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The gazette. [volume] : (Portland, Me.) 1798-1799
Place of publication:
Portland, Me.
Geographic coverage:
  • Portland, Cumberland, Maine  |  View more titles from this: City County, State
Elezer Alley Jenks
Dates of publication:
  • Vol. 1, no. 1 (Apr. 16, 1798)-v. 1, no. 52 (Apr. 22, 1799).
  • English
  • Cumberland County (Me.)--Newspapers.
  • Maine--Cumberland County.--fast--(OCoLC)fst01221057
  • Maine--Portland.--fast--(OCoLC)fst01213254
  • Portland (Me.)--Newspapers.
  • Also issued on microfilm by the Center for Research Libraries and Readex Microprint Corp.
  • Suspended with Apr. 23, 1798 issue; resumed with May 14, 1798 issue.
sn 83045634
Succeeding Titles:
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The gazette. [volume] April 16, 1798 , Image 1


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The Portland Gazette Titles

The history of early newspapers in Maine is confounded by instability of ownership, reuse of titles, changes in the names of towns, and politics. The Gazette, founded in Portland in 1798 by Elezer (or Eleazer) Alley Jenks, is a good case of that. Prior to Jenks's Gazette and prior to the incorporation of Portland, the area that is now Portland was called Falmouth, and the District of Maine was part of Massachusetts. The first newspaper published in Maine was the Falmouth Gazette and Weekly Advertiser (1785), run by Thomas Wait, printed by Benjamin Titcomb. With a population of 1900, Portland incorporated a year later, and the name of the paper changed to the Cumberland Gazette. In the 1790s, Titcomb started a rival paper, the Gazette of Maine, and Wait changed the name of his paper, again, to the Eastern Herald. Titcomb's Gazette and Wait's Eastern Herald were consolidated and renamed the Eastern Herald and Gazette of Maine by buyer John K. Baker, who sold to a partner, Daniel George. For a matter of weeks, the paper was known as Russell & George's Eastern Herald & Maine Gazette, and then the Eastern Herald & Maine Gazette.

Meanwhile, Jenks's Gazette changed names several times:

-          The Gazette, 1798-1799

-          Jenks's Portland Gazette, 1799-1802

-          Jenks' Portland Gazette. Maine Advertiser, 1802-1803

-          Jenks' Portland Gazette. And Maine Advertiser, 1803

-          Jenks' Portland Gazette, 1803-1805

-          Portland Gazette, 1805

-          Portland Gazette and Maine Advertiser, 1805-1818

-          The Portland Gazette, 1818-1824

Both Jenks and George died in 1804, and by 1805, both of their papers had been acquired by Isaac Adams, a leading citizen who was a town selectman and state legislator. Adams was joined by Arthur Shirley after three years, and by 1811, Adams was out. Shirley was joined in 1819 by editor William Willis, the first time the office of editor was ever separated from the business of publication, according to the 1872 History of the Press of Maine.

The chief rival to the Federalist/anti-separatist Gazette was the Democratic/separatist Eastern Argus, founded in 1803 by Calvin Day and Nathaniel Willis, father of the authors N.P. Willis and Fanny Fern. Maine separated from Massachusetts in 1820, when the population of Portland was 8600; the city's population was 12,600 in 1830. Portland stood on the brink of a regional literary renaissance that included writers such as John Neal, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Grenville Mellen (who briefly edited the Gazette), and Seba and Elizabeth Oakes Smith. The state capital moved from Portland to Augusta in 1831, and other papers emerged, such as the Daily Courier (1829) and Daily Eastern Argus (1835).

Shirley left the Gazette in 1822, returned briefly in 1826, then sold the paper to Jacob Hill and John Edwards, edited by J.D. Hopkins and then William D. Sewall. Under Sewall, the title of the paper changed again: Portland Advertiser for the semi-weekly edition, Gazette of Maine for the weekly. Several other owners and editors occupied the Advertiser's offices: William E. Edwards, James Brooks, Phinehas Barnes, Henry Carter, Joseph M. Gerrish, A.F. Gerrish, Reuben Ordway. The paper declined in the 1850s under proprietor John M. Wood, who reportedly focused more on his real estate and railroad interests. In 1868, the Evening Star (successor to the Courier) purchased the Advertiser, which continued as an evening paper.

The title Advertiser survived into the 20th century through mergers and acquisitions. The Portland Daily Advertiser merged with its evening competitor, Col. Frederick Neal Dow's Evening Express, in 1909 or 1910, which was bought out by Guy Gannett in 1925. From Gannett's purchase, today's Portland Press Herald and Maine Sunday Telegram can trace its lineage back to the Gazette of the 18th century.

Provided by: Maine State Library