York Issues of Revolutionary War Pennsylvania Gazette Are Not Missing
Masthead of a York-printed Pennsylvania Gazette.
The Pennsylvania Gazette newspaper is an extremely important source of information on the Revolutionary War era. Besides carrying general news of the war, the Gazette disseminated official proceedings of Continental Congress. The publishers, Hall and Sellers, were also authorized by Congress to issue broadsides of acts and to print U.S. currency.
Congress fled Philadelphia, just ahead of British occupation, and ended up meeting in York, starting on September 30, 1777. Congress was soon frustrated by the lack of a handy printing press.
In response, the Hall and Sellers press arrived in York in early December 1777. Issues of The Pennsylvania Gazette printed in York first came off the press December 20 and continued for six months, until Congress returned to Philadelphia.
Facsimiles of The Pennsylvania Gazette are available in print form, microfilm, on CD, and online (fee). The 28 issues printed in York are not included in these compilations, perhaps because they were not included in the numbering system used before and after that period by the Gazette.
In 1936, Historical Society of York County staff member Henry J. Young obtained, from many different repositories, photostats of 24 of those issues. They were not easily readable, so I recently completed a project, partially funded through a grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development, of abstracting and partially transcribing those copies. The manuscript is currently available for reference use at the York County Heritage Trust Library/Archives. Future publication, in print or electronic form, is being discussed.
Four issues of the Pennsylvania Gazette are still being sought. The “missing” copies are those of December 27, 1777; January 3, 1778; January 31, 1778 and March 28, 1778. Any clues as to the location of any of these issues would be ecstatically welcomed.
Click below for a few exerpts from the 1777-78 Pennsylvania Gazette:
Lost lottery tickets.
York County soldier deserts.
Click links below for more on Continental Congress in York.
Congress invades York.
First national Thanksgiving proclaimed in York.
What Yorkers were buying in 1777.
Click here for a later York newspaper, the Peoples Advocate