1809 : Michigan’s First Newspaper

August 31, 2022 all-day

Michigan's First Newspaper

Michigan’s first newspaper appeared two hundred years ago. The first – and possibly only – issue of The Michigan Essay; or, the Impartial Observer was printed on August 31, 1809. James M. Miller published this four-page paper, printing it on the press of Father Gabriel Richard.

“A Shaky Start and a Short Life…”

The paper promised to publish a new issue every Thursday. There is no evidence, however, that volume 1, no. 2 was ever printed. A shaky start and a short life were common for pioneer papers. In those days, the only thing harder to come by than a steady supply of newsprint was a good supply of paying subscribers. The Michigan Essay set its subscription for Detroit residents at five dollars per year, payable half-yearly in advance. For more distant subscribers, the price was reduced to four dollars per year.

Source : Kevin Driedger, Library of Michigan, “Journalism on the Frontier”, Seeking Michigan, August 25, 2009

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