Saturday, November 21, 2009

James Davis, the House of Burgesses, and the North-Carolina Gazette

In 1749, when the colonial Assembly of North Carolina decided to retain an official printer, James Davis (1721-1785), of Virginia, was the man and he then became  the  first printer in North Carolina. James Davis went on to print the province's money and to become the proprietor of the first newspaper in North Carolina. Davis published the North-Carolina Gazette over two separate periods. First, from 1751 until around 1760, until he began a new newspaper -- The North-Carolina Magazine; Or Universal Intelligencer in 1764. Publication continued until around 1768. By May 1768,  Davis had "retooled" operations and reverted to the original title. The "new" North-Carolina Gazette continued in print until 1778.

{Above: Pound and shilling notes printed by James Davis in the collection of The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Below: Gazette Masthead from LEARN NC webpage.}

Kudos: Scott Aaron Reavis wrote a truly masterful paper on James Davis, entitled James Davis: North Carolina's First Printer, in 2000 in partial fulfillment of the requirements for a Masters in Science in Library Science from The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. His paper includes an extensive annotated bibliography of all known printings of James Davis.

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