VOLUME IX, now issued, contains a Check-List of Boston Newspapers from 1704 to 1780, inclusive.

    In July, 1903, Miss Mary F. Ayer, the daughter of our associate Dr. James B. Ayer, placed in the Boston Athenæum a Check-List of Boston Newspapers from 1704 to 1760. In this list was located every known issue of every Boston newspaper in eleven libraries. This Check-List proved of such utility that its printing seemed to be nothing less than a necessity. The matter was brought before the Council of this Society at its meeting in February, 1905, when it was —

    Voted, That the Committee of Publication are hereby authorized to print this Index in the Publications of the Society, provided Miss Ayer will continue it to 1780, — the period of the adoption of the Constitution.

    Miss Ayer very willingly undertook to carry out the wishes of the Council, and even increased our obligations by adding another library — that of the Bostonian Society — to her list.

    The Check-List was communicated to the Society at its meeting in April, 1905, when the following motion was unanimously adopted:

    Voted, That the thanks of The Colonial Society of Massachusetts be extended to Miss Mary Farwell Ayer for completing, at the request of the Council, her laborious and valuable Check-List of Boston Newspapers from 1704 to 1780, and for presenting it to the Society to be printed in its Publications.

    It having been found, after a careful examination, that previous accounts of Boston newspapers of the eighteenth century were, as regards bibliographical details, both incomplete and inaccurate, the Editor of Publications undertook the preparation of Bibliographical Notes. Mr. Matthews has done this work so thoroughly that the Bibliographical Notes in this volume at once supersede all previous accounts of Boston newspapers during the period from 1704 to 1780.

    In the present volume are listed the Boston newspapers found in the following fourteen libraries:

    • American Antiquarian Society, Worcester.
    • Boston Athenæum, Boston.
    • Boston Public Library, Boston.
    • Bostonian Society, Boston.
    • Essex Institute, Salem.
    • Harvard College Library, Cambridge.
    • Historical Society of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia.
    • Lenox (New York Public) Library, New York.
    • Library of Congress, Washington.
    • Massachusetts Historical Society, Boston.
    • Massachusetts State Library, Boston.
    • New-England Historic Genealogical Society, Boston.
    • New York Historical Society, New York.
    • State Historical Society of Wisconsin, Madison, Wisconsin.

    At nine of these libraries, the necessary information was collected by Miss Ayer and the Editor, but at the other five it was furnished by the officials in charge, — namely, at the Lenox Library, the Library of Congress, and the libraries of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania, the New York Historical Society, and the State Historical Society of Wisconsin. To the librarians and officials of these five libraries in particular, and also to the officials of the other nine — without whose cooperation the compilation of this volume would have been much more difficult, if not impossible — the Committee takes pleasure in expressing the warmest thanks of the Society.

    It is estimated that this volume contains not far from a quarter of a million bibliographical details. In spite of the extreme care taken to insure correctness, it is impossible to believe that errors have not crept in; but the Committee is convinced that the work of Miss Ayer, of Mr. Matthews, and of the library officials has been extraordinarily accurate.

    It is hoped that the publication of this volume, besides being of great value to historical and other scholars, will lead to the detection of errors and to the discovery of hitherto unknown copies of newspapers either in libraries or in private hands, will cause librarians to take greater care in the arrangement and preservation of their files, and will induce other societies to undertake similar bibliographies. Check-lists of New York, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, or South Carolina newspapers of the eighteenth century would be of inestimable service.

    For the Committee of Publication,

    John Noble,


    Boston, March 16, 1907