Skip to main content

Historic newspapers collection

Identifier: SC-NEWS

Scope and Contents

The collection includes 185 titles spanning 200 years; all related to George Washington, his family, and Mount Vernon.


  • 1757-1957

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research during scheduled appointments. Researchers must complete the Washington Library’s Special Collections and Archives Registration Form before access is provided. The library reserves the right to restrict access to certain items for preservation purposes.

Biographical / Historical

The large majority of these newspapers originate from the 13 colonies; notable newspapers include:

Columbian Centinel, Boston, MA. Benjamin Russell commenced publication on March 24, 1804 but resigned as editor in 1828. Semi-weekly publication continued until May 23, 1840, when it merged with other Boston papers and eventually became the Boston Herald.

National Intelligencer, Washington, DC. Samuel Harrison Smith founded the National Intelligencer in 1800 as a weekly publication. Joseph Gales, the sole reporter for the U.S. Senate at the time, was hired in 1807 as reporter and became sole proprietor in 1810. In 1813, Gales took his brother-in-law, William Winston Seaton, as partner and reporter for the U.S. House of Representatives. Daily publication began in 1813, except for August 24-30, 1814, during the British army occupation. Gales and Seaton were selected as official reporters of Congress from 1819 to 1829 and published the “Annals of Congress, 1798-1824,” and “Register of Debates, 1824-1837,” the record of Congressional debates of the time. Gales died in 1860, and Seaton retired in 1864. Final publication in Washington was on January 10, 1870; thereafter, weekly publication began in New York but ended in 1872.

Pennsylvania Packet/American Daily Advertiser, Philadelphia, PA. John Dunlap started weekly publication of the Pennsylvania Packet and the General Advertiser on October 28, 1771. Beginning September 21, 1784, the name was changed to Pennsylvania Packet and Daily Advertiser, reflecting the change to a daily publication. The name was then changed to Dunlap’s American Daily Advertiser in 1791, Dunlap and Claypoole’s American Daily Advertiser in 1793, and finally to Claypoole’s American Daily Advertiser in 1796. However, in 1839, it was sold to Zachariah Poulson, who re-named it Poulson’s American Daily Advertiser and continued publication until 1839, when he sold it to the founders of the North American, a predecessor of the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Pennsylvania Gazette, Philadelphia, PA. Samuel Keimer first published the Pennsylvania Gazette weekly beginning in 1728 and sold it to Benjamin Franklin and Hugh Meredith in 1729. Franklin dominated the partnership and by 1732 had purchased complete ownership. In 1743, Franklin invited David Hall of Scotland to join his as a printer and took him as a partner in 1848. In 1766, Franklin sold the firm to Hall, who formed a new firm, Hall and Sellers, with a journeyman printer, William Sellers. Hall died in 1772, and was succeeded by his sons, William and David, Jr. Publication was suspended from November, 1776 to February, 1777, when British invasion threatened, and from September, 1777 until January 1779, due to British occupation. Upon resumption of publication in 1779, the title was changed to Pennsylvania Gazette and Weekly Advertiser. Sellers died in 1804, and publication passed to William Hall, Jr., who took Samuel C. Atkinson as partner in 1816. In May, 1821, Hall died and Atkinson continued publication, in September, 1821, changing the name to Saturday Evening Post and the character of the publication to more general and domestic interest.


3.75 Linear Feet (15 boxes)

Language of Materials



The collection is organized alphabetically by title, then in chronological date. Unidentified newsclippings are listed at the end.

Historic newspaper collection
August 2016
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections at The George Washington Presidential Library at Mount Vernon Repository

PO Box 3600
Mount Vernon VA 22121