Ohio History Journal

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The Country Printer, New York State, 1785-1830. By Milton W.

Hamilton. (New York, Columbia University Press, 1936.

361p. $3.75.)

One of the most colorful figures in the period immediately

following the Revolutionary War was the country printer, the

printer-editor-publisher, who was indeed a distinctive character in

his community. Too often the press as an institution and influence

is identified with the great dailies published in the chief cities of

our country. Too little attention is paid to those cultural pioneers

who institute the "Gazettes," "Intelligencers," and "Patriots" in the

rural communities.

It is the purpose of Dr. Milton W. Hamilton's book to point

out the unique position occupied by the country printer before 1830

in the life of his time as observed through the study of the country

journals. In addition to that the technical methods of printing,

apprenticeships, labor conditions, business methods, and the char-

acter of the news and advertising are discussed at length.

Omitting the references to the several papers which were

printed in New York state during the Revolutionary War, Dr.

Hamilton begins with the first of a long line of weeklies which was

issued at Poughkeepsie in 1785, eight years before the first paper

was published in what is now Ohio, and carries the story down

through the next forty-five years. During this period the power

of the press became an indispensable factor in the political, social,

and economic history of American culture and civilization.

The author has assembled his data from a study of the more

than 650 printers, editors, and publishers who were active in this

period. From this data a composite portrait of the country printer

and an estimate of the influence of the country press is drawn.

One thing more than anything else characterizes Dr. Hamil-

ton's study of the printing press as a social instrument--that is

his utter lack of prejudice and his scholarly treatment of these