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Baltimore commercial journal, and Lyford's price-current. [volume] : (Baltimore, Md) 1840-1849
Place of publication:
Baltimore, Md
Geographic coverage:
  • Baltimore, Maryland  |  View more titles from this: City State
W.G. Lyford
Dates of publication:
  • Ceased in 1849?
  • Vol. 3, no. 1 (Feb. 29, 1840)-
  • English
  • Baltimore (Md.)--Newspapers.
  • Maryland--Baltimore.--fast--(OCoLC)fst01204292
  • Also issued on microfilm from the Library of Congress, Photoduplication Service.
  • Archived issues are available in digital format from the Library of Congress Chronicling America online collection.
sn 83009597
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Baltimore commercial journal, and Lyford's price-current. [volume] January 23, 1847 , Image 1


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Baltimore Commercial Journal, and Lyford's Price-Current

Price currents were the first type of business papers published in America and initially only contained tables of commodity prices and marine listings. James Stewart published Baltimore's first business newspaper, the weekly Commercial Register on March 1, 1798. He modeled it after London's popular commercial publication, Lloyd's List, but it did not take hold.

Five years later, Joseph Escavaille, proprietor of the Baltimore Exchange Reading Rooms, realized that the shopkeepers and businessmen who frequented his coffeehouse would benefit from the publication of an up-to-date Baltimore price current. In 1803 he began to publish the weekly Baltimore Price-Current, subsequently titled the Baltimore Weekly Price Current, and the Baltimore Price Current from 1813 onward. As was common for price currents of the time, the paper contained straight commercial data and did not editorialize. Escavaille's Price Current was well-renowned within Baltimore and around the country. It thrived for over 25 years at a time when few price currents lasted even five years.

Following Escavaille's sudden death in 1828, publication of the Baltimore Price Current was suspended until Escavaille's widow hired William G. Lyford to run the paper, as well as the reading rooms. Before moving to Baltimore, Lyford had owned and edited newspapers in Lexington, Staunton, and Norfolk, Virginia, and had run the Norfolk Commercial Reading and News Room. In 1808, he founded the Staunton Political Censor, later known as the Republican Farmer.

Lyford resurrected the Baltimore Price Current as Lyford's Price Current on March 3, 1838. In 1839, the title changed to Lyford's Baltimore Price Current and was altered again the following year to the Baltimore Commercial Journal, and Lyford's Price-Current. Its four pages contained information regarding postage rates, movements of boats and trains, rules and regulations for the Port of Baltimore, rates of pilotage, wholesale prices, stock prices and values, and more. It also reprinted prices from other major exchanges, contained brief reviews of domestic and foreign markets for the previous week, and included a marine list. Lyford's Price Current enjoyed the same respect as Escavaille's earlier version, but the paper was plagued by low subscribership throughout its existence. Lyford continued publishing the Price Current until declining health forced his retirement in 1849.

George U. Porter, who had worked as assistant editor for Lyford, and Thomas W. Tobin bought the paper, and on June 29, 1850, they issued the first number of the Baltimore Price-Current and Weekly Journal of Commerce. Its focus was commercial and shipping intelligence. Porter became the sole owner of the paper following Tobin's death in 1862.

In 1882, assistant editor Richard Hathaway Edmonds persuaded Porter to add an industrial section to the paper and rename the publication the Journal of Commerce and Manufacturers Record. After six months, Porter decided that the two sections should be published separately and sold the Manufacturers Record to Edmonds. The latter edited the Manufacturers Record while continuing his work for the Journal of Commerce. When Porter died in summer 1886, the Journal of Commerce and Price-Current was sold to the Manufacturers Record.

Richard Edmonds ran the Manufacturers’ Record for 38 years, with the exception of 1892 to 1893 when he left the paper in the hands of frequent contributor Edward H. Sanborn while he recovered from an illness. Edmonds mission, and thus the mission of the Manufacturers Record, was to advance the development and business interests of the South. Edmonds remained editor until his death in 1928, at which time the Manufacturers Record rapidly declined in popularity.

Provided by: University of Maryland, College Park, MD