history survey course as an undergraduate, to realize that American newspapers were extremely political in the nineteenth century. "Editors openly molded the news and their editorial commentary for partisan goals," noted one historian.
On April 24, 1704, John Campbell began distributing the Boston News-Letter, the country's first consistently published newspaper. One of the first newspaper advertisements appeared in the Boston News-Letter on May 8, 1704. It was a real estate advertising for a plantation near Long Island's Oyster Bay. The ad read as follows: "For Sale: A Plantation of 40 Acres of Land, with Dwelling House and Outbuildings. Also, several Cattle, Hogs, Sheep, and Horses."
In addition to containing ads, early newspapers included news items. For example, the Boston News-Letter reported important events that happened in town, such as court cases and elections. This news was printed in small letters at the end of each article, so it could be easily carried by readers traveling between towns. The Boston News-Letter also included poems, essays, and stories by famous authors such as Daniel Defoe and Samuel Johnson.
Many people consider the Pennsylvania Journal to be the first daily newspaper published in America. It started distribution on March 3, 1772. But there were already two other weekly newspapers circulating in Philadelphia prior to the Journal: The American Weekly Magazine and The Pennsylvania Gazette. So, technically, the Journal is not the first daily newspaper published in America.
Boston News-Leader The Boston News-Letter, which debuted on April 24, 1704, is often considered as the earliest continually published newspaper in Massachusetts. The British government largely sponsored it, and it had a limited circulation. Before publishing, the Royal Governor approved all copies. If he objected to any item published, it could not appear in the next issue.
There were other newspapers circulating before this one, but they are mostly regarded as pamphlets rather than newspapers. They usually consisted of short articles, poems, and stories written by individuals rather than being edited by staff writers. Some were broadsides, printed on one side only, that could be bought at the newsstand for a few pennies.
The first newspaper in Boston should not be confused with another paper called the Boston Gazette, which began publication in 1770. That paper was a political organ that circulated mainly among politicians and officials. It was not read by the public at large.
Another important factor to consider is that newspaper names were not always what we think of them today. In the early days, newspapers were small, unimpressive papers sold primarily in town centers or at the local post office. They often included ads from local merchants who wanted to promote their businesses.
In fact, most early newspapers were little more than collections of ads.
There were 200 newspapers published in the United States in 1800. There were 3000 by 1860. Many of the new urban publications established in the 1830s and 40s had remarkable circulation figures. The New York Sun, for example, was read by almost a quarter of all Americans between 1829 and 1869.
The number of daily newspapers in the United States more than doubled between 1800 and 1860. Before the Civil War (1861-65) many newspapers were published on a weekly basis because they failed to attract enough readers or advertisers. But after the war most cities had at least one daily newspaper which is how we know so many people were reading about politics, sports events and entertainment.
Here are some other interesting facts about the 1800s:
In 1900, there were only about 250,000 automobiles in use worldwide. Today that number has increased to more than 500,000, meaning that one out of every two vehicles on the road is a car!
Electricity came into widespread use in the late 1800s as light bulbs were introduced around 1880. It wasn't until the 1890s that electricity began to replace gas for home heating needs.
Radio broadcasting was invented in 1897 by Guglielmo Marconi.