1783-1815: Communications: Chronology

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1783-1815: Communications: Chronology




  • Thirty-five weekly newspapers are published in the United States.
  • 30 May The Pennsylvania Evening Post and Daily Advertiser becomes the first daily newspaper in the country.
  • 22 Aug. The Pennsylvania Evening Post and Daily Advertiser begins to use newsboys to sell papers on the street.
  • Oct. Boston Magazine begins publication.
  • 27 Oct. Cornelius Bradford reopens the New York Merchants Coffeehouse, which had operated under British authority during the Revolutionary War.


  • 21 Sept. The Pennsylvania Packet, a weekly newspaper, becomes a daily published by John Dunlap and D. C. Claypoole; it will be the most influential business paper for the next fourteen years.


  • The U.S. Post Office arranges for private coach operators to carry mail on north-south routes. This is the first use of private contractors to carry mail.
  • The state of Massachusetts taxes newspapers and other reading materials.
  • Postmaster General Ebenezer Hazard allows newspaper printers to exchange papers through the mail for free.
  • 23 Feb. The New York Morning Post becomes a daily paper.
  • 1 Mar. The New York Daily Advertiser becomes New Yorks second daily paper.


  • Sept. Mathew Carey and four partners begin Columbian Magazine in Philadelphia.
  • Oct. Boston Magazine publishes its last issue.


  • The Constitution requires publication of debates.
  • Jan. Mathew Carey launches a new magazine, American Museum.
  • Apr. Francis Hopkinson assumes editorial duties at Columbian Magazine.
  • Nov.Dec. The daily debates in the Pennsylvania constitutional convention are published.


  • Congress establishes the first east-west postal route, a 250-mile link between Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.


  • The first American religious magazine, American Magazine, begins publishing.
  • The first American juvenile magazine, the Childrens Magazine, begins in Hartford, Connecticut.
  • Jan. Isaiah Thomas begins publishing Massachusetts Magazine.
  • 15 Apr. John Fenno begins publishing the Gazette of the United States.


  • There are seventy-five post offices in the United States, with 1, 875 miles of post roads.
  • 1 Oct. The first issue of Benjamin Franklin Baches Philadelphia General Advertiser is published.



  • 20 Feb. Congress establishes postal routes with the passage of the Post Office Act. In addition, newspapers are admitted freely into the mail for exchange purposes between printers; otherwise the postal rate for newspapers is one cent each.
  • Mar. The National Gazette begins a series of attacks on Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamiltons campaign for national economic development.
  • 4 Aug. Hamilton launches an attack on Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson in the Gazette of the United States.


  • The Mechanic Library Society is founded in New Haven, Connecticut.
  • Baltimores Free Universal Magazine is launched, the first American magazine published south of Philadelphia.
  • Dec. John Fenno changes his paper from a semiweekly publication to an evening daily under the revised title Gazette of the United States and Evening Advertiser.


  • Benjamin Franklin Bache renames his paper the General Advertiser and Aurora.
  • The Typographical Society of New York secures wages of one dollar a day for printers.
  • 20 Feb. The U.S. Senate, which had been meeting in secrecy, decides to allow journalists into its next session.
  • 15 Apr. Courrier Français, the first foreign-language daily paper in the United States, is printed in Philadelphia.
  • 8 May The Post Office extends free exchange privileges to magazines; it also limits fees for newspapers mailed within a state to one cent. At the time newspapers make up 70 percent of the mails weight and generate 3 percent of postal revenue.


  • There are 453 post offices and 13, 207 miles of post roads in the country.
  • A social library is founded at Belpre, Ohio.
  • Jan. Rev. Samuel Williams publishes Rural Magazine, or Vermont Repository, in Rutland, Vermont.
  • Jan.Dec. Philadelphian Samuel Harrison Smith begins publishing American Monthly Review or Literary Chronicle.


  • The Massachusetts Magazine stops publication; it is the longest-lasting eighteenth-century American magazine.
  • The U.S. Post Office establishes a regular schedule of stagecoach service on a north-south post road.
  • Postal clerk Abraham Bradley Jr. draws a detailed map of the north-south postal route, with arrival and departure times of the coach.
  • 15 Aug. Samuel Harrison Smith publishes New World, which will become a daily paper two months later.
  • 19 Sept. The American Daily Advertiser publishes George Washingtons Farewell Address.


  • Jan. The South Carolina Weekly Museum begins publication.
  • Jan.Feb. The Weekly Museum, published in Baltimore every Sunday for two months, is the first Sunday newspaper in the nation.
  • 4 Mar. English journalist William Cobbett publishes Porcupines Gazette and Daily Advertiser in Philadelphia.
  • 24 June The Pittsburgh Gazette begins using locally made paper.
  • July The Medical Repository is published in New York, the first American scientific and medical journal; it will continue until 1827.
  • 16 Aug. Samuel Harrison Smith ceases publication of New World.
  • 16 Nov. Samuel Harrison Smith purchases the Gazetteer from Joseph Gales and changes its name to the Universal Gazette.


