The oldest newspaper in Canada
began publication in 1752 as the Halifax Gazette.
The first issue is dated March 23rd, 1752.
Today it continues regular publication as the Royal Gazette.
- # 1999, the Royal Gazette
- # 1883, the Yarmouth Herald The First Nova Scotia Newspapers
- # 1914, the Halifax Morning Chronicle The Oldest Newspaper in North America
- # 1874, History of Printing in America second edition
From The Yarmouth Herald, August 30, 1883
THE FIRST NOVA SCOTIA NEWSPAPERS
The Halifax Gazette – The Nova Scotia Gazette – The Nova Scotia Journal
(Editorial Correspondence of Yarmouth Herald)
Boston, August 1883
On my passage from Yarmouth to Boston in the “New Brunswick”, I had the pleasure of an introduction to Henry J. Morgan, Esq., of the Department of State, Ottawa. Our conversation naturally drifted into the subject of Nova Scotia newspapers. Referring to the early journals of the Province, Mr. Morgan stated that a Halifax gentleman had informed him that he saw in the Legislative Library in the State House, Boston, a copy of a Halifax paper published in 1753, under the title (as Mr. M. understood) of the Mercury. As this date was only four years after the settlement of Halifax, I thought there must be some mistake, and concluded to investigate the matter, if possible.
Soon after my arrival at Boston, I mentioned this intention to my esteemed friend, Charles E. Hurd, Esq. of the Boston Transcript, and that gentleman kindly furnished me with a letter of introduction to C. R. Tillinghurst, Esq., Librarian of the Legislative Library. I at once proceeded to the State House, where I was most courteously treated by Mr. Tillinghurst, who, after a diligent but vain search after ancient Nova Scotia newspapers, accompanied me to the office of the Secretary of State (in the same building) who was equally obliging, and equally unsuccessful in his search.
Mr. Tillinghurst then gave me a note of introduction to the Hon. Samuel Green, of the Massachusetts Historical Society, Tremont Street. Mr. Green was absent, but a gentleman to whom I made known the object of my visit in a few seconds brought from an alcove a bound volume of old Nova Scotia papers, dating as far back as 1752.
The first paper in the collection was No. 1 of the Halifax Gazette, dated March 23, 1752, “printed by John Bushell, at the Printing Office in Grafton Street.” The paper is about 10 by 15 inches in size, printed in one leaf of two pages, two broad columns to a page. The local news is very meagre. There are a few shipping items, notices of marriages and deaths, and three advertisements, the remaining space being occupied with extracts, chiefly from English papers.
The first thing in this paper is the following:—
As many of the subscribers to the Proposals for publishing of this Paper may be desirous of knowing the Cause why it hath been so long delayed, the Printer begs leave to inform them that the Gentleman who is possess’d of the original Subscriptions, whenever desired, will give them a Satisfactory Account. And as the Letter Press is now commodiously fixed for the Printing Business, all such Gentlemen, Merchants, and others as may have Occasion for any Thing in that Way, may depend upon being served in a reasonable and expeditious manner, by their Most Obedient Humble Servant John Bushell. Next come extracts from English papers received via Boston, the date ranging from Sept. 1, 1751, to Jany. 2, 1752. The closing paragraph of the speech delivered by King George II, in proroguing Parliament on the 25th June, 1751, was among the summary of intelligence. The three advertisements in the paper are as follows:—
ALL sorts of Bills, Bills of Sale, Bills of Lading, Deeds, Charters – Parties, Contracts, Covenants, Deeds of Sale, Deeds of Mortgage, Indentures, Leases, Releases, Wills, Warrants of Attorney, Writs and Processes, returnable to any of His Majesty’s Courts, are drawn at the Corner of Sackville Street by the Beech, where constant attendance is given from Nine to Twelve o’Clock in the Forenoon, and from Three to Seven in the afternoon daily, Sundays excepted.
AT the sign of the Hand and Pen, Near the South End of Granville Street are carefully taught by Leigh and Wagg Spelling, Reading, Writing in all its different Hands, Arithmetic in all its Parts, Merchants Accounts, or, the true Italian Method of Bookkeeping in a new and concise Manner, Likewise all Parts of the Mathematics. And, for the Conveniency of grown Persons improving their Learning, any of the above Arts and Sciences will be taught Two Hours every Evening, to begin at 6 o’Clock. N.B. The above Leigh draws, ingrosses and transcribes Writings of all kinds, and adjusteth Accounts if ever so difficult, and will keep them in a meticulous Manner by the Year. Sold at the above Place, Quills, Pens, Ink, Writing Paper, Writing and Spelling Books, and Slate Pencils.
