Newspaper Collection related to Thomas Jefferson

Thomas JEFFERSON

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INTRIGUING ARCHIVE OF EARLY 19TH-CENTURY AMERICAN NEWSPAPERS, 1805-09, WITH MUCH CONTENT ABOUT THOMAS JEFFERSON, INCLUDING PRESIDENTIAL PROCLAMATIONS, EXTRACTS FROM NOTES ON THE STATE OF VIRGINIA, A REPORT ON THE LEWIS AND CLARK EXPEDITION, AND REFERENCES TO JEFFERSON'S RELATIONSHIP WITH SALLY HEMMINGS

(JEFFERSON, Thomas). Archive of Early 19th-century American Newspapers. Boston, Baltimore and New York: various, 1805-09. Folio (20 by 12-1/4 inches, folded to 10 by 6 inches), 19 individual issues, pp.4-8 each. Housed in custom chemise and half morocco slipcase.

Nineteen original issues of four early 19th-century New York, Boston and Baltimore newspapers, containing much content by and about President Thomas Jefferson, as well as compelling glimpses into early American society.

"Were it left to me," Thomas Jefferson once declared, "to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate to prefer the latter." Even "after he had suffered from unparalleled vituperation" as his second administration drew to a close (Mott, 170), Jefferson defended America's free press as "a noble institution, equally the friend of science and of civil liberty." The 19 newspaper issues gathered here offer some tastes of frequently bitter polemic surrounding the nation's third president. One of the "miscellaneous extracts" on the front page of Boston's Independent Chronicle (July 22, 1805), for example, defends Jefferson against his detractors in these spirited terms: "Can any man seriously suppose the President of the United States capable of descending so low as to honor with his notice the abandoned and despicable calumniators of his domestic reputation? As well, then, they might expect the monarch of England to level himself, in tonguey war, with the termagant fish-women of Billingsgate." These papers also devotes space to Jefferson's presidential proclamations (on such topics as Barbary pirates, public lands and treaties with Native American nations), extracts from his Notes on the State of Virginia, rehearsals of the hotly contested 1800 presidential election, a report on the Lewis and Clark expedition and content regarding Jefferson's alleged relationship with Sally Hemmings. When not concerned directly with Jefferson, the papers report on legislative action in Congress and various statehouses. They also report news and advertisements of local interest: In the sole issue present of The North American and Mercantile Daily Advertiser, for instance, one Samuel Cole places a cautionary note to "the Bungler who has made two unsuccessful attempts to break into my office," informing him "respectfully… that were he to succeed he would find himself utterly disappointed…" Together, these papers provide a fascinating glimpse into late Jeffersonian American society and testimony to newspapers' early role in shaping the young republic. Contents: New-York Herald for July 9, 1803; The Independent Chronicle (Boston) for January 14; June 6, July 1, 11, 15, 22, 27; August 12, 1805; Republican Watch-Tower (New York) for February 11, 12; March 11; May 9; July 11; September 23, October 17, 24; November 7, 1806; The North American and Mercantile Daily Advertiser (Baltimore) for February 21, 1809. See Brigham II:244, 307, 649, 684. Occasional old ink owner signatures to front pages. Stab marks suggest at least some issues formerly bound.

Fragile issues frequently rubbed, foxed and stained. Several issues with pages split along folds. Occasional restoration to closed tears. A very good archive of early 19th-century American newspapers with significant Jeffersonian content.

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