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New Acquisition: Early American Newspaper

Masthead of Massachusetts Spy from 1784


As we look forward to celebrating Independence Day next week, we are pleased to announce the acquisition of an early American newspaper that features the work of Paul Revere, one of the iconic figures from the American Revolution.

This issue of the Massachusetts Spy was published on October 14, 1784, just a little more than a year following the official end of the Revolutionary War. The masthead, seen in the photo above, was engraved by Paul Revere and used by the newspaper for three years, beginning in 1781. Although known primarily for his work as a silversmith, and for his midnight ride memorialized in a poem by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Revere was also an engraver.

The Massachusetts Spy newspaper was established in Boston in 1770, and moved to Worcester in April 1775, at the very beginning of the war. This issue from 1784 provides insight into day-to-day life in early America, particularly through its many advertisements.

As newspapers preserve a record of major events as well as more local and immediate concerns, research with early newspapers can be one effective tool for developing historical understanding. Students who use newspapers in Pepperdine's Special Collections, where this item will be available for research, often view the experience as a tangible way of connecting with the past.

As we celebrate our freedom next week, may we also continue to critically examine our past and work towards freedom for all.


Photographs by Olson Rare Books. 


Image of 184 edition of Massachusetts Spy