George Rogers Howell’s “Bi-Centennial History of the County of Albany,” which covered the city and county through that bi-centennial year (dating to the charter) of 1886, tried to “give a list of all periodical publications of any importance issuing from the press of the county since the very first newspaper printed in the city in 1771.” He noted that the sources were sometimes incomplete or contradictory with regard to dates, and I haven’t made an attempt (yet) to correlate these with a similar listing of publications at the Library of Congress. Someday that’ll happen.
It’s hard to remember how important Albany was in the early days of the republic. Right through the Civil War and almost into the 20th century, the Albany press mattered. Partly because of its position as the seat of state government, partly because of its proximity to New York City, partly because it was at the head of the Erie Canal, Albany was a cauldron of political thought and action, a place where a young congressman named Abraham Lincoln, on the stump for presidential candidate Zachary Taylor, would come to meet with publisher/kingmaker Thurlow Weed.
It was also a place where technology advanced, and for a while (a fairly long while) was one of the most important publishing centers in the country. It was in Albany that steam first drove a printing press, in Albany that massive publishers like J.B. Lyon grew.
As Howell notes, the very first newspaper printed in the city was in 1771, the Albany Gazette. It was far from the last. Here is Howell’s listing of just the more major papers that were published up through 1886. It’s arranged a little oddly, giving the year and the date, where known, that the newspapers began; in some years there were multiple publications commenced, in others none. There may be more up-to-date information somewhere, and we may follow up on a few of these, but here is Howell’s original list:
1771.–November. Albany Gazette, published by James & Alexander Robertson. Discontinued about 1776, the publisher having joined the British and gone to New York City.
1782.–June 3. New York Gazette, or Northern Intelligencer, weekly. Balentine & Webster, publishers. The name was changed and Balentine left out.
1784.–May 28. The Albany Gazette, weekly. Charles R. Webster, publisher. May 25, 1789, semi weekly. United with the Albany Advertiser, March 1817, and so continued until April 14, 1845.
1788.–January 26. The Albany Journal, or Montgomery, Washington and Columbia Intelligencer. Charles R. & George Webster, publishers. Semi-weekly, winter and summer. In connection with the Gazette. Discontinued May 25, 1789. February 11, The Federal Herald. Removed from Lansingburgh by Claxton & Babcock, and soon after returned. The Albany Register, weekly; John & Robert Barber until 1808; Solomon Southwick until 1817. Revived in 1818 by Israel W. Clark.
1796.–November. The Chronicle, John McDonald. Joseph Fry, printer, whom Henry C. Southwick succeeded. Discontinued in 1799.
1797.–The Albany Centinel. Loring C. Andrews; afterwards Whiting, Backus & Whiting. Discontinued, November 10, 1806.
1806.–November 11. The Centinel revived in The Republican Crisis. Backus & Whiting, and then Isaac Mitchell, publishers. 1808, Harry Croswell & Co.; William Tucker, printer. In 1809, name changed to The Balance and New York State Journal, Crowswell & Frary. Removed to Hudson in 1811.
1807.–The Guardian. Van Benthuysen & Wood, Court street, three doors below Hudson street. Continued about two years.
1812.–April 11. The Albany Republican. Samuel R. Brown. Succeeded by Mr. Romain. Finally taken to Saratoga.
1813.– January 26. The Albany Argus, tri-weekly, semi-weekly and weekly. Founded by Jesse Buel. A daily in 1825. The Croswells, Comstock, Cassidy and Manning have been among its publishers and editors. Now the Argus Co. publish it.
1813-14.–The Stranger, 8vo, published by John Cook.
1815.–June. The American Magazine, monthly. Horatio Gates Spofford [sic]. Discontinued May, 1816. September 25, Albany Daily Advertiser. Theodore Dwight, editor. John W. Walker, printer. In March, 1817, William L. Stone consolidated it with the Albany Gazette. Published by the Websters as Albany Gazette and Advertiser until April 14, 1845. June 3, Christian Visitant, 4to [meaning quarto], by Solomon Southwick. Continued two years. The Friend, 8vo [meaning octavo], monthly, by D. & S.A. Abbey. Continued one year. The Statesman, published and edited by Nathaniel H. Carter, a graduate of Dartmouth College. Removed to New York in 1818.
