Masthead for the American Minerva, the first daily newspaper in New York City. (Image courtesy of the Columbia University Library Digital Collections)
On December 9, 1793, a Connecticut Federalist by the name of Noah Webster founded New York City’s first daily newspaper. The American Minerva, patroness of peace, Commerce and the Liberal Arts, or American Minerva for short, was a precursor to what later became the New York Sun, a newspaper that stopped production in 1950. It was a New York-based Pro-Federalist press that was meant to curb the propagation of French influence in the United States.
According to the Readex Blog, before being bought out American Minerva had a run of 744 issues between 1793 and 1796. One of its main goals was in support of George Washington as the nation’s first President. The newspaper was printed at 37 Wall Street by George Bunce & Co.
In the inaugural print, pictured in its entirety below, the editor’s address to the public stresses the need for a daily newspaper. He writes, “[Newspapers,] in a great degree, supersede the use of Magazines and Pamphlets. The public mind in America, roused by the magnitude of political events and impatient of delay, cannot wait for monthly intelligence. Daily or at furthest weekly communications are found necessary to gratify public curiosity.”
Another interesting note: in the last column towards the bottom, there is an advertisement for “An Essay on Slavery,” a book on sale in Allen, Childs & Co. Bookstores. It asserts, “facts and calculations are offered to prove the labor of freemen to be much more productive than that of slaves.”
The inaugural print of the American Minerva. (Image courtesy of the Columbia University Library Digital Collections)
Learn more about New York City’s history with our newest column: On this Day in NYC History.