In partnership with the Maine Memory Network Maine Memory Network

Maine Memory Network

Proclamations and Broadsides

This Exhibit Contains 26 Items
1
Public thanksgiving proclamation, 1755

Public thanksgiving proclamation, 1755

Item 20113 info
Maine Historical Society

A Country Finds Its Voice

Intimidated by dissent and concerned with controlling popular opinion, the English monarchy strictly managed printing in Great Britain and the American colonies.

Few officially sanctioned pressed were allowed to operate in pre Revolutionary America, but during the Revolutionary era, the printing press was the primary tool of dissent.

Revolutionary sentiment was not confined to grievances. Even in the routine proclamation of Thanksgiving, an annual notice dating to 1676, anti-monarchial sentiment is evident.

Pre-1775 declarations, such as this one by Spencer Phips, lieutenant governor and commander in chief of Massachusetts, issued Dec. 4, 1755, prominently mentions the King.

Later declarations replace the king with the "Almighty."


2
Proclamation, establishment of Brunswick, 1738

Proclamation, establishment of Brunswick, 1738

Item 20115 info
Maine Historical Society

The American Revolution was well chronicled, exulted and debated in broadsides.

John Dunlap printed the Declaration of Independence as a broadside on July 4, 1776, two days before newspapers printed it.

Broadsides are large sheets of paper printed on one side. Since the popularization of printing in the fifteenth century, broadsides have been a preferred method of mass media -- cheap, immediate, and often provocative.

They could be used for anything from official announcements to current events set in verse, event notices, or advertisements.


3
Falmouth Gazette, 1785

Falmouth Gazette, 1785

Item 20114 info
Maine Historical Society

In 1785, Benjamin Titcomb established the first printing press in Maine and began publishing the Falmouth Gazette.

Unlike today, newspapers then wee published sporadically because paper was expensive, typesetting slow, and printing laborious.

Columns were typeset by hand, one letter at a time over the course of days.

When enough news and advertisements were assembled to fill both sides of a sheet, the paper was printed.


4
Arguments against separation from Massachusetts, 1819

Arguments against separation from Massachusetts, 1819

Item 20116 info
Maine Historical Society

As technology and growing demand allowed newspapers to become regular publications, broadsides as a medium for news became scarce, except in the form of the "extra edition," a hybrid newspaper and broadside.

However, broadsides for a variety of other purposes continued.

Here, the legacy of political protest and action in broadsides is continued with an argument against Maine becoming a state independent of Massachusetts.


5
Atkinson House Furnishing Co. advertisement, ca. 1890

Atkinson House Furnishing Co. advertisement, ca. 1890

Item 20119 info
Maine Historical Society

19th Century Broadsides

When Maine became a state in 1820, eight printing operations existed in the state.

By 1850, most Maine cities had several printers. Paper had become less expensive and easier to print on, manufacturers produced numerous type fonts and Maine printers stocked a wide range of styles and sizes.

Steam power ran many presses. Woodcuts and copperplate engraved illustrations were in ready supply.

All these factors converged in the 19th century to create a new and unique style of broadside with countless display types, stock illustrations, and staccato language delineated by decorative borders and lines.

The new technology and ideas combined in this large sign advertising Atkinson House Furnishing Co.


6
Tom Thumb performance flyer, ca. 1850

Tom Thumb performance flyer, ca. 1850

Item 20120 info
Maine Historical Society

By 1870, most broadsides had a recognizable graphic style that would fuel innovations in graphic design during the late 20th century and that is readily mined by designers today.

In addition, live entertainment offered by circuses and theater troupes gained a larger audience.

A growing middle class was inventing, selling and buying products in greater numbers.

At left, a flyer announces a performance by the "original" Tom Thumb and "his beautiful little wife" at the new Portland City Hall on September 28, 29, probably in about 1850.


7
Ladies Tableaux playbill, Saco, ca. 1860

Ladies Tableaux playbill, Saco, ca. 1860

Item 19420 info
Maine Historical Society

Broadsides that were posted on buildings, fences, and other available real estate advertised newest medical treatments, popular shows, fairs, auctions, and rallies.

The varieties of type and the graphic style of the mid 19th century are apparent in a playbill for a performance of the Ladies Tableaux, an Easter Festival Tableaux and Statuary at City Hall in Saco on April 22, probably about 1860.


8
Public notice of City Hall dedication, 1859

Public notice of City Hall dedication, 1859

Item 19512 info
Maine Historical Society

The principal elements of letterpress printing, established by Johannes Gutenberg in 1450, remained in use by most printers through the 19th century and are used in many operations today.

Most of the broadsides shown here were printed on iron presses, also known as Washington presses.

This example of a broadside, printed in the mid 19th century, advertises the dedication of the "new" City Hall in Portland.


9
Dramatic entertainment flyer, York, 1869

Dramatic entertainment flyer, York, 1869

Item 20123 info
Maine Historical Society

Letterpress printing was a laborious job. Two or three people often carried out the two main aspects of printing: typesetting and press operation.

A typesetter, using a font of desired style and size, placed each letter (cast in reverse) in series on a composing stick until a line was complete.

The typesetter placed the line of type in a metal frame or chase, then repeated the process until completing the page.

This broadside is the York Institute "dramatic entertainment" presented February 11, 1869. The performance was of the "Chimney Corner."


10
Portland Dramatic Club flyer, 1866

Portland Dramatic Club flyer, 1866

Item 20124 info
Maine Historical Society

The press operator inked the type by beating the surface of the form with two sheepskin balls covered in ink.

Inking took great strength and skill and added significant time to the printing process.

After the invention of ink rollers and uniform type -- not widely used in Maine before 1827 -- the printing process was greatly accelerated.

