And here’s today’s market report…

AAS has a large collection of serial publications with titles such as Prices Current or Market Reports.  They contain the latest market prices of commodities and/or stocks and local commercial information.  Sometimes people wonder why we try to get examples of everything we can.   We do this because more materials tell a more complete story.  For example, take a look at the three San Francisco publications from 1865 listed and pictured below:

  • Henry B. Williams’ Circular and Market Review (August 2, 1865)
  • McRuer & Merrill’s Market Report (February 21, 1865)
  • Edw’d Mott Robinson’s Circular and Market Review (May 21, 1865)


All were published within a few months of each other and all look similar.  Looking at them separately, one might think Williams, McRuer & Merrill, and Robinson were publishers.  If you take a look at them side by side, however, you might notice in very small type in the section in the upper left under the masthead, “Towne & Bacon, Printers, No. 536 Clay Street.”  Here you find the true publisher of the circulars.  Merchants would pay to have their name attached to a report.  Towne and Bacon would print the market reports, changing the masthead to the name of the merchants paying.  The merchants would then have something to pass out to their clients as a price report and promotional material.

The ability to make connections like these is why more material is better.

Published by

Vincent Golden

Curator of Newspapers and Periodicals, American Antiquarian Society

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