Sample Essay on:
Colonial Printing, Publishing and Benjamin Franklin’s “The Autobiography”

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Essay / Research Paper Abstract

A 3 page paper which examines what can be learned about the business of printing and publishing in colonial America by Benjamin Franklin’s autobiography. Bibliography lists 3 sources.

Page Count:

3 pages (~225 words per page)

File: TG15_TGbfprint.rtf

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Unformatted sample text from the term paper:

the most rudimentary of reading skills and was comprised of individuals, not conglomerates (Brown). Today, most printing and publishing is accomplished electronically with computer generated page layouts, design and composition. There is also a huge market for printed material that did not exist back in the eighteenth century when colonists had little or no leisure time since land had to be cleared for homesteads to be established (Brown). In colonial America, printing newspapers, pamphlets, and books was an arduous undertaking. Printing presses were constructed out of wood and were operated by hand by a lever and screw (Brown). The printing and publishing industries were predominantly family-operated businesses and a rigorous apprenticeship was required of colonial printers. There is, perhaps, no greater historical resource on what the business of printing and publishing was like in colonial America than Benjamin Franklins memoir, entitled simply The Autobiography, which chronicled the founding fathers life until 1757 and was first published in 1771. Franklins desire to become a printer was fueled by the love of reading he had since childhood. His brother James was a printer and his first published prose, entitled "The Lighthouse Tragedy" was, as were all works of the time, self-published, and were handed out to Bostonian readers by the twelve-year-old author himself (DuHadaway 34). Because paper was a rare commodity in colonial America, James Franklin, like his contemporaries, had to import it from England (Brown). Young Ben became an enthusiastic printing apprentice, and his observations offer considerable insight into what the business was like during these difficult early days: "My brother had, in 1720 or 1721, begun to print a newspaper. It was the second that appeared in America, and was called the New England Courant. The only one ...

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