Search America's historic newspaper pages from 1777-1963 or use the U.S. Newspaper Directory to find information about American newspapers published between 1690-present. Chronicling America is sponsored jointly by the National Endowment for the Humanities external link and the Library of Congress. Learn more
About Alexandria advertiser and commercial intelligencer. [volume] (Alexandria [Va.]) 1800-1803
Alexandria [Va.] (1800-1803)
- Alexandria advertiser and commercial intelligencer. [volume] : (Alexandria [Va.]) 1800-1803
- Alternative Titles:
- Alexandria advertiser & commercial intelligencer
- Place of publication:
- Alexandria [Va.]
- Geographic coverage:
- S. Snowden & Co.
- Dates of publication:
- Vol. 1, no. 1 (Dec. 8, 1800)-v. 3, no. 861 (Sept. 16, 1803).
- Daily (except Sunday)
- Alexandria (Va.)--Newspapers.
- Alexandria County (Va.)--Newspapers.
- Virginia--Alexandria County.--fast--(OCoLC)fst01225052
- Also issued on microfilm from Readex Microprint Corp. and the Library of Congress Photoduplication Service.
- sn 84024011
- Preceding Titles:
- Succeeding Titles:
- View complete holdings information
- First Issue Last Issue
Early Alexandria Advertiser and Gazette Titles
In 1800, after achieving success as a newspaper printer in Baltimore, Matthew Brown (1774-1831), Philadelphia-trained printer, hoped to launch a Federalist newspaper in the Nation's Capital. That summer, he joined forces with Samuel Snowden, a journeyman printer and collection agent in the Yundt & Brown office, in the hopes of producing the Washington Advertiser to be published daily during the Congressional sessions and triweekly during recesses.
The two men soon found, however, that they were not alone in their ambitions to start a Federalist newspaper in Washington D.C. In July, shortly after Brown and Snowden announced their undertaking, William Alexander Rind moved his Virginia Federalist from Richmond to Georgetown, introducing it as the Washington Federalist in September 1800. Undeterred by their competitor, Brown and Snowden printed a prospectus issue for the Washington Advertiser on November 20, while also collecting subscribers for the new venture.
In the weeks following, Brown and Snowden's plans changed when they learned that William Fowler's struggling Columbian Mirror and Alexandria Gazette was for sale. In late November 1800, they decided to buy Fowler's Alexandria newspaper instead of competing with Rind on the other side of the Potomac. The two men became Alexandria's sole Federalist printers, renaming the eight-year-old paper the Alexandria Advertiser and Commercial Intelligencer. Though the Alexandria Advertiser succeeded the Columbian Mirror, the two papers were not strictly successive, rather, Brown and Snowden's new paper absorbed Fowler's.
Brown and Snowden increased the Advertiser's frequency from triweekly to daily, starting with the first issue printed on December 8, 1800, and charged a subscription rate of five dollars per annum. The masthead of the Advertiser included an engraving of, in Snowden's words, "the immortal patriot of Mount Vernon," George Washington. In the introductory issue, they explained to readers that, "the editors feel the disposition to tread the beaten tract of editorial explanation … their principles will be correct and strictly Federal—making the preservation of the Union, an attachment to the government, obedience to the laws … the leading objects of their political career." The Advertiser reported foreign and domestic news, covered congressional and legislative activity, reprinted presidential addresses, and contained editorials and advertisements for local businesses and property sales.
On June 9, 1802, Brown withdrew from the partnership, leaving the paper to Snowden, who retained control, if not full ownership, until his death in 1831. Between 1800 and 1834, the paper's name changed several times. On September 19, 1803, Snowden shortened the title to the Alexandria Daily Advertiser and simplified the masthead's design, removing the Washington portrait.
For financial reasons, Snowden sold his interest in the paper to an anonymous individual in the summer of 1807, but retained his role as printer "for the Proprietor," an arrangement that lasted until September 18, 1808. During that time, on July 11, 1808, the paper's name changed to the Alexandria Daily Gazette, Commercial & Political. With the September 18, 1808 issue, Snowden regained sole ownership, until acquiring another partner in September 1812. Around that time, "daily" was removed from the title, and it became the Alexandria Gazette, Commercial and Political.
With the issue of May 14, 1817, Snowden altered the title of his daily, yet again, to the Alexandria Gazette & Daily Advertiser hoping to appeal to a broader audience by distancing it from its past Federalist incarnations. For a short period, from April through June 1822, the title was simply the Alexandria Gazette, until it was renamed the Alexandria Gazette & Advertiser from June 11, 1822 to December 30, 1824, when Snowden's bankruptcy forced a shutdown of the paper.
Soon after, Snowden began publishing a new tri-weekly called the Phenix Gazette with partner W. F. Thornton. For legal reasons, Snowden claimed on January 1, 1825 that the Phenix Gazette was not "a continuation of the other, but as a new and independent journal." The first issue of the Phenix Gazette appeared on January 1, 1825, and by late fall, the forced reorganization restored Snowden's solvency and allowed him to resume a daily publishing schedule on December 5, 1825.
The firm of Snowden & Thornton continued until July 1828, when Thornton sold his portion of the business to Snowden, who then made his only son, Edgar, his partner and successor. Upon Samuel's death, on July 14, 1831, Edgar became editor and proprietor of the paper until his death in 1875. On January 1, 1834, the paper became the Alexandria Gazette, the name it retained until 1974.
Provided by: Library of Virginia; Richmond, VA