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Aitken, Robert (22 January 1735–15 July 1802), printer and publisher, was born in Dalkeith, Scotland. His parents’ names are unknown. Sometime after serving a regular apprenticeship with a bookbinder in Edinburgh, he became established in Paisley, Scotland, as a binder, bookseller, and proprietor of a circulating library. From there he moved to Philadelphia in May 1771 with his wife, Janet Skeoch, and two children, the eldest of whom was seven; two more children were later born in Philadelphia. In June he opened a stationer’s shop and what was soon “the largest and most valuable bookstore” in the city. With the publication in 1773 of ...

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Bailey, Francis (1735–1815), printer and journalist, was born in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, the son of Robert Bailey and Margaret McDill Barley, farmers. Bailey was apprenticed to Peter Miller, printer at Ephrata, at an early age, and by the time he began publishing the ...

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Bradford, Andrew (1686?–24 November 1742), printer and journalist, was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the son of William Bradford, a printer and journalist, and Elizabeth Sowle, whose father, Andrew Sowle, was a printer in London. After being arrested and released for printing a pamphlet by Quaker apostate ...

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Bradford, John (06 June 1749–20 March 1830), first printer in Kentucky, was born in Prince William (later Fauquier) County, Virginia, the son of Daniel Bradford, a surveyor for Fauquier County, and Alice Morgan. He was one of eleven children in a family that probably also farmed. Bradford’s father taught him the craft of surveying. In 1771 John Bradford married Eliza James; they had five sons and four daughters....

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Bradford, William (20 May 1663–23 May 1752), first printer in Pennsylvania and New York, was born in Leicestershire, England, the son of William Bradford and Anne (maiden name unknown). Apprenticed to the London Quaker printer Andrew Sowle, Bradford became a Quaker and married his master’s daughter Elizabeth. Only weeks after their marriage in April 1685, the couple sailed for Pennsylvania with a letter from George Fox recommending Bradford as printer for the Society of Friends and the province. Some sources also say Bradford came with the specific endorsement of ...

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Bradford, William (19 January 1722–25 September 1791), author and printer, was born in New York City, the son of William Bradford and Sytje Santvoort. He was the grandson of the printer William Bradford (1663–1752) of New York and Philadelphia. In 1739 young Bradford went into partnership in Philadelphia with his uncle ...

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Carter, John (21 July 1745–19 August 1814), printer and editor, was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the son of John Carter, a naval officer killed in battle two months before his son’s birth, and Elizabeth Spriggs. During the late 1750s, he was apprenticed in the shop of ...

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John Cassin Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-101868).

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Cassin, John (06 September 1813–10 January 1869), ornithologist and printing company executive, was born near the present site of Media, Pennsylvania, the son of Thomas Cassin, a Quaker farmer, and Rachel Sharpless. Cassin attended a Quaker School in Westtown, Pennsylvania, and studied under private tutors. His interest in natural history developed as the result of the emphasis placed on the subject by Quaker schools at that time; this proved decisive in Cassin’s choice of avocation. He began observing and identifying birds on the family property in his mid-teens, and as an adult he regretted that he had not gotten out into the field more often to go birdwatching. At age twenty-one he went to Philadelphia, where he worked first in merchandising and then at the U.S. Customs House. When J. T. Bowen, an engraver and lithographer, died, Cassin assumed the management of Bowen’s firm and continued to supply illustrations for various scientific books and periodicals and for federal government publications....

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Collins, Isaac (16 February 1746–21 March 1817), printer, was born near Centerville, Delaware, the son of Charles Collins and Sarah Hammond, farmers. The family were members of the Society of Friends. When his father died in 1760, Isaac was indentured as a printer’s apprentice to James Adams, whose recent arrival in Wilmington marked the beginning of printing in Delaware. Collins stayed with Adams about five years, during which time he probably met Shepard Kollock, another Adams apprentice, who, like Collins, later worked for ...

