The Newspaper and the Culture of Print in the Early American Republic


American Antiquarian Society
185 Salisbury Street
Worcester, MA 01609
United States

Led by David Paul Nord and John Nerone

detail from the Boston Notion mastheadTo write his classic History of Printing in America (1810), Isaiah Thomas collected newspapers. He knew well that the newspaper was the most common and most characteristic product of the early American press. This week-long seminar at the American Antiquarian Society, the library that Isaiah Thomas founded in 1812, will explore American print culture through the newspaper in the early republic.

The seminar will focus on the material base of newspaper printing and production, on the business side of newspapers, and on the readers of newspapers and the role that newspapers played in their public and private lives. Class sessions will include readings and discussions on the history of newspapers and the early republic as well as hands-on sessions with materials from the AAS's unrivaled collections. Participants will have the opportunity to work with original newspapers and other documents to study newspaper form, business strategies, and cultural uses.

The seminar will be led by David Paul Nord and John Nerone. Nord and Nerone, who have both held fellowships at the American Antiquarian Society, believe that the AAS is the best place in the country for such a seminar. At the core of the Society's collections are those early newspapers gathered by Isaiah Thomas in the first decade of the nineteenth century. The Society has steadily added to that core since 1812 and has also collected many supporting materials such as business records, newsboy broadsides, organizational newsletters, and other ephemeral documents related to the newspaper trade. The AAS collections include more than 15,000 different newspaper titles.

While this seminar should be of particular interest to scholars of historical media and communications, others working primarily in history, literature, and allied fields in early American culture may also gain an understanding of how to use this rich source material in their studies.

Seminar Leader
Seminar Leader