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The Maryland Press, 1777-1790 by Joseph Towne Wheeler.
Volume 438, Preface 7   View pdf image (33K)
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THE fifteen years which have elapsed since the publica-
tion of Lawrence C. Wroth's History of Printing in
Colonial Maryland have witnessed a notable increase
in interest in the history of early American printing.
Numerous special studies have been made of the out-
put of the presses of the individual colonies and states,
but many of them, unfortunately, have not been
printed. The much needed general survey of American printing by
Douglas C. McMurtrie is now being published. There still remain, how-
ever, many neglected fields which merit intensive study.

The present work was undertaken as a continuation of Dr. Wroth's
investigations in Maryland printing. Though it covers a very short
period of time, the history of the Maryland Press from 1777 to 1790
should be particularly interesting. During this fourteen year period the
Revolution was fought and won, the Articles of Confederation were
accepted and, after a trial under difficult circumstances, gave place to
the Federal Constitution. It was a period of equally great importance
in the history of the state. The decline in tobacco raising and the growth
of a grain trade with the western parts of Maryland and Pennsylvania
changed Baltimore from a small settlement of two hundred and fifty
inhabitants in 1750 to a flourishing port with ajpppulation in 1790 of over
thirteen thousand. Printers were encouraged to set up their presses in
this prosperous community and there was such a demand for news that
two papers were soon published twice weekly. Dancing societies were
established, concerts and lectures on literature and science were given
in the large rooms of the taverns, bookshops and circulating libraries
were opened where imported as well as American publications could be
had, schools were started for the children of the more wealthy families,
and, in 1782, a permanent theatre was founded where performances,
were given once and sometimes twice a week. During this period the
agitation started for the removal of the state capital from Annapolis to
Baltimore and has continued at intervals to the present day. In 1770
the only well established printing firm in the colony was at Annapolis.
Twenty years later there were presses at Georgetown on the Potomac, at



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The Maryland Press, 1777-1790 by Joseph Towne Wheeler.
Volume 438, Preface 7   View pdf image (33K)
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