1819.–June 5. The Ploughboy. Solomon Southwick, editor; John O. Cole, printer.
1820.–Albany Microscope, started by Charles Galpin and continued few years.
1822.–August 3. The Oriental Star, weekly. Religious. Bezaleel Howe.
1823.–National Democrat. William McDougal. Published at Albany and New York. Discontinued April 7, 1824. Revived April 20, by Solomon Southwick.
1824.–May. Religious Monitor, monthly. Chauncey Webster. Removed to Philadelphia.
1825.–August 8. The Albany Patriot and Daily Commercial Intelligencer. George Galpin.
1826.–July 25. National Observer, weekly and semi-weekly, by George Galpin. Continued four years. Edited by Solomon Southwick.
1826.–April 22. Albany Daily Chronicle. Chas. Galpin & M.M. Cole; also, Albany Morning Chronicle, John Denio & Seth Richards. Discontinued in 1827.
1826.–Escritoire, or Masonic and Miscellaneous Album, started by E.B. Child. February 3, 1827, changed to American Masonic Record and Albany Saturday Magazine, E.B. Child. Changed to American Masonic Record and Albany Literary Journal, January 30, 1830. May, the Albany Christian Register, by L.G. Hoffman. J.R. Boyd, editor. Christian Register and Telegraph united with the Journal (of Utica) and published by Hosford & Wait as the Journal and Telegraph, November 21, 1831. About this time Lewis G. Hoffman published the American Masonic Register, five years.
1827.–May. The Antidote, by Solomon Southwick, editor; Webster & Wood, publishers. The Standard, weekly, by Matthew Cole. August 4. The Comet, by Daniel McGlashan, editor. October 13. The Albany Signs of the Times and Literary Writer, Daniel McGlashan, publisher; J.B. Van Schaick and S.D.W. Bloodgood, editors.
1828.–The Morning Chronicle, daily, by Beach, Denio & Richards. Albany Chronicle, semi-weekly.
1828.–The Age, by Galpin & Sturtevant.
1828.–December 27. Albany Times and Literary Writer, James McGlashan, publisher; Bloodgood and Van Schaick, editors.
1828.–Albany Minerva, by Joel Munsell.
1830.–January 30. The Albanian, semi-monthly, Arthur N. Sherman. March 22. The Albany Evening Journal, Thurlow Weed, editor; B.D. Packard & Co., publishers. April 3. Farmers’, Mechanics’, and Workingmen’s Advocate, McPherson & McKercher. April. Albany Bee, J. Duffy, W.S. McCulloch & C. Angus.
1831.–September 7. Albany Literary Gazette, John P. Jermain, editor; James D. Nicholson, publisher. November 21. Journal and Telegraph, Hosford & Wait. Temperance Recorder, monthly.
1832.–January 5. Daily Craftsman. Roberts and James, editors. The Albany Quarterly, 8vo, by Albany Historical Society; edited by J.R. & S.M. Wilson. One volume issued.
1833.–February. American Quarterly Hemp Magazine. Continued two years.
1834.–March. The Cultivator, conducted by Jesse Buel, J.P. Beekman, and J.D. Wasson. April 5. The Daily News, Hunter & Hoffman. Albany Whig, by J.B. Van Schaick & Co.
1834.–January. American Temperance Intelligencer, monthly.
1835.–October 12. The Albany Transcript, C.F. Powell & Co., a penny paper.
1835.–May. The Silk Worm, monthly; two years; then changed to The Silk Worm and Sugar Manual; discontinued in 1858.
1836.–The Zodiac, Monthly, by Gen. De Coudrey Holstein. The Common School Assistant, by J. Orville Taylor.
1838.–January 6. The Family Newspaper, weekly, by Solomon Southwick. July 4. Daily Patriot, an anti-slavery paper, by J.G. Wallace.
1840.–The Jeffersonian, a campaign paper, by Horace Greeley. September 19. The Unionist, a daily campaign paper, by J. Munsell, C. Loveridge, and others. Tomahawk and Scalping Knife, short time. Albany Patriot, by J.C. Jackson, four years. The Rough Hewer, daily, campaign.
1841.–Albany Atlas, by Vance & Wendell. William Cassidy and H.H. Van Dyke became editors in 1843.
