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Printing In America

( Originally Published Early 1900's )



Printing was introduced into America at Mexico by the Viceroy Mendoza in 1536. The first book printed was the Escala espiritual de San Juan Climaco, of which no copy is known to exist; but the oldest American book now extant is the Manual de Adultos, dated 1540, of which only the last four leaves are to be found in the library of the Cathedral of Toledo. The name of the earliest printer is a matter of question.

Cambridge, Massachusetts, is entitled to the distinction of having the first printing press in North America, which was under the charge of Stephen Daye. For this press the colony was mainly indebted to the Rev. Jesse Clover, a nonconformist minister possessed of a considerable estate, who had left England to settle among his friends in Massachusetts. Some gentlemen of Amsterdam also "gave towards furnishing of a printing press with letters, forty-nine pounds and something more." This was about 1638. The first book issued was the Bay Psalm Book, in 1640.

The first book issued iii the Middle Colonies was an almanac, printed by William Bradford in 1685, near Philadelphia. Bradford was brought out from England in 1684 by William Penn. As the government of Pennsylvania became very restrictive in regard to the press, Bradford in 1693 removed to New York, and was appointed printer to that colony. where he established, in 1725, the New York Gazette, the first newspaper published there. He died May 23, 1752, after an active and useful life of eighty-nine years.

The first newspaper in America was the Boston News Letter, which was first issued by John Campbell on Monday, April 21, 1704; it was regularly published for nearly seventy-two years. The second was the Boston Gazette, begun December 21, 1719. The third was the American Weekly Mercury, issued in Philadelphia, by Andrew Bradford, on December 22, 1719. James Franklin, an elder brother of Benjamin, established the New England Courant, August 17, 1721.

The oldest living paper of the United States is the New Hampshire Gazette, published at Portsmouth, now (Oct. 7, 1899) one hundred and forty-three years old.

The North American and United States Gazette leads the existing daily press of this country in point of antiquity. It is the successor of the Pennsylvania Packet (begun in 1771 and becoming a daily paper in 1781), and is still the chief commercial journal of Philadelphia.

The first paper mill in America was established near Germantown, Pa., in 1690, by William Rittenhouse.



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