May 25, 2012

Bookbinder Ads & Banishment

My copy of the Spring 2012 issue of American Ancestors magazine arrived in the mail yesterday.  In it, there was a mention that members of the NEHGS have online access to the Readex collection 19th Century U.S. Newspapers, Early American Newspapers, Series I 1690-1876.

Armed with this information, I headed to my computer last evening and began playing.  Keying the term "bookbinder" into the search box after logging in via my NEHGS account, and limiting the search to the year 1776, turned up 22 individual articles.  As I began looking through them, I saw that they were all ads for bookbinders, mostly in New York.  The others were from Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Boston.  Some of the advertisements were duplicates, printed in more than one issue of a particular newspaper.  The ads are interesting on their own, easily establishing the trade in New England, and giving a bit of insight into the occupation.  It appears that many of the bookbinders also sold the books, along with other items such as stationary.  A couple mention printing as well.  It looks like my persona could open up his options, and if I ever decided to pursue it, I might have a good basis for a small business if I ever attend reenactment events as a participant.

The ad below, from the Connecticut Courant, shows that the advertiser was not only a bookbinder, but also a stationer and bookseller.  It also gives a flavor of the political atmosphere of the time.  The Hartford printing office is also mentioned, which, the way I read it, was probably a separate business.

The next three ads come from The Constitutional Gazette, printed in New York.  The first and third again show that bookbinders also sold books and stationary, and that the topics of items being printed were related to the current events of the time.  The second item below is a help-wanted ad, looking for the services of skilled labor.

Another help-wanted ad appears in Boston, this time looking for someone to move to a different state.
Nathaniel Patten again appears, this time in The New-London Gazette, looking for rags for the purpose of making paper.  I like how this ad states how important paper was to the "true Friends to America."
 Next we find advertisements from The New-York Gazette.  Again we find stationers, booksellers, and the military.  These ads contain some of my favorite wording.  From Valentine Nutter: "The said NUTTER binds all Kinds of Printed and Paper BOOKS, in the neatest Manner, on the shortest Notice."  And from Philip Brooks: "He will study to give general satisfaction to his customers, and flatters himself the public will favor him with some encouragement."
 My marketing co-workers would love this one from The Providence Gazette.  It outlines a new publication to be sold by J. Douglas McDougal, Stationer and Bookbinder.  The ad summarizes the dramatic contents of the new book, including mentions of scenes from Lexington and Bunker Hill.  My favorite part, though, is the mention of a discount for bulk buyers. "Great allowances will be made to those who take a quantity."
 Finally, Nathaniel Patten shows up again looking for linen for paper-making.  This ad from Norwich, Connecticut uses the same wording as that of the The New-London Gazette, but the type is set differently, changing the emphasis.
In addition to all of this great information about bookbinders in 1776, I also found the primary documentation that I was looking for in regards to the Banishment Act of the State of Massachusetts.  The full text of the act was printed in The Independent Chronicle and the Universal Advertiser on October 22, 1778 in Boston[1].  William McAlpine, Bookbinder, is listed in the first column.

[1] The Independent Chronicle and the Universal Advertiser; Vol. 11 Iss. 531, Boston, Massachusetts (22 Oct 1778): p. 1. Digital image online, accessed 24 May 2012.

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