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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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Goddard, Mary Katherine (16 June 1738–12 August 1816), printer, newspaper publisher, and postmaster, was born in Groton, Connecticut, the daughter of Giles Goddard, a physician, and Sarah Updike Goddard, a printer. Growing up in New London, Connecticut, Goddard received an exceptional education for a woman in the 1700s, most of it from her mother, who had been taught by a French tutor. Little else is known about her early life....

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Maxwell, William (1766 or 1767?–10 September 1809), pioneer printer, newspaper editor, and office holder, was long thought, based on statements made by his descendants, to have been born about 1755 in New York or New Jersey, the son of William Maxwell, an immigrant from Scotland. Current scholarship infers a probable birth date of 1766 or 1767 from a contemporary newspaper obituary and suggests several additional mid-Atlantic states (Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland) as possible places of origin. Little is known of Maxwell’s early life, including his mother’s identity. Although he is reputed to have served as a revolutionary war soldier, his participation has not been confirmed by extant military records....

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McFarland, J. Horace (24 September 1859–02 October 1948), printer, civic reformer, and rosarian, was born John Horace McFarland in McAlisterville, Pennsylvania, the son of George Fisher McFarland, a schoolteacher, and Adeline Dellicher Griesemer. Following the Civil War, the family moved to Harrisburg, where Horace’s father bought and operated the Riverside Nurseries, a large property along the Susquehanna River. When he was sixteen, McFarland started setting type for the ...

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Mein, John (1732–1810), bookseller, printer, and Loyalist publisher, was born in Edinburgh, Scotland, the son of John Mein, a burgess and guildsman of Edinburgh and a slater by trade. His mother’s name is unknown. John, Jr., was also enrolled as a burgess and guildsman in December 1760. Little is known about Mein apart from his role in supporting British policy during the revolutionary crisis. He emigrated to Boston in November 1764 and set up the first of his three shops in company with ...

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Revere, Paul ( December 1734–10 May 1818), craftsman, patriot, and businessman, was born in Boston, Massachusetts, the son of Paul Revere, a goldsmith, and Deborah Hichborn (or Hitchborn). Revere’s father, born Apollos Rivoire, emigrated from France to Boston in 1715 at the age of thirteen and apprenticed with John Coney, a prominent local gold/silversmith. Shortly before his marriage he changed his name, first to Paul Rivoire and then to Paul Revere. The son’s birth date has long been the source of confusion since only his baptismal date, 22 December 1734 OS and 1 January 1735 NS, is recorded. Revere’s early life, fairly typical of boys of his day and economic status, included basic schooling at the North Writing School. During his teens he entered into a formal agreement with fellow North End youths to ring the bells at Christ Church for a fee. Revere’s own words, “My Father was a Goldsmith. … I learned the trade of him,” confirm that as the eldest surviving son, he apprenticed with his father, thus beginning his most enduring occupation. Though overshadowed by the fame of his son, the elder Revere’s skill as a gold/silversmith may actually have equaled that of his son. The younger Revere noted that his father died “in the year 1754, he left no estate, but he left a good name.” Just nineteen years old, Revere ran the shop with the help of his mother. In 1756 he received a commission as a second lieutenant of artillery and spent the better part of a year on an unsuccessful expedition to capture the French fort at Crown Point on Lake Champlain....

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Paul Revere. Drawing by Charles Févret de Saint-Mémin. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-7407).

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Robertson, James (1747–24 April 1816), Loyalist printer and journalist, was born in Stonehaven, Scotland, the son of Alexander Robertson, a printer, and possibly Elizabeth Anderson. (Records show that she was at some point married to his father but not whether she was the mother of his children.) James learned the trade of printing in his father’s shop in Edinburgh, but he did not remain in Scotland. In 1766 he sailed for America, seeking better opportunities for economic success. Robertson became a journeyman printer in the shop of ...

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Russell, Benjamin (13 September 1761–04 January 1845), printer, newspaper editor, and politician, was born in Boston, Massachusetts, the son of John Russell, a mason. By his fourteenth year he had learned the rudiments of typesetting by working around Isaiah Thomas’s Boston printing house. Benjamin’s career as a newspaperman was determined, in part, by his boyish curiosity when he followed British troops marching toward what turned out to be the battle of Concord on 19 April 1775. But British forces closed off travel between Boston and the outlying areas, preventing him from returning home....