Cambridge, July 2014


overdramatic printer  (sonya kovacic)

overdramatic printer (sonya kovacic)

In 1717, James Franklin returned home to Boston with a wooden printing press and some type letters from England. Four years later (at the age of 24), he began printing one of the country's first newspapers: the New England Courant.

The Courant published pieces by Franklin and his friends, who imitated the satirical and irreverent tone they learned from London's papers. Their criticisms weren't popular among Boston's elite, however, and Franklin was actually thrown in jail in 1722 for a perceived insult against the government.

James's younger brother, Benjamin Franklin, served as his apprentice on the New England Courant for years. However, the two brothers were often at odds. James refused to publish Benjamin's articles, until they started showing up on the newspaper's doorstep under the name of "Mrs. Silence Dogood". Although the publishers didn't know who was behind the mysterious widow's letters, they became very popular. In fact, the Courant received several marriage proposals in the mail addressed to her.

When James found out about Silence Dogood's true identity, he was furious. The incident added to many years of bickering between the two brothers, and eventually, Benjamin quit the paper and moved to Philadelphia.

The Courant continued to upset Boston's authorities โ€” and was eventually suppressed in 1726. James Franklin moved to Rhode Island soon after, seeking a more open-minded environment.

You can do your own 3D-printing in Central Square in Cambridge, at the Kickstarter-funded danger!awesome.