Ohio History Journal

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University Librarian, University of Cincinnati

Printing in Gambier, Ohio, extended for a little more than fifty

years during the mid-nineteenth century. Its history forms a neat

and fairly typical illustration of the work of the ecclesiastical press

of that century. Projected as early as 1823 by Philander Chase, first

Protestant Episcopal bishop of Ohio, the press began in 1830 to

issue the first Episcopal newspaper west of the Alleghenies.

The new West was well accustomed to locally printed materials

by this time. As early as 1824 Ohio produced 48 of the 598 news-

papers published in the United States. The first issue of an Ohio

newspaper, the Centinel of the North-Western Territory, had been

printed in Cincinnati by William Maxwell on November 9, 1793.

Two paper mills began operations in 1811 on the Little Miami

River near Cincinnati. With the opening of John Foote's type

foundry in 1820, Cincinnati began its role as the western pub-

lishing center. By 1858 nearly three million books, chiefly for the

schools west of the Alleghenies, were being published yearly in


Bishop Chase went to England in 1824 to solicit funds to found

the theological seminary subsequently called Kenyon College.

Always aware of channels of communication, the bishop was not

one to forget the value of the printed word as a means of furthering

his mission. In the Appeal in Behalf of the Diocese of Ohio in the

Western Territory of the United States (London, 1824) which was

most industriously circulated all over England, a scheme is care-

fully spelled out for a press (p. 6): "To accustom our Youth, the

future servants of a beneficent Redeemer, to acts of substantial

charity, and as a means of disseminating the principles of our

Holy Religion throughout our barren region and especially among

the poor and ignorant, a Printing Press and Types will be solicited;

and the Young Men, or some proper proportion of them, will, at

convenient hours of the day, be employed in printing Tracts and a