Very few publications can trace its roots back to colonial times. One of those publications is The Saturday Evening Post. The Post was founded as The Universal Instructor of Arts and Sciences by a Samuel Keimer. Keimer moved to Philadelphia from New York after failing to secure work. He rented space from Hugh Meredith who printed the paper. The paper was not exactly successful and was ridiculed by Benjamin Franklin in The Mercury using the pseudonym “Busy Body.” After nine months, Keimer sold the paper to Franklin and Meredith on October 2, 1729.
The new partnership changed the title of paper to The Pennsylvania Gazette and Franklin began to edit the paper into a more readable half-sheet (half of a broadsheet) that was published twice per week. After a few weeks the work load forced Franklin change it to a weekly publication.
Franklin and Meredith dissolved their partnership on July 14, 1730. Franklin continued to publish The Pennsylvania Gazette as the paper’s sole publisher until he made David Hall a partner in 1748. Hall had been working for Franklin and writing for The Pennsylvania Gazette for five years prior to becoming a partner.
By 1765, Franklin and Hall dissolved their partnership. By May 1766, Hall partnered with William Sellers to continue publishing The Pennsylvania Gazette. Following Hall’s death in 1772, his sons William Hall and David Hall, Jr., continued in their father’s place.
The partnership of the Hall brothers and Sellers continued in William Sellers died in 1804. Shortly after Seller’s death, William transferred his partnership to David, Jr. who continued publishing The Pennsylvania Gazette. In 1810, David Hall, Jr. partnered with George W. Pierie until the partnership dissolved in 1815. Hall partnered with Samuel C. Atkinson until Hall died on May 27, 1821.
Following Hall’s death, Atkinson partnered with Charles Alexander. Alexander was a business partner of Atkinson in other ventures. Atkinson and Alexander decided that the paper needed a new character to keep readers interested and capture new readers. They revamped the paper and on August 4, 1821, debuted the first edition of The Saturday Evening Post. The new paper included weekly news stories but included poetry and short stories from contributors like Edgar Allan Poe, Harriet Beecher Stowe, James Fenimore Cooper, and many other famous authors.
Through the 19th century, The Saturday Evening Post changed hands several time until it was purchased by Curtis Publishing in 1897. Curtis Publishing brought the paper to a new level especially when it hired a 22-year old artist named Norman Rockwell in 1916. During the 1940s, 1950s, and 1960s Rockwell was joined by N.C. Wyeth, J. C. Leyendecker, John Clymer, and John E. Sheridan to create some of the most memorable cover illustrations in history.
Curtis Publishing stopped publishing The Post in 1969 after losing a defamation case (Curtis Publishing Co. v. Butts, 388 U.S. 130 (1967)) and ordered to pay $3 million in damages.
The Saturday Evening Post was revived in 1971 as a quarterly publication with an additional focus on the coverage of heath issues and disease prevention. In 1978, ownership was transferred to the non-profit Saturday Evening Post Society who continues to publish The Post as a bi-monthly publication.
Through this long history, The Saturday Evening Post continues to publish a variety of stories including those of general interest. One of The Post’s regular columns is “Collectible News & Notes.” As part of the column, The Post features a collector and their passion for what they collect. In the July/August 2010 issue (Vol. 283, No. 4), your blog host is the featured collector.
I was contacted via email by the writer of the article. After we exchanged a few notes, he called me one afternoon. I happened to have been driving to a local grocery store when he called. I spent most of our one-and-a-half hour conversation while sitting in the parking lot in front of the grocery store. It was a pleasant conversation and I am sure I gave him more information than he asked for. He distilled the conversation into a nice article that appears on one page—even though there is a minor mistake (in the caption under the picture, it should say that I am still looking for a 1909-S VDB Lincoln Cent in change).
Two weeks after our discussion, a local freelance photographer visited my home to photograph me and my coins. The photographer was a pleasant woman who also took pictures of my dogs. My wife liked the pictures that appear in the magazine.
It might be difficult to find a copy of The Post on newsstands. The magazine has a higher subscription circulation than from newsstands. You might find a copy in a bookstore that has a large magazine section. Otherwise, it should appear on their website in a few months.
The Saturday Evening Post dates back to Benjamin Franklin. It has featured great authors, artists, and other Americans. Now, I am part of that history. How cool is that!
Cover image courtesy of The Saturday Evening Post.