To Be Sold by Proctor and Scutt At their Store near the North Gate, cheap for ready Cash, Choice Butter by the Firkin, or smaller quantity. The last thing is the imprint:—
HALIFAX: Printed by John Bushell, at the Printing Office in Grafton Street, where advertisements are taken in. 1752 The succeeding few numbers of the paper are missing, but those are preserved for April 18 and 25; May 2, 9, 16, 23 and 30; June 27; July 11, 18 and 25; Aug. 22 and 29; Sept. 16, 23 and 30; Oct. 7, 14 and 21; Nov. 11, 18 and 25; Dec. 2, 9, 16, 23 and 30.
1753 Jany. 6, 18 and 27; Feby. 3, 10, 17 and 24; and copies of all the issues for the remainder of the year 1753.
1754 All the numbers for the year 1754, with the exception of one or two.
The Second Paper Next there is on this file a copy of the Nova Scotia Gazette and Weekly Chronicle, published in 1767, vol. 2nd. “Subscriptions taken by R. Fletcher, at twelve shillings a year, or three pence each. Advertisements of a moderate length inserted at three shillings each.” Only one number of this paper is preserved from March 7, 1768 to 1783.
The Third Paper
The “Halifax Journal” Lastly, there are in the collection copies of the Halifax Journal of Nov. 2, 1771, and Nov. 14, 1773, printed by John Howe.
|This item is signed “A.L.” signifying it was written by|
Alexander Lawson (1815-1895), for 62 years the owner,
publisher, and editor of the Yarmouth Herald.
From the Morning Chronicle
Halifax, Nova Scotia
1 January 1914
The Oldest Newspaper
in North America
was established in 1752 in Halifax
and after 162 years of continuous existence
is still published here under the name of
The Royal Gazette
The Halifax Gazette
No. 1, Monday, March 23rd, 1752
|Note: The original, from which this text was obtained, is only in fair|
condition. Most of the text could be read, but here and there words
were beyond recovery. Illegible text is indicated here by [—].
“Paper, sir? Paper!”
That’s the cry every hour of the day now, and almost every hour of the night, in all the civilized world. We cannot imagine life without the newspaper. It is the record of our private and our public joys and sorrows; it is our Social Register; it is the daily measure of the value of the world’s greatest inventions. It provides topics of conversation, supplies food for thought, and, in many instances, saves us the trouble of thinking at all. For those who agree with Dan Beard, the artist, that “thinking hurts the head,” and are unwilling to follow his advice to “try it and see,” the newspaper frequently eliminates all danger of the headache. Then how could [—] live without it?
Fortunately for all classes, Halifax has not had to do without a newspaper of [—] for one hundred and sixty-two years. That’s a pretty good [–] for a city that is only one hundred and sixty-five years old next year. Nova Scotia can boast not only of having the oldest town with a continuous [—] but also of the oldest newspaper with a continuous existence, in America.
|A dozen lines of type here are mostly unreadable.|
[—] an earlier newspaper [—] News Letter was founded [—] years before the [—] Lord Cornwallis [—] at Halifax. But [—] been preparing to be [—] of the Universe for [—] years. Halifax by [—] intended to be merely [—] in that [—] but dreams have a way of [—] as they are [—]
The Father of Printing
Although the News Letter was the first paper published in America, it was not the first printing office in the New World. Nine years after the founding of Boston, Stephen Day operated a printing office, but it was not until ten years later, [—] that Samuel Green, an Englishman, really established the printing business and became known as the father of printing in America. In those days a trade or occupation ran in a family, so it was natural that his son Bartholomew should follow his father’s calling [—] that he should [—] founding the News Letter. His son, Bartholomew, junior, being unable to [—] any further [—] of the actual business, managed to extend its sphere of usefulness by coming to Halifax in 1751 and opening a printing office here. Green had then passed the half century mark, and had been in business for several years in Boston in partnership with John Bushell and a man named Allen. It was upon the dissolution of this partnership that Green sailed for Halifax though subsequent events would seem to [—] business relations still existing between Green and Bushell.
First Printing Office
The first printing office in Halifax was situated on Grafton Street, a little north of Duke Street. It was built by Green, who installed in it the printing plant [—] brought from Boston in the “Endeavor,” a ship which had Robert Motton for master. This was by no means the first time that the name “Robert Motton” was associated with the history of Halifax.
