Rind, Clementina (c. 1740–1774)

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Rind, Clementina (c. 1740–1774)

American newspaper publisher and editor. Born around 1740, possibly in Maryland; died in 1774 in Williamsburg, Virginia; married William Rind (a printer), between 1758 and 1765 (died 1773); children: four sons and one daughter.

The exact date and location of Clementina Rind's birth remain unclear, but there is no mystery about her impact on the role of women in publishing in colonial America. Sometime between 1758 and 1765, she married printer William Rind, who worked on the Maryland Gazette. When the paper's partners protested the Stamp Act of 1765 by suspending publication of the Gazette, William was encouraged by a group of liberals to move his family to Williamsburg, Virginia, and there publish a "free paper."

On May 16, 1766, the Virginia Gazette was in business, and its motto "Open to ALL PARTIES, but Influenced by NONE" was taken seriously by both publisher and readers. When William died in August 1773, Clementina assumed the role of editor and publisher, managing the press from the back of her brick house on behalf of her five small children. The extended family and staff included John Pinkney, a relative, apprentice Isaac Collins, and a slave called Dick.

Rind maintained the integrity of the newspaper, carefully following the design set forth by her husband. The news covered both national and international events as well as shipping news. Rind supplemented, as needed, with excerpts from her readers' correspondence, including essays, articles and poems. Many of her female readers were responsible for the submissions which Rind printed, resulting in a strong female point of view reflected in the paper. The Virginia Gazette was both erudite and eclectic in its subject matter, and through her articles and editorials Rind showed an interest in news on the scientific and educational fronts. She was especially interested in educational issues that related to the College of William and Mary.

The paper was so successful that Rind was able to expand it and, within six months of assuming responsibility as editor, was able to purchase "an elegant set of types from London." The House of Burgesses quickly appointed her public printer and continued to support her with public business, much to the dismay of her competitors.

In August 1774, both her health and her business suffered. Though payments due to her went unpaid, she remained confident that this was a short-term situation which would change to her advantage. Within a month, however, she died. Rind had managed the paper only from August 1773 until September 25, 1774, but she had made an impression on the people of Williamsburg and was missed by her many patrons, who prepared poetic eulogies in her memory. She is believed to have been buried next to her husband at Bruton Parish Church. Rind left no will, and her children were cared for by John Pinkney and the society of Freemasons, of which William Rind had been a member.

sources:

James, Edward T., ed. Notable American Women, 1607–1950. Cambridge, MA: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1971.

Judith C. Reveal , freelance writer, Greensboro, Maryland