All the News That's Fit to Print

My current pet project for Black's Coffeehouse; newspapers.

18th Century coffeehouses were repositories of information, much of it in printed form, newspapers, broadsides, mail. True to that, I've been researching, reading, scanning, altering & printing historic newspapers for the visitors at Black's to enjoy. The initial response was exactly as I had hoped; people loved them. In fact, we did as I have read was done in period, we sat around in the coffeehouse reading bits out loud to each other (most still use the medial S, so the reader was frequently someone comfortable with the text), passing the pages back & forth, pointing out interesting advertisements & engaging in discussions about the news. They turned out to be the ideal fuel for first person interpretation and conversations.

I initially stared this research using the internet. The Virginia, Maryland & London Gazettes all host on-line archives of their historic papers. With a bit of Photoshop work & the industrial printer I was able to come up with several period approximate editions for the years our events revolve around. I have since focused on a single year for simplicity sake and because for all except one event we do, that year is appropriate.

However, those three papers were not enough to satisfy either Black's customers or myself. After all we taut that visitors can enjoy "the latest news from London & around the colonies". Through a bit of research and cross referencing I was able to make a small list of mid 18th century newspapers from New York, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Massachusetts as well as another imported paper from London. But most importantly, all of these papers are archived on microfiche and available through Inter Library Loan courtesy of the State Historical Society . All that remains now is some dedicated time with the computer aided microfiche machine, flash drive and photo editing program.

I simply can't express the enjoyment that I am getting from this project. I find the period articles to be endlessly educational, the advertisements to be a wonderful glimpse into day to day lives and being able to share so much authentic "history" with friends and the public, well it just brings me countless joy. I am seriously considering further research into these papers and the information they contain. It seems a shame to have them so easily accessible and not do something extensive with them.


  1. Ask and you shall receive, huh? lol

    Very cool stuff...I can see why you are fascinated!!

  2. What an interesting project. Serious kudos to you, Chloe, for making this considerable effort to entertain and inform these Coffeehouse patrons about history. Definitely 'Value Added!'

  3. Ah! What a fantastic idea!

    I'm so pleased to find someone else doing 1st person stuff that I can hardly stand it!


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