|Masthead of the Western Spectator newspaper. This particular issue is dated April 21, 1803; it is the earliest issue our library has on microfilm. Image from the collections of the Grems-Doolittle Library.|
The Western Spectator, or, Schenectady Weekly Advertiser was an early newspaper published in Schenectady from 1802 to 1807. The Western Spectator is the one of the earliest known newspapers known to be published in Schenectady; the first was the Mohawk Mercury (1795-1798).
Our library has seven issues of Western Spectator, from the years 1803-1805 and 1807, on microfilm. Although only a few issues of the newspaper have survived, the issues provide an interesting look at the local community. A local printer, John L. Stevenson, established a weekly paper titled the Schenectady Gazette in 1799. In December 1802, Stevenson changed the name of the Schenectady Gazette to the Western Spectator, or, Schenectady Weekly Advertiser. Publication of the Western Spectator ceased in 1807.
The Western Spectator was published weekly. Issues of the paper were four pages in length and contained lengthy articles on national, international, and occasionally statewide news. The newspapers also included a number of local news items and notices. Local notices included advertisements for local businesses, legal notices, notices about mail service, notices listing property and slaves for sale, and notices of local elections. Local notices also included notices for the return of runaway slaves and apprentices. Rarely, a death notice of a local person was printed; no marriage notices appear in the newspaper.
An index of local people, businesses, and organizations mentioned in the Western Spectator has been compiled by one of our dedicated volunteers in the library. This index makes it possible to easily and quickly locate articles of interest to local history and genealogy researchers. An index to the issues of the Western Spectator in the library's holdings can be found by clicking this link. Have questions? Visit our library or contact our Librarian.
|Advertisement for sale of lottery tickets at the Schenectady post office, from the January 11, 1805 Western Spectator. Image from the collections of the Grems-Doolittle Library.|