Archive for October, 2006

Publick Occurrences: both Forreign and Domestick

Thursday, October 5th, 2006

During our recent vacation to San Francisco, I did find myself a little jealous of the wonderful San Francisco Center for the Book. Our trip coincided with their third annual street fair and roadworks, where they made prints using a steamroller.

But all things said and done, it is hard to beat New England for a letterpress “scene”, as well as printing history.

Today, I found out that Boston was home to America’s first newspaper, called Publick Occurrences: both Forreign and Domestick, published by Benjamin Harris in 1690. It’s not a surprising distinction, given that there weren’t many American cities at that point– at least not in the British colonies. Nor is it an unqualified distinction, given this particular publisher, according to the Delta Sky magazine article that inspired Andy Carvin’s post,

“He was a bigot and an opportunist,” according to one historian; “a rabid anti-Catholic with an eye for the sensational,” in the view of another. He had “mercury in his blood.” He was dismissed by a contemporary as “the worst man in the world.”