The Pennsylvania Gazette

The Pennsylvania GazetteThe Pennsylvania Gazette was one of the United States’ most prominent newspapers from 1728—before the time period of the American Revolution—until 1800. Published in Philadelphia from 1728 through 1800, The Pennsylvania Gazette is considered The New York Times of the 18th century. It was first published by Samuel Keimer and was the second newspaper to be published in Pennsylvania under the name The Universal Instructor in all Arts and Sciences: and Pennsylvania Gazette, alluding to Keimer’s intention to print out a page of Ephraim Chambers’ Cyclopaedia, or Universal Dictionary of Arts and Sciences in each copy.

On October 2, 1729, Benjamin Franklin and Hugh Meredith bought the paper and shortened its name, as well as dropping Keimer’s grandiose plan to print out the Cyclopaedia. Franklin not only printed the paper but also often contributed pieces under aliases. His newspaper soon became the most successful in the colonies. This newspaper, among other firsts, would print the first political cartoon in America, “Join, or Die,” authored by Franklin himself. The Pennsylvania Gazette ceased publication in 1800, ten years after Franklin’s death.

Duplessis portrait of Ben Franklin

Duplessis portrait of Ben Franklin

The Pennsylvania Gazette provides the reader with a first-hand view of colonial America, the American Revolution and the New Republic, and offers important social, political and cultural perspectives of each of the periods. Thousands of articles, editorials, letters, news items and advertisements cover the Western Hemisphere, from the Canadian Maritime Provinces through the West Indies and North and South America, presenting a detailed glimpse of issues and lifestyles of the times.

Also included is the full-text of such important writings as the Declaration of Independence, the ConstitutionLetters from a Farmer, Thomas Payne’s Common SenseThe Federalist Papers and much more. It is claimed that the publication later reemerged as The Saturday Evening Post.

Collection Notes

The Pennsylvania Gazette is divided into four separate folios. The periods covered by these folios include:

  • Folio I: “Benjamin Franklin’s Newspaper” (1728–1750)
  • Folio II: “The French & Indian War” (1751–1765)
  • Folio III: “The American Revolution” (1766–1783)
  • Folio IV: “The New Republic” (1784–1800)

The Pennsylvania Gazette Collection, while almost completely composed of articles from The Pennsylvania Gazette, also contains approximately 2900 articles from the publication the Pennsylvania Packet and a dozen or so articles from the Maryland Gazette.

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