Benjamin Franklin and Partner Buy Pennsylvania Gazette
Franklin and a partner bought the newspaper in 1729.
A year later the partner resigned, leaving Franklin as the sole publisher. Under Franklin’s leadership, the Pennsylvania Gazette became one of the major newspapers for the colonies. A hundred years after Franklin’s death, Cyrus Curtis purchased the Gazette and turned it into the Saturday Evening Post.
Although Ben Franklin excelled as a businessman, scientist, diplomat, and inventor, he considered himself, first and foremost, a printer and publisher. As publisher of the Pennsylvania Gazette, Franklin established a style of journalism that became the foundation for modern American news coverage.
Journalist Walter Isaacson believes that Franklin's success with the Pennsylvania Gazette can be attributed in great part to Franklin's desire to examine more than one side of an issue and to publish different points of view. Isaacson states, "Franklin is one of the first American publishers to understand that freedom of the press and tolerance are part of what it is to be a newspaper editor, and what it is to be a printer. And part of the genius of America is that we're open in our discourse."
The Pennsylvania Gazette was one of the United States' most prominent newspapers from 1723, before the time period of the American Revolution, until 1800. It was first published by Samuel Keimer and was the second newspaper to be published in Pennsylvania under the name The Universal Instructor in all Arts and Sciences: and Pennsylvania Gazette, alluding to Keimer's intention to print out a page of Ephraim Chambers' Cyclopaedia, or Universal Dictionary of Arts and Sciences in each copy. On October 2, 1729, Benjamin Franklin and Hugh Meredith bought the paper and shortened its name, as well as dropping Keimer's grandiose plan to print out the Cyclopaedia. Franklin not only printed the paper but also often contributed pieces to the paper under aliases. His newspaper soon became the most successful in the colonies. This newspaper, among other firsts, would print the first political cartoon in America, Join, or Die, authored by Franklin himself. It ceased publication in 1800, ten years after Franklin's death. It is claimed that the publication later reemerged as the Saturday Evening Post.
There are three known copies of the original issue, which are held by: The Historical Society of Pennsylvania, The Library Company of Philadelphia, and the Wisconsin State Historical Society.
Today, the Pennsylvania Gazette moniker is used by an unrelated bi-monthly alumni magazine of the University of Pennsylvania, which Franklin founded and served as a trustee.