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Early American newspapers and the Franklin family

Posted by: | October 1, 2012 | No Comment |

Tired of the stale and dry news published in traditional newspapers, James Franklin, brother of Benjamin Franklin began publishing the “New England Courant“. Franklin got rid of hte boring addresses from the governor and began publishing satire and essays in the style of London’s paper, “The Spectator.”

Benjamin Franklin

Benjamin Franklin wrote for the paper under the pseudonym Silence Dogood, keeping his identity secret even from James. In the time of early American newspapers, it was common for writers to use false names to protect them from harm at the hands of people they criticized.

A copy of the “New England Courant” with a letter from Silence Dogood on the front

In 1728, Benjamin moved to Philadelphia and began working on the  “Pennsylvania Gazette“. He began franchising other local printers who published their own newspapers and by 1750, 14 weekly newspapers were being published in the six largest colonies.

Benjamin published series of essays in the “Pennsylvania Gazette” that contributed to the development of American literature with it’s unique satire, wit and mischievousness. His focus was very rarely on practical journalism, but his influence of the culture and society of Pennsylvania was invaluable.

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