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York’s People’s Advocate Tries to Be All Things

People’s Advocate Masthead, June 21, 1853
Politics are just as popular as ever. Now we can get out political fix on 24-hour cable channels and the internet as well as radio and television stations and the newspapers. Trouble is, except for the printed newspapers, which last for a while and can be microfilmed for longevity, how are we going to have a record of today’s politics in the future?
I recently quoted the York Democratic Press to show what an interest our forebears took in political matters and how partisan many of the papers were. Click here to read about the Democratic Press.
Another York County newspaper of the 19th century, the People’s Advocate, tried to cover a wide range of interests, as you can see by the masthead above. The illustration might be a little small, but it says:

“Devoted to Politics, Romance, Poetry, Agriculture, General Intelligence, &c., &c.”

Note that politics is first named. Henry F. Thomas, Editor & Proprietor of the People’s Advocate, definitely supported the Whigs. So much so that he rarely called Democratic party candidates Democrats; instead he referred to them as locofocos, a name first given to radical Democrats in the 1830s. (The nickname came for quickly igniting matches.)
Thomas published an interesting prospectus for his paper, trying to build subscriptions, advertising, and his other printing services. It read:
published every Tuesday morning.
H. F. Thomas, Editor and Proprietor.
Terms: One Dollar a Year, Paid in Advance.
The ‘ADVOCATE’ is the largest and cheapest paper now published in York County–containing 28 columns of Brevier and Nonpareil matter, and furnished to the subscribers every Tuesday, at the astonishing low price of ONE DOLLAR per annum, half year in advance.
Having already over 1500 subscribers, and being desirous to increase the list to 2000, for the purpose of still more improving his paper, the Editor begs leave to call on his friends to aid in the enterprise. He thinks that he has already proved that papers can be published as cheap in York as in the cities, and by the friendly co-operation of the public, he hopes also to prove that they can be printed as GOOD here as in the cities.
The ADVOCATE having a larger circulation than any other paper in the County, advertisers will find it to the advantage to avail themselves of its columns.
TERMS–Fifty cents per square for a single insertion, and for every additional insertion 25 cents. Twelve lines to constitute a square. Larger advertisements in proportion.
All communications and letters must come postpaid; otherwise they will receive no attention.
Having a great variety of Job and Card Type, every description of printing will be neatly executed, such as CIRCULARS, PAMPHLETS, BLANKS, CARDS, BILL HEADS, SALE BILLS, POSTERS, of every size style and color, charges moderate.
Office: No 18 South George Street, directly opposite the German Lutheran ( Rev. Mr. Lochman’s) Church, on Second Floor.”
Brevier and Nonpareil sent me flying to dictionary.com. They refer to type sizes. Brevier is 8 point and Nonpareil 6 point. And here I thought nonpareil was going to turn out to be a chocolate wafer with tiny white candies on it.
Click the links below for more politics in our past.
President Taft comes to town.
Reluctant 1877 candidate.
Mudslinging in the 1832 York County election.
Blazing political rally in Red Lion.
Log cabin headquarters for Harrison.
Commerce and government in Hanover.
Hartley wanted U.S. capital here.
And for York County newspapers.
Wedding cake for the editor.
English readers in minority.
York Countians well read.