The Virginia Gazette

The Virginia Gazette was the first newspaper published in Virginia and the first to be published in the area south of the Potomac River in the colonial period. Issues have the following subtitle: “Containing the freshest advices, foreign and domestick”.

The Virginia GazettePublished weekly in Williamsburg, Virginia between 1736 and 1780, The Virginia Gazette contained news covering all of Virginia and also included information from other colonies, Scotland, England and additional countries. The paper appeared in three competing versions from a succession of publishers over the years, some published concurrently, and all under the same title.

William Parks published the first four-page edition on August 6, 1736.  In 1743, Parks built a paper mill in Williamsburg and purchased the raw material to create newsprint from Benjamin Franklin. The paper ceased publication sometime after the death of William Parks, which occurred on April 1, 1750. William Hunter later reestablished the paper under the same title in January 1751.

As Williamsburg was the center of growing tensions in the Virginia Colony which led to the American Revolution, the newspaper was one of the centers of activity in the capital of Virginia, and dutifully published accounts. When at the urging of Gov. Thomas Jefferson the capital was relocated to Richmond in 1780, the newspaper followed. The final issue of The Virginia Gazette produced in Williamsburg was April 8, 1780.

A competing version of The Virginia Gazette was published from 1766-1776 (referred to in Accessible Archives entries as “THE VIRGINIA GAZETTE 2”) and  a third version was published from 1775-1780 (referred to in Accessible Archives as “THE VIRGINIA GAZETTE 3”).

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The publishers of The Virginia Gazette were:

  • William Parks 1736-50
  • William Hunter 1751-61
  • Joseph Royle 1761-65
  • Alexander Purdie & Co. 1765-66
  • Alex. Purdie & John Dixon 1766-75
  • William Rind 1766-73 — VIRGINIA GAZETTE 2
  • Clemintina Rind 1773-74  — VIRGINIA GAZETTE 2
  • John Pinkney 1774-76  — VIRGINIA GAZETTE 2
  • Alex. Purdie 1775-79  — VIRGINIA GAZETTE 3
  • John Dixon & William Hunter Jr. 1775-78
  • John Dixon & Thomas Nicolson 1779-Apr 1780
  • John Clarkson & Augustine Davis 1779-Dec 1780 — VIRGINIA GAZETTE 3

Not all the issues survived. Those available were assembled and microfilmed in 1950, and a subject index was created at the same time. This microfilm was the basis for the current image version.

Several institutions contributed issues for the initial microfilming and are cooperating in the production of the current project:
College of William and Mary; Colonial Williamsburg Foundation; The Johns Hopkins University; Maryland Historical Society; Massachusetts Historical Society; Virginia Historical Society.


  • Part I: 1736-1745
  • Part II: 1746-1755
  • Part III: 1756-1765
  • Part IV: 1766-1775*
  • Part V: 1776-1780*
During these year spans, two and sometimes three versions of the paper were published. All versions are included in the database.

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