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The Maryland Press, 1777-1790 by Joseph Towne Wheeler.
Volume 438, Preface 5   View pdf image (33K)
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By Lawrence C. Wroth

HIS recordby Mr. Wheeler of the life of a community as
displayed in its printed production is a book that has
been needed and hoped for these many years. With the
beginning of the Revolution, Maryland, and especially
the commercial town of Baltimore, entered upon a
flourishing economic and intellectual life, swifter in
pace and more intense in purpose than had previously
existed in a province that was chiefly agricultural in its interests. This
condition found itself reflected in the output of the press during the years
of the Revolution and those of the decade following. Maryland's part in
the formation of the Confederation, her importance as one of the chief
granaries of the American armies, her vigorous, interesting life through-
out these years of the war and the later period of nationalization, are
parts of her history which her citizens take pleasure in recalling. Mr.
Wheeler has done a valuable service in recording the books, pamphlets,
newspapers, broadsides, and even the theatre posters in which this varied
life is reflected. Perhaps I should say "especially the theatre posters," for
rarely has such abundance of material for the history of the drama in an
American city been set forth in a general bibliography.

In his own Preface Mr. Wheeler has told of the aid he received from the
bibliography begun several years ago by the late Kenneth Rede and at his
lamented death deposited in manuscript in the Enoch Pratt Free Library.
Mr. Wheeler's annotation of Mr. Rede's titles, his location of copies not
seen by Mr. Rede, and his addition of a great many titles not in the manu-
script have resulted in a bibliography that will be a work of enduring
usefulness to students of Maryland life and letters. The historical narra-
tive with which his work begins is an addition of distinct worth to Mary-
land biography and cultural history. One hardly knows which to praise
more highly, the success with which he has brought together data about
figures hitherto little known, bringing to life and actuality such men as
Eleazer Oswald, James Angell, James Hayes, Jr., and Matthias Bartgis; or



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The Maryland Press, 1777-1790 by Joseph Towne Wheeler.
Volume 438, Preface 5   View pdf image (33K)
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