Soon after establishing his new enterprise, Green died. In January 1752 his erstwhile partner, John Bushell, arrived in Halifax, took over Green’s business, and two months later issued the first number of the first newspaper printed here, the Halifax Gazette, dated March 23rd, 1752. This was the first newspaper ever printed in what is now the Dominion of Canada, the second newspaper, the Quebec Gazette, not making its appearance until June 21, 1764. Just as Port Royal, founded in 1604 preceded the founding of Quebec by four years, the founding of the Halifax Gazette preceded the Quebec Gazette by twelve years.
Although Bushell was what in modern parlance would be called a “hustler” as well as a good workman, he lacked thrift and acquisitiveness. As Isaiah Thomas in his “History of Printing” euphoniously says, “he had not the art of acquiring property, nor did he make the most economical use of the little that fell into his hands.”
The [—] Appearance
If the [—] us today the sheet that Bushell put out in 1752 we’d grasp him firmly by the coat collar and take him to the office of some [—] to see if his [—] was in working order. But it not [—] in those days, it also served its purpose, and possessed the real gift of life. On a half-sheet of foolscap paper appeared this heading
The Halifax Gazette
No. 1, Monday, March 23rd, 1752
|Three lines of type here are mostly unreadable.|
[——-] the left hand one a full-rigged ship under sail, while the [—] contained the following interesting information “Halifax, printed by John Bushell at the printing office in Grafton St. where advertisements are taken in.”
It made no “bow extraordinary” to the [—] nor did the editor waste much space in editorials. The sole reference made to the launching of this really important enterprise was as follows:
“As many of the subscribers to the proposal for publishing of this paper may be desirous of knowing the cause why it has been so long delayed, the printer begs leave to inform them that the gentleman who is possessed of the original subscription, whenever desired, will give them a satisfactory explanation; and as the letter press is now conveniently fixed for the printing business, all such gentlemen and others as may have occasion for anything in our way may depend upon being served in a most reasonable and judicious manner by their old humble servant,”
Strong on Advertising
Local news was evidently at a discount, and then as now the newspaper lived by its advertisements. The Gazette seems to have done quite a flourishing business in that line. Today these ads furnish amusing reading, but at the time they were as seriously considered as the advertisers meant they should be. In the limited scope of an article like this only one or two samples may given:
“Reading school for children kept, and gold and silver lace cleaned, and all sorts of silk, also mournings, stiffened, by Elizabeth [—] near Rev. Mr. Tully’s new house on Barrington street.”
Joshua Churchill, a peruke maker, advertised his house and lot, on Carpenter’s Row, for sale.
Leigh and Wragg taught “spelling, reading, writing in all different hands, arithmetic in all its parts, merchants accounts at the sign of the Hand and Pen at the south end of Granville Street.” In addition to this the firm sold “quill pens, inks, writing papers, writing and spelling books, and slate pencils.”
But the finest opportunity for acquiring accomplishments was offered “At the Academy in Grafton St.” where “young gentlemen are speedily instructed and well grounded in the true art of spelling by rules short and easy, but expressive and comprehensive to almost the youngest capacity. They are likewise taught reading, writing, arithmetic, French, Latin, and dancing. Young [——-] taught dancing by the Henry Meriton.
Any Academy that could mature the young ladies and “gents” of today or as much as Henry Meriton offered, would be an instantaneous success. Even our modern schools have devised no method of teaching spelling by “short and easy” rules, “expressive and comprehensive to almost the youngest capacity.” Either we have lost the art, or our capacities are too young to comprehend.
The Staples Advertised
New England and West India rum, loaf and brown sugar, butter, flour, cheese, Indian meal, pork, beef, moulded and dipped candies, tobacco, milk and bread are the staple goods advertised.
In one issue appears the following: “Just imported to be sold by Nathans and Hart, at their dwelling house in Hollis St., opposite His Excellency’s, for ready money or short credit, by wholesale or retail, groceries, dry goods, and stationery, hardware, ec., ec., ec., 10d, 12d, and 20d London nails, “etc.”
Samuel Shipton, “near the North Gate,” advertised that he had “just imported” painted and glazed sashes 6 by 10, 7 by 10 and 8 by 10 glass, and house frames of 2 storeys 10 by 18.
Evidently there were no “infant industries” in Nova Scotia at that time waiting for “protection” against the Mother Country’s activities, yet the settlement grew and prospered.
