The News Media and the Making of America, 1730–1800

National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Institute for School Teachers

July 26-31, 2021 - Worcester, Massachusetts

Please note:
This NEH Institute, originally scheduled for summer 2020, has been postponed to summer 2021. We will conduct a new application and selection process for next year's program. For those who applied this year and would like their applications retained for next year, please contact Kayla Hopper, director of outreach, at Please check this page for updates about next year's program.

This Institute is both a colloquium and a hands-on workshop that will explore how media was used during the Age of the American Revolution, a critical era of change in the American news milieu, in media use, in business, politics, and community life. We will examine how news—in all its various forms—was connected to civic engagement and how media fit into the public and private lives of the American people.

Through readings, discussions, and library workshops with original primary source material, we will seek to answer a variety of questions about news media and news culture in the late colonial period, during the Revolution and founding of the new nation, and in the early republic: What counted as news in early America? How was news gathered, distributed, shared, and consumed? What impact did the distribution of news have on political discussions and events? How was the business of media changing? What impact did law and government policy have? What roles did news and public information play in the lives of ordinary Americans? How might the experience of history shed light on our experience with news and news media today?

This Institute will provide participants with a unique and relevant way to approach the colonial period and the era of the American Revolution. Studying the founding of the country through the lens of news media will help participants help their students to see their own media lives in historical perspective.

Participating teachers will be given a stipend of $1,200 to help defray travel and lodging expenses. The deadline for applying is March 1, 2020.

Exterior of renovated Antiquarian Hall, 2019
Workshop participants in the new Learning Lab, 2019
Participants in a 2018 newspaper symposium
Paul Revere, The Bloody Massacre perpetrated in King - Street Boston, 1770.
Paul Revere, The Bloody Massacre perpetrated in King - Street Boston, 1770.
Massachusetts Spy, or Thomas’s Boston Journal, July 7, 1774. Masthead by Paul Revere.
Massachusetts Spy, or Thomas’s Boston Journal, July 7, 1774 Masthead designed by Paul Revere

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