  • The state of Pennsylvania gives a $5, 000 subsidy to Binney and Ronaldson to set up a modern type foundry.
  • 29 June Benjamin Franklin Bache appears in court to answer charge of seditious libel against President John Adams.
  • 14 July Congress passes the Sedition Act.
  • 17 July William Durrell, the New York publisher of the Mount Pleasant Register, is arrested for sedition.
  • Aug. John Fenno, son of the editor of the Gazette of the United States, physically attacks Benjamin Franklin Bache on a street in Philadelphia, biting his knuckle.
  • 10 Sept. Benjamin Franklin Bache dies in a yellow fever epidemic.
  • 14 Sept. John Fenno dies of yellow fever.
  • 1 Oct. Congressman Matthew Lyon launches the magazine Scourge of Aristocracy and Repository of Important Political Truths to challenge Federalists and to contest the Sedition Act.
  • 5 Oct. Matthew Lyon is indicted for sedition; he is convicted three days later and sentenced to four months in jail.
  • Dec. Matthew Lyon is overwhelmingly reelected to Congress.


  • The Franklin Typographical Association is founded in New York and succeeds in raising wages of printers to seven dollars a week.
  • 2 Mar. Congress allows the postmaster general to require newspaper subscribers to pay part of the postage in advance.
  • Oct. Luther Baldwin is fined $150 for critical remarks he made in July concerning President John Adams.


  • Jan. James Thomson Callender publishes The Prospect Before Us.
  • Feb. Postmaster General Joseph Habersham tries to discourage post offices from renting boxes for mail; instead, he wants to establish penny posts, which make home delivery in urban areas.
  • 4 Apr. William Durrell is convicted of sedition.
  • 12 Apr. Charles Holt is convicted of sedition.
    President John Adams grants a pardon to William Durrell, the only Republican he will pardon for sedition.
  • May The House of Representatives votes to repeal the Sedition Act.
  • 24 May Callender indicted for sedition.
  • June Callender convicted of sedition, sentenced to nine months in jail, and fined $480.
  • Aug. Postmaster General Joseph Habersham institutes the hub-and-spoke system of sorting and delivering mail. Some post offices are designated as distribution centers while others become branch depots.
  • 24 Oct. Republicans in New York publish Letter from Alexander Hamilton, Concerning the Public Conduct and Character of John Adams, Esq., President of the United States.
  • 31 Oct. Samuel Harrison Smith publishes National intelligencer and Washington Advertiser, the first newspaper in Washington, D.C.; it will become the official paper of the Jefferson administration.
  • Dec. John Fenno, publisher of Gazette of the United States and Evening Advertiser, is fined $2, 500 by a Pennsylvania court for libeling a Republican.


  • Jan. The first issue of The Port Folio, edited by Joseph Dennie, appears.
  • 3 Mar. The Sedition Act expires.
  • 16 Mar. President Thomas Jefferson pardons James Thomson Callender and other journalists punished under the Sedition Act.
  • 16 Nov, The New-York Evening Post, founded by Alexander Hamilton, prints its first issue.


  • A social library is founded in Cincinnati, Ohio.
  • 1 June The first meeting of the American Company of Booksellers occurs in New York. The group offers a fifty-dollar gold medal for the best printers ink.


  • 19 Sept. The New-York Evening Post reports that the Philadelphia Typographical Society contributed $83.50 for relief of New York printers suffering in a yellow fever outbreak.
  • Nov. Phineas Adams and Rev. William Emerson of Boston publish the first issue of Monthly Anthology, or Magazine of Polite Literature.


  • Abraham Bradley revises the map of the national postal routes.
  • The American Company of Booksellers offers a fifty-dollar gold medal for best paper and binding.
  • Thomas Langroth of Pennsylvania patents a new machine for making paper.
  • The Ames, Ohio, social library is founded.


  • A library is established in Dayton, Ohio.
  • 3 Oct. Rev. William Emerson and other Boston intellectuals form the Anthology Society to publish the Monthly Anthology.
  • 23 Oct. Members of the Anthology Society vote to establish a library.


  • A library is founded in Vincennes, Indiana.
  • May The Anthology Society opens a reading room in Boston, furnished with European and American newspapers and literary and political pamphlets. It is open to all who pay a ten-dollar yearly subscription fee.


  • A social library is founded in New Haven, Connecticut.
  • 1 Jan. Members of Bostons Anthology Society announce a plan to organize a library, similar to Athenaeum in Liverpool, England.
  • 7 Apr. The Boston Athenaeum is opened.
  • Dec. Congress discusses using an optical telegraph system of transmitting messages via light signals from a series of high towers from Washington, D.C., to New Orleans.


  • The New York Observer publishes the second Sunday newspaper in the United States.
  • 31 Aug. Detroits first newspaper, the Michigan Essay, or Impartial Observer, is printed in both English and French.
  • Oct. The Presbyterian synod excludes Washington, Pennsylvania, postmaster Hugh Wylie from communion when he opens his post office on Sunday.


  • Apr. Congress revises the Postal Act, requiring local postmasters to deliver all mail on the day it is received and to open post offices on the day the mail arrives, including Sunday.


  • 7 Sept. The first issue of Niles Weekly Register is published in Baltimore by Hezekiah Niles.


  • Nov. Isaiah Thomas and others found the American Antiquarian Society in Worcester, Massachusetts, to preserve source materials on American history.


  • Congress allows Dr. James Smith of Maryland to send his smallpox vaccine through the mail free of charge.
  • Feb. Washington Irving, editor of Select Review, changes its name to Analectic Magazine.


  • 14 Feb. The Charleston Courier prints the first news in the United States about the Treaty of Ghent.
  • May North American Review prints its first issue.

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1783-1815: Communications: Chronology

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1783-1815: Communications: Chronology