Got Government Advertising
The Gazette was patronized not only by the citizens of Halifax, but the Government also used its columns for the publication of proclamations and other official notifications. In his very interesting paper on “Early Journalism in Nova Scotia” published by the N.S. Historical Society in 1887-8, Mr. J. J. Stewart facetiously remarked that “having no envious opposition press to contend with” Mr. Bushell was able to enjoy this advertising patronage “without any aspersions on his probity or patriotism.”
One of the things that every Haligonian is glad to forget, is that human beings were ever bought and sold in the Halifax market. One of the advertisements in an early issue of the Gazette ran as follows:
“To be sold by John Mauger at Major Lockman’s store in Halifax several negro slaves, as follows. A woman, aged 35, two boys aged 12 and 13 respectively, two of 18, and a man of 30.”
If anything further were needed to prove that the traffic in human flesh and blood was carried on here, it is found in an advertisement in a Boston paper in 1751, of the sale of “a lot of negro slaves from Halifax” said to be mostly mechanics.
Anthony Henry a Partner
Having conducted the Gazette more or less successfully until 1760, Bushell, whose business methods had not changed for the better, and whose personal habits had not improved, took unto himself a business partner, Anthony Henry, an Alsatian then about twenty-six years of age. He was an accomplished man of his day, for, besides being a good musician, he spoke the three leading languages of Europe, English, French and German, and was a printer by trade. He has been a bandsman in Amherst’s regiment at the siege of Louisburg in 1758. After the fall of that stronghold the regiment came to Halifax and General Amherst allowed his soldiers to earn their livings after their own fashion. In this way Henry’s proficiency as a printer became recognized.
At that time the Secretary of the Province, Richard Bulkeley, was also the Editor of the Gazette, and it is supposed that he, being worried over Bushell’s neglectful ways, secured the transfer of Henry from the army to the Gazette. In two short years Henry had risen from a private soldier to partner in the publication of the only newspaper in Nova Scotia. Bushell died about four months later, and Anthony Henry became sole proprietor. In May 1761, Henry began a new series and numbered his paper anew. At some period the paper had doubled its size and removed its publication office from Grafton Street to Sackville Street. There is nothing authoritative to indicate when either change occurred.
The Troublesome Thomas
In 1749, just about the time Halifax was founded, there was born in Boston a male infant destined to have considerable to do with the fortunes of the Halifax Gazette. This was Isaiah Thomas, famous as the author of the “History of Printing” and also as the founder of the Worcester (Mass.) Spy. Thomas had too keen a sense of dramatic possibilities to be strictly reliable historian, and his career while in the Gazette office as well as later on proved him to be inordinately vainglorious and utterly ungrateful. Details on these points may be found in Mr. Stewart’s article, but have no place in this brief history of the Gazette.
However, some reference to his actions is necessary to explain the misfortunes of Anthony Henry after taking Thomas into his employ. Thomas, who had been early indentured to a noted Boston printer, Zachariah Fowler, ran away from his master and arrived in Halifax in 1765, quite penniless, and applied to his fellow craftsman, Henry, for assistance.
Soon in Hot Water
The obnoxious Stamp Act was just at that time being entered and all loyal subjects submitted to its sanctions without protest. Soon after Thomas arived, a paragraph appears in the Gazette whose purport was that the people of Nova Scotia were disgusted with the Act. As the Gazette was the mouthpiece of the Government Henry was called to account for sedition. His defence was that in his absence his journeyman conducted his paper. Henry escaped with a reprimand and a threat of withdrawal of Government patronage if such a thing occurred again.
Two other offences followed, each more serious that its predecessors, increasing the official displeasure. But the culminating offence was the publication of one issue of the Gazette on unstamped paper. This course had been forced upon Henry through Thomas having cut, or been instrumental in having cut, all the stamps from the whole stock of paper.
Robert Fletcher Succeeds
The authorities took summary action. They brought another printer to Halifax, Robert Fletcher of London, and transferred the Gazette to him. August 14th, 1766 Fletcher began the publication, having changed the name of the paper from the Halifax Gazette to the Nova Scotia Gazette. He also enlarged it “to a full sheet, crown folio, and commenced a new series of numberings.”
For two and a half years the Gazette under Fletcher’s control remained the only newspaper. Then Henry appeared once more in the field with “The Nova Scotia Chronicle and Weekly Advertiser.” The career of his paper is a story by itself, which will some day be written. This article must deal only with the Gazette, which was unable to hold its own against Henry’s new paper, so in August 1770, Fletcher handed the Gazette back to Henry, who resumed publication in September, incorporating his own paper with it. Under the new management the paper was known as “The Nova Scotia Gazette and Weekly Chronicle.”
