Early 19th Century Newspapers

Early 19th
Century Newspapers

Ads from an 1807 Baltimore Newspaper,
American Commercial and Daily Advertiser

Even today when we are surrounded by – you might even say saturated by – various forms of commercial media, there is still a place in most people’s lives for a newspaper. Even people who don’t read a daily newspaper probably take a look at a weekly free paper that is delivered to their door or is available in their neighborhood, and this is the sort of contemporary newspaper that bears the most fruitful comparison to the pages you see reproduced here, from the pages of the American Commercial and Daily Advertiser. These newspapers always carried pages full of small ads like the ones you see here. The ads are not so different from the ones that ordinary people place in such papers today: to buy or sell a personal item, advertise a job vacancy, sell or let real estate, publish notice of a lost item, officially declare a bankruptcy, or call attention to a commercial opportunity.

The ads are of tremendous
historical, sociological, and economic interest.

They also provide interesting insights into the way that ordinary Americans used language. Unfamiliar words that have passed out of usage appear everywhere. What appears as the formality in the writing of many ads is probably not that at all – just a reflection of the fact that even the spoken and informal English of the early United States sounds formal to our 21st century ears. Spellings of some words in the ads reflect both British and American styles – the spellings that we think of as American today had only recently been introduced and were not universally accepted. Some differences in usage from British English were also already apparent. See for example, the ad in the rightmost column on page six of the newspaper, near the bottom. Mr. Benjamin Francis announces that he has opened a store (not a shop) at the Corner of Bridge and Union Streets.

Explore two pages of ads from the newspaper:

Ads about shopping, dining, slavery, and real estate

Page One

Ads about finances, bathing, textiles, and fireworks

Page Six

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Fanni is Radnóti's wife
Located near the Tang capital city of Chang’an, site of the modern city of Xi’an in Shaanxi province, in central China.
Soldiers of that time commonly wore a white head cloth, similar to what is still worn by some peasants in China today.  The implication is that the conscripts were so young that they didn’t know how to wrap their head cloths, and needed help from elders.
Before China’s unification under the Qin dynasty in 221 B.C. there were several competing smaller kingdoms.  Han and Qin were two of these kingdoms. Han was located east of famous mountain passes that separated that area from the power base of the Qin dynasty, with its capital in Chang’an. The Qin dynasty itself only lasted about 15 years after unification due to its draconian rule, but soldiers under Qin rule retained a reputation as strong fighters.
The area of Guanxi, meaning “west of the passes”, refers to the area around the capital city of Chang’an.
This is an alternative name for a province in western China, now known as Qinghai, which literally means “blue sea”.  Kokonor Lake, located in Qinghai, is the largest saline lake in China.  
Before China’s unification under the Qin dynasty in 221 B.C. there were several competing smaller kingdoms.  Han and Qin were two of these kingdoms. Han was located east of famous mountain passes that separated that area from the power base of the Qin dynasty, with its capital in Chang’an. The Qin dynasty itself only lasted about 15 years after unification due to its draconian rule, but soldiers under Qin rule retained a reputation as strong fighters.
Oulart Hollow was the site of a famous victory of the Irish rebels over British troops, which took place on May 27, 1798. The rebels killed nearly all the British attackers in this battle. (Source: Maxwell, W. H. History of the Irish Rebellion in 1798. H. H. Bohn, London 1854, pp 92-93, at archive.org)
The phrase "United Men" is elaborated upon in the Notes section below.

Ghetto


An Italian word meaning “foundry.” It originally referred to a part of the city of Venice where the Jews of that city were forced to live; the area was called “the ghetto” because there was a foundry nearby. The term eventually came to refer to any part of a city in which a minority group is forced to live as a result of social, legal, or economic pressure. Because of the restrictions placed upon them, ghetto residents are often impoverished.

"You’re five nine, I am do-uble two"


A reference to the year 1959 and the year 2020.

"The Currency"


Meaning US dollars - this is drawing attention to the fact that Cuba is effectively dollarized.

"Sixty years with the dom-ino stuck"


This sentence is a reference to the Cold War notion that countries would turn Communist one after the other - like dominos. Cuba was the first domino, but it got stuck - no one else followed through into communism.

رحلنا


رحلنا, or "rahalna," means "we have left."

Habibi


Habibi means "my love."

Ra7eel


Ra7eel, or "raheel," means "departure."

3awda


3awda, or "awda," means "returning."

أهلاً


أهلاً, or "ahalan," means "welcome."

a5 ya baba


a5 ya baba, pronounced "akh ya baba," means "Oh my father."

golpe


Treece translates "golpe" as "beating", which is correct, however misses the secondary meaning of the word: "coup".

Carlos


The “Carlos” referred to in the poem is most likely Carlos Bolsonaro, a politician from Rio de Janeiro and the second son of Jair Bolsonaro, Brazil’s current president. His and his father’s involvement in Marielle’s murder has been questioned and investigated.