Established in 1771, the Albany Gazette was Albany's first newspaper.
The Gazette was founded by Scottish-born printers Alexander and James Robertson who reputedly came to Albany at the request of Sir William Johnson. Their printing office was on Court Street. Beginning on November 25, 1771, they issued a four-page weekly paper for about eleven months. No issues of the paper have survived after November 1772.
The Robertsons continued to produce contract printing in Albany for several more years. Ironically, one of their last clients was the Albany Committee of Correspondence. The Robertsons were royalists and fled to New York City in 1776 where they opened a Tory newspaper.
No newspaper was published in Albany during the American Revolution. The Gazette was resurrected in 1784 by the Webster brothers. The Websters' printing office was at the Elm Tree Corner.
The Albany Gazette ceased publication in 1845.
The most comprehensive source on Albany's first newspaper is Denis P. Brennan, "Open to All Parties: Alexander and James Robertson, Albany Printers, 1771-1777," The Hudson Valley Regional Review (March 1993), 25-39.
We hope to chronicle the surviving copies. About twenty years ago, we encountered photostats of a nice run from 1771-72 at the Manuscripts and Special Collections section of the New York State Library. The New York State Newspaper Project has microfilmed the library's holdings from 1784 to 1817. Joel Munsell excerpted items from those papers and included them in his multi-volumed works.
first posted: 7/31/01; last revised 8/02