Encouraged the “Facts”
Although in 1772 the Gazette compared favorably with newspapers published in Boston and elsewhere, it in no way resembled a modern newspaper. Of the standard departments of the present day publications it had none. There were no editorials, no telegraphic despatches, no birth or marriage notices, and fewer than twenty lines of social news in a week. Even death brought no distinction to the average citizen, for no notice was taken of any who had not achieved fame or distinction in life.
“Scissors and Paste” took the place of original matter, save in the department of poetry. Spring, Summer and Autumn poets were encouraged and their effusions found place in the columns of the Gazette.
But after 1772 a gradual improvement took place in respect to local news, until, when the Loyalists came in 1776 and later, the Gazette had acquired more of the characteristics of a newspaper. Among those driven out of Boston at that time were Mrs. Margaret Draper, then owner of the Boston Newsletter, and John Howe with his brother-in-law, William [—]. Mrs. Draper had kept the Newsletter staunch in the British cause for two years after her husband’s death and there was no room in Boston for her after 1776. She brought presses and types with her. She shortly after sold her printing outfit to John Howe, and left for England where she spent the remainder of her years. Howe had been associated with Mrs. Draper as junior partner in the Boston Newsletter and knew his trade well. In 1781 he published the first issue of the Halifax Journal, and after Anthony Henry’s death in 1800, took over the publication of the Gazette also. John Howe died December 29, 1835 — “a few months,” says Mr. Stewart, “after he had seen his youngest son, Nova Scotia’s greatest journalist, carried home in triumph by the Halifax populace, after having gained a signal victory on behalf of the liberty and independence of the press of his province. He was in his 82nd year. Of him it may be said he died full of years and honors.”
The Only Official Organ
After the lapse of all these years the Gazette is still the official mouthpiece of the Government. Still it lacks editorials, telegraphic news, local items, birth and marriage notices. Seasonal poets no longer crowd its columns, but the most humble and obscure citizen who has gathered unto himself even a little property may find the distinction of mention in its columns, at so much per inch, after he has ceased to appreciate it. Moreover the mention is entirely due to the importance of “proputty” as the North Country Farmer says, and not to the fact that he lived and worked, suffered and died.
The Gazette bears its honours without brag or bluster, and though as a people we are proud of possessing “the oldest paper continuously published in America,” the bound volumes of the Gazette evoke neither enthusiasm or reverence. Its columns no longer advertise human beings for sale, either by public or private auction, but the product of human labor, human sacrifice, human fears, and finally even human life itself, finds its place therein described in cold, bombastic, legal phraseology, and no human comment relieves the oppression.
K. M. M.
Note: The writer of this article is deeply indebted to the late Mr. Stewart for reliable data concerning the Halifax Gazette.
In the above 1914 article, reference is made to:
“Isaiah Thomas, famous as the author of the History of Printing“
This is the book The History of Printing in America, with a Biography
of Printers and an Account of Newspapers, by Isaiah Thomas.
The History of Printing in America first appeared in 1810. Thomas
continued to make notes and corrections in his copy of the history
with the intention of publishing a revised second edition, but he died
on 4 April 1831 before the second edition was ready for publication.
In 1874, the American Antiquarian Society published the second edition
based on his notes and relevant historical information accumulated by
others after the death of Thomas.
During his lifetime, Thomas had been successful in the printing business. At the
height of his prosperity he employed 150 people in a printing office in Massachusetts
containing seven presses, a bindery, and eight branch offices scattered around
Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont, New York, and Maryland. He also had
business interests in real estate in Boston, and shares in several Worcester
enterprises. When he retired from active business in 1810 he was a wealthy man.
Source: The History of Printing in America, second edition
History of Printing in America
by Isaiah Thomas
second edition, 1874
In the year 1531, a newspaper was printed at Venice, for which the price charged was a Venetian coin called gazetta; and hence is derived our word gazette, the name of the coin having been transferred to the newspaper.
The first newspaper produced by the English press, was entitled The English Mercurie, printed and published on the 28th day of July, 1588, in London, by Christopher Barker, who was printer to Queen Elizabeth. A copy of this paper is preserved in the British Museum.
