Thursday, September 10, 2009

Give me a hen!

Anne and I have stumbled upon many tiny pieces of metal during our cataloging, and some of the most interesting of these are printer's type. So far close to twenty pieces of printer's type have been found in units at Port Tobacco, which is understandable as at the town's peak it was the home of two newspapers: The Port Tobacco Times and The Maryland Independent. While these small pieces can be difficult to recognize, two distinguishing features that aid in their identification are notches on one end of the type which were to hold the type in the printing press, and, if the type is undamaged, a letter on the opposite tip. These letters are quite minuscule, usually no larger than 10 or 12 pt. font. These three pieces of type came from three different units in the Jamieson Field. They are an "e," an "n" (upside down in our picture) and an "h." So far these are the only letters we have been able to identify.

These pieces of printer's type are no longer than an inch in length and the tips are at most 4mm high.
While we cannot determine which newspaper these printer's types were used for, they are in relatively close proximity to the south side of the town square where the Port Tobacco Times press was located. This paper was published weekly from around 1845 until 1898. We will let our readers know when we can actually form a sentence.

Kelley and Anne

1 comment:

Jim said...

A brief note on the archaeology of newspapers and publishing: Historic St. Mary's Commission archaeologists, led by Dr. Henry Miller, has sought the location of Maryland's first press in the Chapel Field, not far from where the Commission is reconstructing the Jesuit chapel. I am not sure of the status of that work.

Some years ago the Archaeology in Annapolis program...a joint effort of the University of Maryland, College Park, and the Historic Annapolis Foundation...explored the site of the Jonas Green press in Annapolis. The press, continued by Green's widow for many years, printed a newspaper and many of Maryland's official documents.

The PTAP team expects to build on the work of our colleagues in this particular research domain.