On 20 March, 1727, Samuel Kneeland published the first issue of the fourth Boston newspaper — the New-England Weekly-Journal.

    It has already been noted that for the years 1723–1726 a letter was printed at the upper left-hand corner of the first page of the Boston News-Letter, and that for several years a similar but more elaborate practice was followed in the New-England Weekly Journal.304 Isaiah Thomas wrote:

    In the head, preceding the title, a signature was inserted weekly, the signification of which I have not ascertained — it was a letter of the alphabet; first, A, with a figure after it, was used for several months, changing the figure weekly; then B took the place of A, and so on; but the same letter did not appear to be continued for any definite period. After two or three years, the signature consisted of a letter without a figure.

    Thomas’s account is inaccurate, for the scheme actually pursued is as follows:

    • A 1727, March 20 – June 19.
    • A 2 1727, June 26 – September 18.
    • A 3 1727, September 25 – December 18.
    • A 4 1727, December 25 – 1728, March 25.
    • B 1728, April 1 – June 24.
    • B 2 1728, July 1 – September 23.
    • B 3 1728, September 30 – December 30.
    • B 4 1729, January 6 – March 30.
    • C 1729, April 7 – June 30.
    • C 2 1729, July 7 – September 29.
    • C 3 1729, October 6 – December 29.
    • C 4 1730, January 5 – March 16.
    • D 1730, March 23 – 1732, March 20.
    • F 1732, March 27 – 1733, April 9.
    • G 1733, April 16 – December 31.
    • H 1734, January 7 – January 28.

    It will be seen that from 20 March, 1727, to 16 March, 1730, the letter remained the same throughout a given year, while the figure changed quarterly; that from 23 March, 1730, to 28 January, 1734, a letter only was employed; that the letter E was omitted; and that the practice ceased after 28 January, 1734.

    It has already been stated that it is not always possible to distinguish between publisher and printer.305 From 20 March to 26 June, 1727, the New-England Weekly Journal was printed by Samuel Kneeland alone, after which it was printed by Samuel Kneeland and Timothy Green. The issue of 10 April, 1727, contained the following (p. 2/2):

    P.S. Those Gentlemen or Ladies, who will do me the Honour to write to me, and by that means contribute to the Embellishment of my Journal, are desired to direct their Letters, till I can think of my true Name, (unless they are disposed to be more than ordinary Witty and Satyrical) to PROTEUS ECHO, Esq; at Mr. Samuel Kneeland’s in Queen Street. Post Paid.

    In the following notice, which was inserted in the issue of 8 April, 1728 (p. 1/1), it will be observed that the editorial “we” is employed:

    ☞ There are Measures concerting for rendring this Paper yet more universally esteemed, and useful, in which ’tis hop’d the Publick will be gratify’d, and by which those Gentlemen who desire to be improv’d in History, Philosophy, Poetry, &c. will be greatly advantaged. We take the liberty at this time to insert the following Passage of History.

    In the issue of 3 February, 1729, appeared this notice (p. 2/2):

    The Printer of this Paper would have emitted herewith his Desire, that some Errors of the last Journal might be laid to his Charge; he not having then any Person by Him to correct the Press, as usual, and being since convinced they are his own; such as . . . with a few other slips which if the Reader pardons, he will oblige

    The Printer.

    Isaiah Thomas wrote:

    For the first year of the partnership, there was a singularity of this kind. —The imprint to the Journal was, “Printed by S. Kneeland and T. Green,” &c. yet Green alone, it seems, was responsible for the correctness of the paper, and appears to have been sole conductor of it. In such advertisements, published in the Journal, as required explanation, the public were requested to “enquire of the Printer.”

    Thomas then went on to give the notice quoted in part above, and remarked:

    Immediately after this notice, the imprint, “S. Kneeland & T. Green” stands as usual. This may be explained by observing, that Kneeland committed the printing of the Journal to Green, and for four or five years, after their partnership commenced, himself kept a bookshop in King’s street. The shop occupied the attention of Kneeland; and, although the Journal was printed in the name of Kneeland and Green, yet the former was considered as the proprietor, and the latter as the printer, and the profits were shared between them.

    The issue of 20 March, 1727, had the word “NUMB.” in the upper right-hand corner of the first page, but no figure following it. In numbering the issues dated 27 March, 1727–28 April, 1735, Roman numerals were used, while in numbering the issues dated 5 May, 1735–13 October, 1741, Arabic numerals were employed.

    The issue of 8 April, 1728, has been reproduced, notably in Dr. Samuel A. Green’s Ten Fac-simile Reproductions Relating to Various Subjects (1903).

    The bibliographical details relating to the New-England Weekly Journal are arranged under the following four heads:

    • I. Titles.
    • II. Days of Publication.
    • III. Publishers, Printers, and Places of Publication.
    • IV. Devices.


    1727, March 20: The New-England Weekly Journal.306


    Monday: 1727, March 20.

    Tuesday: 1735, August 12.307


    1727, March 20 – June 26: Published and printed by Samuel Kneeland in Queen Street.

    1727, July 3 – 1741, October 13: Published and printed by Samuel Kneeland and Timothy Green in Queen Street.