The Pennsylvania Gazette

The Pennsylvania Gazette was one of the United States' most prominent newspapers from 1728 until 1800. In the years leading up to the American Revolution, the newspaper served as a voice for colonial opposition to British colonial rule, especially to the Stamp Act and the Townshend Acts. The newspaper was headquartered in Philadelphia.

The Pennsylvania Gazette
A New York City statue of Benjamin Franklin holding a copy of The Pennsylvania Gazette
Founder(s)Samuel Keimer
Benjamin Franklin in 1729, who bought and reoriented the publication into a 'news only' newspaper
Founded1728; 296 years ago (1728) (as The Universal Instructor in all Arts and Sciences: and Pennsylvania Gazette)
Political alignmentNon partisan
Ceased publication1800 (1800)
HeadquartersPhiladelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.



18th century

The May 9, 1754 edition of The Pennsylvania Gazette
Join, or Die political cartoon attributed to Benjamin Franklin, advocating in support of the American colonies joining the Albany Plan for Union, May 9, 1754

The newspaper was first published in 1728 by Samuel Keimer and was the second newspaper to be published in the colonial Province of Pennsylvania under the name The Universal Instructor in all Arts and Sciences: and Pennsylvania Gazette, a reference to Keimer's intention to print out a page of Ephraim Chambers' Cyclopaedia, or Universal Dictionary of Arts and Sciences in each edition.[1]

On October 2, 1729, Samuel Keimer, the owner of The Gazette, fell into debt and before fleeing to Barbados sold the newspaper to Benjamin Franklin and his partner Hugh Meredith,[2][3][4][5] who shortened its name, as well as dropping Keimer's grandiose plan to print out the Cyclopaedia.[1] Franklin not only printed the paper but also often contributed pieces to the paper under aliases. His newspaper soon became the most successful in the colonies.[3]

On December 28, 1732, Franklin announced in The Gazette that he had just printed and published the first edition of The Poor Richard, also known as Poor Richard's Almanack, by Richard Saunders, Philomath.[6]

On August 6, 1741, Franklin published an editorial following the death of Andrew Hamilton, a lawyer and public figure in Philadelphia and friend of Franklin. The editorial praised the man highly and showed Franklin had held the man in high esteem.[7]

On October 19, 1752,[8] Franklin published a third-person account of his pioneering kite experiment in The Pennsylvania Gazette, without mentioning that he himself had performed it.[9]

While the purpose of the publication was primarily for classified ads, merchants and individuals listed notices of employment, lost and found goods and items for sale, it also reprinted foreign news. Most entries involved stories of travel.[10] The gazette also published advertisements for runaway slaves and indentured servants.[11]

Among other firsts by The Pennsylvania Gazette, the newspaper was the first to publish the political cartoon Join, or Die, authored by Franklin.[12] The cartoon resurfaced later in the 18th century as a symbol in support of the American Revolution.

19th century


The paper ceased publication in 1800, ten years after Franklin's death.[13] It is claimed that the publication later reemerged as the Saturday Evening Post in 1821.[14]

There are three known copies of the original issue, which are held by the Historical Society of Pennsylvania and the Library Company of Philadelphia, both in Philadelphia, and the Wisconsin State Historical Society at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in Madison, Wisconsin.[1]

Other uses


The Pennsylvania Gazette moniker is used by an unrelated bi-monthly alumni magazine of the University of Pennsylvania, an Ivy League university that Franklin founded and served at as one of its first trustees.

See also



  1. ^ a b c "Pennsylvania Gazette, Philadelphia". Library of Congress. 2006. Retrieved December 7, 2006.
  2. ^ Isaacson, 2003, p. 64
  3. ^ a b Benjamin Franklin Historical Society, Essay
  4. ^ Aldridge, 1962, p. 77
  5. ^ Clark & Wetherall, 1989, p. 282
  6. ^ Miller, 1961, p. 97
  7. ^ Konkle, Burton Alva (1932). Benjamin Chew 1722–1810: Head of the Pennsylvania Judiciary System Under Colony and Commonwealth. Philadelphia, PA: University of Pennsylvania Press. pp. 17–29 (28–29).
  8. ^ Tom Tucker, Bolt Of Fate: Benjamin Franklin And His Fabulous Kite (PublicAffairs, 2009) p135
  9. ^ Steven Johnson (2008) The Invention of Air, p. 39 ISBN 978-1-59448-401-8
  10. ^ Zach Hutchins, "Travel Writing, Travel Reading, and the Boundaries of Genre: Embracing the Banal in Franklin's 1747 Pennsylvania Gazette," Studies in Travel Writing 17.3 (2013):300-19.
  11. ^ Smith, Billy G., and Richard Wojtowicz. Blacks Who Stole Themselves: Advertisements for Runaways in the Pennsylvania Gazette, 1728-1790. University of Pennsylvania Press, 1989. JSTOR, Accessed 3 Sept. 2021.
  12. ^ "Today in History: January 17". Library of Congress. 2006. Retrieved December 8, 2006.
  13. ^ "The Pennsylvania Gazette". Accessible Archives. Archived from the original on December 6, 2010. Retrieved May 20, 2020.
  14. ^ About the Saturday Evening Post Archived February 22, 2009, at the Wayback Machine


  • Aldridge, Alfred Owen (February 15, 1962). "Benjamin Franklin and the "Pennsylvania Gazette"". Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society. 106 (1). American Philosophical Society: 77–81. JSTOR 985213.
  • Clark, Charles E.; Wetherell, Charles (April 1989). "The Measure of Maturity: The Pennsylvania Gazette, 1728-1765". The William and Mary Quarterly. 46 (2). Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture: 279–303. doi:10.2307/1920255. JSTOR 1920255.
  • Bernard Bailyn; John B. Hench, eds. (1981) [1980]. The Press & the American Revolution. Boston : Northeastern University Press (Originally published: Worcester, Mass. : American Antiquarian Society). ISBN 978-0-9303-50307.
  • Miller, C. William (1961). "Franklin's "Poor Richard Almanacs": Their Printing and Publication". Studies in Bibliography. 14. Bibliographical Society of the University of Virginia: 97–115. JSTOR 40371300.