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Colonial Printing and Publishing

Updated on December 13, 2018

Early Colonial Printers and Publishers

The Green's and Bradford's have a long history of being among the first Colonial printers in Massachusetts. William Bradford printed and published some of Annie's work in the years before and after 1700.

An important title published by Bradford was Green's "Printer of the Province of Maryland. She also was active in bestowing on Richard Pierce of Boston the title "Printer to the Honourable His majesty's President & Council of this his Majesties Territory and Dominions of New England.

Most of what was printed then consisted mainly of laws, acts of assembly,sermons,proclamations and speeches. For other works blank forms were created that had to filled in by hand.

Samuel Green printed on the first Cambridge press in 1656. A well known title was John Cotton's "Spiritual Milk for Boston Babes"

William Bradford printed many titles for Benjamin Keach in 1707.

Benjamin Franklin became active in the presses in 1749 when he published "A Token for Children", It was an exact account of the conversion,holy and exemplary lives, and joyful death of several young children. Shortly after this Mr. Franklin became interested in poetry and wrote a few short poems.

Many other printers came on board the publishing circuit including Elizabeth Goose, the wife of Thomas Fleet who gave us the Mother Goose nursery rhymes and melodies.

E.A. Green

The following poem was written by Elizabeth Annie Barbee Green at Greenland Cottage Virginia on Monday, February 7, 1876.

She was my great ,great, great paternal grandmother. It took me several years to track down who wrote it as she had only signed it E.A. Green leading me to spend a lot of time looking for a male poet.
In studying the poem and fitting all the characters to my ancestors I can only say . She seems to have been completely surrounded by death and sadness.

Verses 1-4

Many dear friends I’ve seen depart
And borne beyond the gloom
The gloomy entrance f the grave
The dark and silent tomb
They still are going one by one
Till many now have gone
Gone to the cold and silent grave
And I am following on

From the sad hour my Gabriel died
A troubled heart I’ve borne
With deep felt grief I gave him up
While I was left to mourn
Since first I saw him breathe his last
No gleam of bliss I’ve known
With him life’s pleasures passed away
And I am following on

And ere my heart one solace knew
More trials sad begun
A sister dear grew faint and sick
And soon her race was won
She as the righteous passed from earth
Her soul to heaven has gone
She's now at rest beyond the grave
And I am following on

Then with a heart already crushed
I saw with grief and fear
The change in a frail and suffering one
Who was my brother dear
That patient Christian brother died
Who had in meekness borne
Long, long years of suffering here
Like him I’m following on

Verses 4-8

Then Oh with sad desponding heart
I heard with grief unknown
The last the dying words of one
Whom still I miss and mourn
Those words” Oh come to me in heaven”
So sadly sounding then
Fell from a fathers lips
And I will follow him

His sad impressive dying words
Have never from my memory flown
They still are pressing on a heart
By pain and sorrow worn
In dreams dear father , oft I see
So fondly gazing on
Seeming to linger, waiting still
For me to follow on

But now per chance, not very long
He’ll wait my coming in
My sufferings here oft tell me now
I’m hastening on to him
And thus my life from early years
One constant round has been
Of sore afflictions pain and care
And brief the pleasures seen

My suffering care worn weary life
So bows my soul in pain
That with a cheerful heart
I never may smile again
May he, in whom I put my trust
Now safely guide me through
And up to heaven, with kindred spirits
Dear Jesus take me too.

My Heritage

Needless to say I take pride in knowing my ancestors played such an important part in early printing and publishing. Might I say too that I also carry on that same tradition, however on a much, much smaller scale.

© 2018 galleryofgrace


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    • galleryofgrace profile imageAUTHOR


      21 months ago from Virginia

      Thank you! I'm glad you enjoyed the article.

    • LiveFitForLife profile image

      Instructor Riederer 

      21 months ago from Destin, FL

      Very cool article! It's hard to imagine some of the struggles of those societies had to endure before the printing press. It's something we all ought to appreciate today. Thank you!


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