|Presented for sale by Phil Barber, Cambridge, Mass. 02139 Telephone (617) 492-4653|
All items in this catalog are unconditionally guaranteed to be genuine and accurately described. Each catalog entry is briefly described for its general appearance, historical significance, and content. Every one contains hours of additional historic reading and insights into the world preserved on its pages, much more than I could find the space to describe here.
Please consult my collector information pages and glossary of terms page linked below, if you are not sure what the descriptions mean. Your comments are always welcome, as are your inquiries, if you have questions about these historic collectibles. We value our customers, and appreciate the confidence you place in us when ordering from our on line catalogs. Enjoy your browsing!
Franklin was beaten to the press, so to speak, by rival printer Andrew Bradford, the first number of whose magazine, the American Magazine, or a Monthly View of the Political State of the British Colonies, came off the press on February 13, 1741. The first issue of Ben’s magazine, the General Magazine, and Historical Chronicle, For All the British Plantations in America, also dated January, 1741, appeared just three days later. A petty quarrel erupted between the two pioneers, though the magazines survived for only three and six issues, respectively. The British population of America was then less than a million, and although Philadelphia was the center of American life at the time, there was not enough interest to support either publication at this early date, among the tiny handful of Americans who were literate and who could afford their cost. Today both magazines are excessively rare.
The locus of American magazine publishing then shifted northward to Boston. Printers Rogers and Fowle produced in 1743 the American Magazine and Historical Chronicle, which ran monthly through 1746. Meanwhile, the Christian History, less perhaps a standard magazine than a chronicle of the “Great Awakening”, appeared in March 1743, and ran weekly for two years, the work of these same printers. The two titles enjoy the distinction of being the first successful American magazines and though quite rare are occasionally seen on the market. It has been my privilege to have found and offered to my customers examples of almost every issue of both titles, from the very few holdings of these magazines in private hands.
Andrew Bradford's nephew William, also of Philadelphia, began in 1757 the landmark American Magazine and Monthly Chronicle, the first American magazine to rival in quality the great magazines of England. Several other titles appeared in the 1750’s, and one in the 1760’s, but the next significant advance in magazine publication would be in the form of Isaiah Thomas’ splendid Royal American Magazine or Universal Repository of Instruction and Amusement, which ran for over a year at Boston, starting in 1774. It faithfully chronicled this time of incipient revolution, and was graced by cover artwork and political cartoons by Paul Revere, which are much prized by collectors today.
Meanwhile in January 1775 at Philadelphia Robert Aitken began The Pennsylvania Magazine, and employed the recently emigated patriot fireband Tom Paine to be the editor of this now extremely rare title. It featured excellent news coverage of the start of the War of Independence, and printed the Declaration of Independence in its final number.
The United States Magazine of New York was the only other magazine published during the war, and folded in 1779. The first magazine in a free and independent United States was the Boston Magazine, which ran 1783 to 1786. Other titles soon followed, the most important being the Columbian Magazine (for Columbia was one of the names being considered for the new republic), Philadelphia, 1786 - 1790, the American Museum (Philadelphia, 1787 - 1789), Isaiah Thomas’ Massachusetts Magazine (Boston, 1789 - 1796), and the New-York Magazine (1790 - 1797). Famed dictionary compiler Noah Webster briefly produced his own American Magazine at Worcester, Mass. in 1787 - the fifth magazine to use that name as its title! With these sophisticated new monthlies, the American magazine can be said to have arrived as a force in American journalism, informing and entertaining the now four and a half million Americans, and inspiring literally tens of thousands of new titles over the coming two centuries.
In Early American Books and Printing (Boston, Houghton Mifflin, 1935) historian John Winterich writes "eighteenth century American magazines are rare - their circulations in general were much smaller than those of newspapers ... Like the newspapers, they were fragile in format, and were quickly consumed under the rigors of a sturdy era. The fortunate survivors among them are to be found for the most part in public collections.
I am pleased to be able to here present at least a small sampling of these virtually unavailable early American imprints.
Navigate my Website:
Contents ©:2016 Phil Barber.