Sunday, May 3, 2009

The First Report of American Independence

Over the years I have been exceedingly fortunate to be able to put together a complete run, with all the engravings and maps, of Thomas Paine's Pennsylvania Magazine, published between January 1775 and July 1776. While much has been made of the importance of of the July 1776 issue, that contains the only contemporary magazine printing of the Declaration of Independence, the other issues are full of incredibly important articles and illustration.

In particular, the June 1776 issue is rarely discussed but, in my mind, far more valuable and important. The magazine was intended to be published on the first Wednesday of the succeeding month, therefore making the "Declaration" somewhat old news in early August, since it already had been published in numerous newspapers throughout the newly independent colonies (that now sell for over $100,000, the first, The Pennsylvania Evening Post, more than twice that) . The first printing of the actual declaration, the famous and exceedingly valuable Dunlap and Claypoole broadside (conservatively $2,000,000), was printed on Thursday the 4th and started being circulated on Friday the 5th.
Tucked into the very rear of the June issue is a succinct report from Tuesday, July 2, likely printed and circulated on Wednesday the third:

most probably the first printed report of American independence. Now that's a pretty big deal!

Here's what the entire front and back pages look like:

and there's more: a very rare an early American map of North & South Carolina and Georgia (the first of the area printed in America?) opposite page 268 (Jolly no. 300, incorrectly listed in in the May issue):

More to follow about other Pennsylvania issues shortly. Right now I'm off to meet the co-authoe of our Franklin Roosevelt book (my current passion) for one on New Jersey's great steaks.(Steve's Sizzling Steaks in Carlstadt) I'm getting hungry just thinking about it!

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