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Original or Reprint? A Guide to Noteworthy Newspaper Issues

Massachusetts Spy or, American Oracle of Liberty (Worcester)

May 3, 1775

The Massachusetts Spy or, American Oracle of Liberty of Wednesday, May 3,1775, is "Vol. V, Numbr. 219." It was published by Isaiah Thomas, an outstanding newspaper editor and publisher of the time, after his removal from Boston to avoid the British troops. The type of the words "Massachusetts Spy" in the title heading is elaborately ornamented with flourishes which often cause it to be misread "Massachusetts Sun." Above the title are the Words, "Americans! - Liberty or Death! - Join or Die!"

The Library of Congress has the first two pages of an original of this issue printed on rag paper showing the usual parallel chain line watermarks an inch apart. The Library also has a facsimile reproduction readily distinguished from the original by the absence of the chain lines, and the lower margin of the first page bears the inscription, "This News-paper is the first Thing ever printed in Worcester - Isaiah Thomas." This inscription shows that the reproduction was made from the original in the American Antiquarian Society at Worcester since that copy bears Thomas's note. Possibly the facsimile was made in 1876.

Copies brought to our attention have always been such reprints and of little monetary value.

Source: Information Circular 8 (Revised 1957).

Library Holdings

The Library of Congress has two pages of an original issue, a facsimile, and reprints (online catalog record).