, Newburyport, MA


September 27, 2013

Newburyport's history, told through newspapers


“Predecessor” has a special significance because this newspaper, born in 1887, included the Herald as part of its Newburyport Daily News masthead until it was dropped by the late Phillip S. Weld in 1952 when he acquired it and The Gloucester Times.

It’s difficult to imagine just how important newspapers became to a society when the only means of written communication had been by letters, and official broadsides.

Government has never been comfortable with them since the first appeared in Boston where “Public Occurrences Foreign and Domestic”, was published in 1690. Only one edition was distributed before it was shut down immediately by British authority.

Only one copy of it remains.

Of the 35 newspapers published in the city between 1773 and 1854, many did not last for more than a year. In some years, more than one newspaper appeared, suggesting needs for contrary voices to be heard.

History is told in many ways, but from its very beginning, the purpose of newspapers has been to bring information of interest sufficient to sustain publication. Failures were not uncommon.

Consider then, the importance to referencing local history of what has been reported upon by this newspaper since 1887, and what has been recovered of the Newburyport Herald.

It is said by many that newspapers are a dying breed of information presenters. There’s no questioning what has happened to the drain upon them, but there is much to question as to what could replace them.

In all that uncertainty, the library’s archive is an active sanctuary of the past and present and will be for whatever the future unfolds.


Bill Plante is a staff columnist.

Text Only | Photo Reprints

NDN Video
Obama: Putin must push separatists to aid MH17 probe Michigan inmates no longer allowed to wear orange due to 'OITNB' Adam Levine Ties the Knot Sebastian The Ibis Walks Beautiful Bride Down The Aisle | ACC Must See Moment NASA Ceremony Honors Moon Walker Neil Armstrong Faces of Souls Lost in Malaysian Plane Crash 105-year-old woman throws first pitch Man Creates Spreadsheet of Wife's Reasons for Turning Down Sex 'Weird Al' Is Wowed by Album's Success Rory McIlroy struggles, surges, wins British Open NOW TRENDING: Real life Pac-Man Explosions as hot air balloon crashes in Clinton DUI Driver Dragged to Safety by Officer After Walking Onto Busy Freeway Celebrities That We'd Like to Send to the Moon Spectacular lightning storm hits London Malaysian Flight Victim Was South Florida Grad Rory McIlroy on pace to break British Open records Officials Fear MH17 Site Now Tampered by Rebels Lowes employees repair Vietnam vet's wheelchair Widow of Staten Island man who died after NYPD takedown says he was unjustifiably targeted
Special Features
NRA Waterfront Plans