The oldest English newspaper I (Isaiah Thomas) have seen, is one now in my possession, which was published weekly on Thursdays, in 1660. The title of it is Mercurius Publicus, ‘Comprising the Sum of Forraign Intelligence: With the affairs now in agitation in England, Scotland, and Ireland, For Information of the People’. This publication was begun in 1660; it was printed on two small quarto sheets, and included advertisements for books and medicines for sale.
The first gazette in England was published in Oxford, the royal court being there on account of the prevalence of the plague in London. It was printed in a folio half sheet, Nov. 7, 1665. When the court moved back to London, the title was changed to The London Gazette.
Newspapers were not published in Scotland until after the accession of William and Mary to the throne of England in 1689. In 1696 there were only nine newspapers being published in England, one being The Athenian Gazette.
In the year 1808, the newspaper establishments in England amounted to one hundred and forty-five. Of this number forty-seven were published in London: nine morning, and seven evening daily papers; nine were printed three times a week, and one twice a week; and there were thirteen weekly, including seven Sunday newspapers. Ninety-eight were printed in all other parts of England. The same year, nineteen newspapers were printed in Scotland, and thirty-five in Ireland, making the whole number published in the United Kingdoms of Great Britain and Ireland, one hundred and ninety-seven.
(Footnote, page 27):
Some of the paper mills are known (1810) to make upwards of 3,000 reams of writing paper per annum … The quantity of rags, old sails, ropes, junk, and other substances of which various kinds of paper and pasteboards are made (in the United States) may be computed to amount to not less than three thousand five hundred tons yearly.
The Halifax Gazette
No. 1, Monday, March 23rd, 1752
|Note (ICS, written 16 March 1999): Some readers may have noticed there’s something wrong about the date of that first issue.|
The date printed is “Monday, March 23rd, 1752”.
But — March 23rd, 1752 was not a Monday.
March 23rd, 1752 was a Thursday. But the first issue of The Halifax Gazette is dated Monday, March 23rd, 1752.
What is going on here?
The explanation lies in the calendar. According to the Gregorian Calendar (the ordinary everyday calendar we now use), in 1752 March 23rd was a Thursday. But, according to the Julian Calendar, in 1752 March 23rd was a Monday. The Julian Calendar was the ordinary everyday calendar in use in Great Britain – and in all colonies and territories, including Halifax, controlled by Great Britain (except Scotland) – at the time the first issue of The Halifax Gazette was published, and this issue was dated in that calendar.
A few months later, in September 1752, the civil calendar (the calendar used by everyone for ordinary everyday purposes) was changed from Julian to Gregorian in Great Britain and in all colonies and territories then controlled by Great Britain (except Scotland). The first few issues of The Halifax Gazette were published, and dated, according to the Julian Calendar, but after 14 September 1752 the Gregorian Calendar was used.
The correct date, in the Gregorian Calendar, of the first issue of The Halifax Gazette is Monday, April 3rd, 1752. For example, the 250th anniversary of the publication of that first issue will be coming soon, in 2002.
The correct date (using our current calendar, of course) for this 250th anniversary celebration will be April 3rd, 2002.
There is a strong precedent for making this adjustment in the date.
In the United States, they have a national holiday called “Presidents’ Day”, celebrated on February 22nd each year. This date was chosen because it is George Washington’s birthday.
It is widely believed that Washington’s birthday was February 22, 1732, but it wasn’t.
The day George Washington was born was the eleventh day of February, according to the calendar in use at that time in Virginia, where Washington was born. This was the Julian Calendar, used at that time by Great Britain and all Britian’s colonies, which in the 1730s included Virginia. In September 1752, Britain — including Virginia — changed to the Gregorian Calendar. The Gregorian Calendar has been in use ever since throughout the region that became the United States.
Washington’s birthday was actually February 11, but in the Gregorian Calendar that day was February 22. When the date of the Presidents’ Day holiday was officially determined, February 22 was chosen because, in the calendar now used that is the correct day.
The same logic applies to the date of the first issue of the Halifax Gazette, which in the calendar now used is April 3rd. (By the way, April 3, 1752 was a Monday.)
Front page detail, Halifax Gazette, 23 March 1752 OS (Old Style)
|On the 13th of May last, an Act passed for regulating the Com-|
mencement of the Year, and for correcting the Kalendar now in
Use; to extend throughout all of his Majesty’s Dominions. [The Par-
ticulars of which will be published in our next.]
Source: Halifax Gazette, 23 March 1752 OS, front page
Reproduced from the National Library of Canada’s website