This is the first issue of the first regularly-published American newspaper. John Campbell, postmaster of Boston, supplied written news letters to the governors of the New England colonies for at least a year before he made use of the printing press. His weekly was "Published by Authority," "Printed by B[artholomew] Green," and "Sold by Nicholas Boone, at his Shop near the Old Meeting-House." It was printed on both sides of a single sheet of foolscap paper.
Of this "Numb.I" issue, the only known extant copies are the three in the files of the American Antiquarian Society (Worcester, Massachusetts), the Massachusetts Historical Society (Boston), and the New York Historical Society (New York), and a fragment in the Harvard College Library (Cambridge, Massachusetts). With as small an edition as this first News-Letter must have been, it is surprising to find evidence of two type settings, but the Massachusetts Historical Society copy varies from the others in many details although the type font is the same. Possibly, the type was pied before the desired number of copies had been printed, and thus had to be reset. Among many variances, it is enough to note that in the first printing the first paragraph of the "Advertisement" at the end of page 2 in soliciting advertising states that "all persons...may have the same Inserted at a Reasonable Rate; from Twelve Pence to Five Shillings, and not to exceed: Who may agree with Nicholas Boone for the same," whereas the second typesetting directs them to, "agree with John Campbell Post-master of Boston."
The reprints of this paper number over ten. Those examined are easily distinguished from the original as follows:
Several reprints are broadsides with additional matter in margins and on the back such as: "The First Steam Railroad Passenger Train in America," "First Newspaper ever Printed in America," "Authorities or Proof," "Antique Curiosities," "The First American Flag," etc. The commercial value of the reprints is very small.
Source: Information Circular 5 (Revised 1957).