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Currier, Nathaniel (27 March 1813–20 November 1888), lithographer and founder of the firm Currier & Ives, was born in Roxbury, Massachusetts, the son of Nathaniel Currier and Hannah (maiden name unknown). He was educated in public schools until the age of fifteen, when he became an apprentice to the Boston printing firm of William S. and John Pendleton. The Pendleton company, the first in America to make successful use of the relatively new process of lithography, imported equipment, artists, and workers from Europe, where the process had been invented at the end of the eighteenth century. Currier learned the technique at the firm in Boston, moved to Philadelphia to work with lithographer M. E. D. Brown in 1833, and relocated to New York in 1834. He had planned to go into business in New York with John Pendleton, but Pendleton changed his plans and sold his interest in the business to Currier. The resulting firm of Currier & Stodart lasted about a year. In 1835, at the age of twenty-two, Currier established his own lithographic printing business, N. Currier, which printed letterheads, handbills, business cards, and the like....

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Dawkins, Henry (fl. c. 1753–c. 1786), copperplate engraver, was born in England and immigrated to America about 1753 or 1754. Nothing is known of his parentage, education, or training. We know his nationality only from an advertisement in the Pennsylvania Journal and Weekly Advertiser...

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Day, Stephen (1594?–22 December 1668), locksmith and printer, was born in England. Very little is known for certain about Stephen Day (also spelled Stephen Daye and Steven Day). He arrived from Cambridge, England, in New England in 1638 on board the John of London...

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Dobson, Thomas (1751–09 March 1823), bookseller, printer, and publisher of the first comprehensive encyclopedia produced in the United States, was born probably near Edinburgh, Scotland. His family and early professional backgrounds are unknown, but by 1777, when he married Jean Paton of New North Parish, he could claim to be a member of the Edinburgh bookselling fraternity. Three daughters were born in Scotland, and a son, Judah, who later became a full partner in the firm of Thomas Dobson and Son, was born in Philadelphia around 1792....

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Donahoe, Patrick (17 March 1811–18 March 1901), editor and publisher, was born in County Caven, Ireland, the son of Terrence Donahoe and Jane Christy. The father’s occupation is unknown, but the family was clearly poor. In 1821 Patrick and his father immigrated to Boston, Massachusetts, where the boy received a basic education and entered the printing trades in 1825. Patrick worked as a printer for several Boston newspapers and became co-owner of ...

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Doolittle, Amos (18 May 1754–31 January 1832), engraver, was born in Cheshire, Connecticut, the son of Ambrose Doolittle and Martha Munson (occupations unknown). Doolittle apprenticed under Eliakim Hitchcock, a silversmith, but he may have taught himself to engrave copper plates. By 1774, he was living in New Haven, where he remained until his death. He appears to have prospered, owning a house and shop on College Street in which he rented out a large room to individuals and organizations, including the Masons, who met there from 1801 to 1826. Doolittle was himself a dedicated Mason from 1792 until his death....

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Draper, John (29 October 1702–29 November 1762), journalist and publisher, was born in Roxbury, Massachusetts, the son of Richard Draper, a Boston shopkeeper, and Sarah Kilby. Draper grew up in a home stressing religious values; his father was a deacon at the Brattle Street church as well as a Boston selectman. Draper also was deeply religious and joined his father’s church in 1727. He was apprenticed to ...

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Draper, Richard (24 February 1727–05 June 1774), Massachusetts Loyalist, printer, and publisher, was born in Boston, Massachusetts, the son of John Draper, the publisher of the Boston News-Letter, and Deborah Green. His mother came from a family of official printers in Connecticut going back six generations to ...

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Dunlap, John (1747–27 November 1812), printer and publisher, was born in Tyrone, County Strabane, Ireland. In 1757 the family of ten-year-old Dunlap sent him to be apprenticed to an uncle in Philadelphia, printer-bookseller William Dunlap. Nine years later, William Dunlap left the printing house in care of his nineteen-year-old nephew, who evidently was buying the shop in installments while his uncle took up Anglican religious studies in England. The young printer was so poor, according to his friend ...

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Edes, Benjamin (14 October 1732–10 December 1803), printer, was born in Charlestown, Massachusetts, the son of Peter Edes, a hatter, and Esther Hall. He apparently was trained in printing in the shop of Samuel Kneeland in Boston. Edes and John Gill, one of Kneeland’s apprentices, produced their first publication in 1754. The two young men took over the ...