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The Jamesburg record. [volume] : (Jamesburg, N.J.) 1882-1904
Place of publication:
Jamesburg, N.J.
Geographic coverage:
  • Jamesburg, Middlesex, New Jersey  |  View more titles from this: City County, State
E.S. Hammell
Dates of publication:
  • Began with May 20, 1882 issue; ceased in 1904?
  • English
  • Description based on: Vol. 5, no. 217 (Jul. 10, 1886).
  • Has occasional supplements.
sn 85035661
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The Jamesburg record. [volume] May 20, 1882 , Image 1


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The Jamesburg Record

The Jamesburg Record was a four-page, seven column weekly newspaper published on Saturday by Edward S. Hammell from 1882 until 1904. Its politics were independent.

Located in Middlesex County, N.J., the town had several names prior to becoming known as Jamesburg. It came to be named after James Buckelew, a local resident and mill owner who, in 1845, became incensed that the local school would not admit a Black boy who lived with him. Buckelew built his own schoolhouse where all were welcome. The story goes that Buckelew's friends suggested he allow a cornerstone marked "James B." be placed on the building and soon afterward the settlement became known as Jamesburg.

By 1882, when Hammell launched the Jamesburg Record, Jamesburg, N.J. had a population of 681. It was the town's first newspaper, and Hammell relocated from Burlington County, N.J. to Jamesburg purposely to establish a newspaper. In his first column on May 2, Hammell talks about the great potential of Jamesburg, extolling its position between New York City and Philadelphia, "Your churches well attended; your schools well conducted; your fertile farmlands constantly improving; your bank admirably managed; your location healthy …." Hammell says that the paper will be independent of party, despite the manager's strong political feelings.

The first page of the newspaper consisted of advertising, poetry, a column called "wittylings," general interest news, and advice. The second page was reserved for happenings in the New Jersey legislature and in Washington D.C. along with current events. On page three "Home History" was a list of local Jamesburg personal news. Many of the Record's early advertisers were in Philadelphia as Jamesburg was situated on the Pennsylvania railroad line and advertised itself as being 47 miles from Philadelphia and 38 miles from New York.

Beginning in March of 1895, the Record expanded from four to eight pages. The increase in paper size meant Hammell could run fiction like A Study in Scarlet by Arthur Conan Doyle, which covered pages six and seven. Page one covered county news, the second and third pages were for miscellaneous stories and humor, the fourth for the editorial, the fifth for Jamesburg news, six and seven for fiction and poetry, and the eighth for news from the surrounding towns with "Neighborhood Notes."

The New Jersey State Reform School which had its own newspaper, the Advance, opened in Jamesburg in 1867 and operated as a school for delinquent boys was frequently reported on and supported in the columns of the Jamesburg Record. The sports teams, activities of the residents and staff, and the annual reports of the school were all staples in the paper. Hammell also used the Record to advocate for increased spending on the school, defending it against those who wanted to operate it as a boy's prison at minimal cost.

Surprising many of its readers, Hammell suspended the publication of the Jamesburg Record on June 3, 1904, after 22 years of operation. Rural free delivery routes increased the demand for daily newspapers making it increasingly difficult for small-town weekly newspapers to survive. Hammell took a position as a travelling salesman for a paper company. A group of local citizens, led by the mayor, tried to revive the paper in 1905 without success.

Provided by: Rutgers University Libraries