1842.–The Irishman, by H. O’Kane, seven weeks. The Sunday Tickler, by C.W. Taylor. Albany Switch, by H.J. Hastings; afterwards by E. Leslie. November 13. Youth’s Temperance Enterprise, J. Stanley Smith; three years.
1843.–September 4. Daily Knickerbocker, by Hugh J. Hastings. Weekly Knickerbocker, June 8, 1857. The Subterranean, by James Duffy.
1845.–April 9. The Albany Freeholder, a weekly anti-rent paper, by Thomas A. Devyr. The Gavel, by Joel Munsell. The Scourge, by Woodward & Packard. Vesper Bell, by Abbott & Crosby.
1846.–December 8. Albany Herald, by A.B. Van Olinda. The Balance. December 17. Albany Morning Telegraph.
1847.–District School Journal, By Francis Dwight. The Castigator, by M.J. Smith. September 13. Albany Morning Express, a penny paper, by Stone & Henley; discontinued March 22, 1856. Albany Weekly Express, issued February 1, 1851.
1848.–Christian Palladium, by Jasper Hazen; removed to New Jersey in 1855; was called Christian Herald from 1849. The Busy Bee, by E. Andrews, two years. The Castigator, by Mortimer Smith, editor.
1849.–May 15. The Albany Daily Messenger, a penny paper, by B.F. Romaine, editor. June 30. Sunday Dutchman.
1850.–February 16. Albany Daily Times, by Heron, Furman & Thornton. Half-Dollar Monthly, by B.F. Romaine. Journal of the New York State Agricultural Society; published many years. Albany Evening Atlas.
1851.–September 1. Albany Daily Eagle, a penny paper, by John Sharts; four months. January 4. American Mechanic, by J.M. Patterson. Carson League, removed from Syracuse, by J.T. Hazen & T.L. Carson. Albany Minor and Literary Cabinet, by J.H. Carroll & W.M. Colburn. October 11. The Cithren, by Warner & Hooker. Northern Light; continued about three years; conducted by Messrs. Dix, Beck, Dean, Delavan, Hawley, Johnson, Olcott, and Street; a well edited literary paper, as its editors’ names indicate.
1852.–Temperance Recorder. September 11. Family Intelligencer, by Rev. Jasper Hazen; then by J.T. Hazen. The New York Teacher, conducted by James Cruikshank, T.W. Valentine, Francis Dwight, and other teachers, as the organ of the New York State Teachers’ Association, for several years. Albay Freie Blaetter, by August Miggael.
1853.–February 1. Evening Transcript, first Albany penny paper, by Cuyler & Henley. Prohibitionist, organ of New York State Temperance Society; edited by Prof. A. McCoy; in 1857, united with Journal of American Temperance Union.
1854.–Family Dental Journal, monthly, by D.C. Estes.
1855.–July 21. State Police Tribune, by S.H. Parsons & R.M. Griffin. Removed to New York.
1856.–March 23. Albany Daily Statesman. April 21. Albany Morning Times, by Stone & Co. September 8. Albany Evening Union, a penny paper; James McFarlane. Albany Volksblatt, by George Herb.
1857.–Albany Microscope, Charles Galpin. May 4. Albany Morning Express, J.C. Cuyler, editor; Stone & Henly, publishers. Albany Evening Herald, changed to Albany Evening Union, June 29, 1857.
1858.–American Citizen. Evening Courier. August. The Hour and the Man, daily and weekly, by George W. Clarke & John J. Thomas. October. Mercantile Horn, weekly, gratis. Voice of the People, campaign paper. December. Evening Standard, by R.M. Griffin & Co. Independent Press; only a few months. Astronomical Notes, edited by Prof. Brunow. American Magazine, monthly, by J.S. & B. Wood; about one and a half years. The Gavel, two years, by John Tanner. State Military Gazette, by C.G. Stone; removed to New York.
1863.–January 17. Standard and Statesman.
1865.–October. Albany Evening Post, a penny paper, by M.&E. Griffin.
1883.–Outing, by Outing Publishing and Printing Company, 59 North Pearl street. Removed to Boston.
1881.–The Inquirer and Criterion, weekly, by Charles S. Carpenter; February 20, 1882, by Burdick & Taylor. Discontinued January 5, 1884. Republished as The Inquirer, April 30, 184. Now discontinued.
Tomorrow: Today’s newspapers (assuming today is 1886).