A flyer at left advertises the Portland Dramatic Club production of "Our Wife" or the "Rose of Amiens," produced in 1866.


11
Amateur Theatricals flyer, Portland, 1866

Amateur Theatricals flyer, Portland, 1866

Item 20125 info
Maine Historical Society

By 1834, improvements in the technology of type production led to the development of wood type.

Much lighter than lead, wood fonts could be considerably larger and deliver more visual impact when printed.

A growing demand for stronger display types led to an endless range of designs and increasingly ornate styles.


12
Physical culture performance flyer, Portland, ca. 1877

Physical culture performance flyer, Portland, ca. 1877

Item 20126 info
Maine Historical Society

Print design shifted from the text-heavy style of the 18th century to the bold and varied typographic menagerie of 19th century pieces like those in this exhibit.

Since wood type was less durable than lead, however, few of the ornate typefaces survived the hard life of job printing.

On this flyer, graphic variety is achieved by spacing and design.

The piece announces Bertha Von Hillern's physical culture performance at Portland City Hall. She was to go 26 hours without sleep.


13
Reward broadside, Portland, 1818

Reward broadside, Portland, 1818

Item 20128 info
Maine Historical Society

Broadsides

The following 13 broadsides reflect both the typographic and design varieties used in Maine and the subject matter of Maine broadsides.

Note changes in type and design as the chronology of the broadsides progresses

At left, the broadside announces a "10,000 Dollars Reward" for information about a robbery at Cumberland Bank on August 4, 1818.


14
Announcement of Hallowell, Augusta & Bangor mail stage, 1826

Announcement of Hallowell, Augusta & Bangor mail stage, 1826

Item 20141 info
Maine Historical Society

An announcement of the route of the Hallowell, Augusta & Bangor mail stage, dated Jan. 30, 1826, specifies times and dates of service of the carrier.


15
New grist mill broadside, Saccarappa, 1830

New grist mill broadside, Saccarappa, 1830

Item 20132 info
Maine Historical Society

This broadside announces a new grist mill in operation at Saccarappa (Westbrook) in July 1830.


16
Notice of museum auction, Portland, 1839

Notice of museum auction, Portland, 1839

Item 20145 info
Maine Historical Society

A notice of a sheriff's sale at the Portland Museum included wax figures, ancient relics, and paintings.

The broadside features large and small type, and an attention-getting headline.


17
Notice of Daniel Webster death, Portland, 1852

Notice of Daniel Webster death, Portland, 1852

Item 20129 info
Maine Historical Society

The need for broadsides to serve a news function is apparent in this piece about the death of statesman Daniel Webster.

It announces a meeting October 25, 1852 at City Hall to honor his memory.

Webster died October 24, 1852 and the service was the following day, which means the broadside needed to be produced and displayed quickly.


18
Surgeon, chiropodist advertisement, ca. 1862

Surgeon, chiropodist advertisement, ca. 1862

Item 20127 info
Maine Historical Society

An advertisement entitled, "Soldiers, Attention!" offers services of I. Zacharie, M.D., surgeon-chiropodist, for treatment of corns, bunions, and bad nails.


19
Dairy Boy bull offer, Farmingdale, 1862

Dairy Boy bull offer, Farmingdale, 1862

Item 20130 info
Maine Historical Society

A farmer in Farmingdale offered his thoroughbred Jersey bull, Dairy Boy, for stud, for the fee of $1 per cow in May 1862.


20
Notice of services for fire victims, Portland, 1866

Notice of services for fire victims, Portland, 1866

Item 20133 info
Maine Historical Society

A notice of food and lodging services for victims of the Portland fire of 1866 is dated the day after the fire, July 5, 1866.

The broadside features large type and a minimum of words to garner the most attention.


21
Stallion broadside, 1869

Stallion broadside, 1869

Item 20131 info
Maine Historical Society

Young Mac, a stallion, is offered for stud in the Alna, Whitefield, Damariscotta, and Wiscasset areas.

It is dated May 1, 1869.


22
Fourth of July celebration notice, Wiscasset, 1870

Fourth of July celebration notice, Wiscasset, 1870

Item 20140 info
Maine Historical Society

An important community event, a July 4 observance, is graphically similar to some of the commercial announcements of the era.

This public notice concerns the Fourth of July celebration in Wiscasset in 1870, with various types of races and games and an oration by Rev. George E. Sweet.


23
Horse shoeing shop advertisement, Wiscasset, 1874

Horse shoeing shop advertisement, Wiscasset, 1874

Item 20142 info
Maine Historical Society

J. W. Atherton, shoer and farrier, announces a new horse shoeing shop in Wiscasset, October 23, 1874.

The large image of the horse and the large headline under it would attract attention.


24
Advertisement, George Ehrenfried Co., Lewiston, ca. 1880

Advertisement, George Ehrenfried Co., Lewiston, ca. 1880

Item 20144 info
Maine Historical Society

Several graphics and very little type attract the viewer to this advertisement for George Ehrenfried Co. fancy dry goods on Lisbon Street in Lewiston, about 1880.


25
Ad for nursery sales agents, Auburn, ca. 1880

Ad for nursery sales agents, Auburn, ca. 1880

Item 20146 info
Maine Historical Society

Again, few words and a large image are featured on this broadside that advertises for agents for the Homer N. Chase & Co., nurserymen, of Auburn, to sell trees, shrubs, roses and vines.


26
Anti-saloon broadside, ca. 1890

Anti-saloon broadside, ca. 1890

Item 20134 info
Maine Historical Society

A political message seeks an audience for an anti-saloon speaker, Volney B. Bushing of Bangor, giving a talk at Farmingdale on "The Liquor Power in Politics."

Large, bold type fills the broadside.


This Exhibit Contains 26 Items