The following are some interesting ideas from "A History of the Book in America," that relate to our class discussion. These ideas and sentences have been taken directly from the book so I will cite as follows:
Hall, David D. A history of the Book in America. Volume One. The Colonial Book in the Atlantic World.
Cambridge, United Kingdom:Cambridge University Press, 2000.
Pg. 26 - Lawrence C. Wroth, in his standard account of colonial American printing, claims a "spiritual force" for the printing press that is, apparently, denied to "a spinning wheel of the same period"; once more, the man's "spiritual" machine seems to triumph over the woman's merely "material" one.
I found this to be an interesting comment and it shows that this man in particular was asserting a spiritual nature over the ability to print and automatically connected it with men whereas the spinning wheel was only thought to be a tool for material needs - I wonder if he was wearing clothing when he made that statement.
Pg. 28 - The "colonial book" was what the colonists bought and read, as well as what they printed or reprinted, and no special importance was attached to its place of manufacture - in marked contrast to the protectionism that prospered from the Revolution to the Second World War.
This is a comment about how the American mind-set changed as time went on - the colonists did not care at first whether books were printed in New England and most often sought out what was coming from England itself. Once the Revolution took hold, that mind-set changed.
Pg 34 - London's commerce with the Colonies - As seen from London, the colonies were only another, more distant province of England, and the mechanisms by which the London trade supplied books to Norwich, York, or Exeter also operated to supply Boston, New York, and Philadelphia.
This statement illuminates how England viewed the colonies - that they were just another port in which to exchange commerce.
Pg 45 - In London, printing was a separate trade, but in the colonies it was generally combined with a "bookshop," - the colonial trade thus differed from London's in its lack of specialization.
Pg 55 - The history of the book trades in the 17th century Chesapeake is a history of absences and censorship. Books were an insignificant element in the trade that brought scores of ships to the Chesapeake each year to exchange European goods for tobacco.
Pg. 65 - In the absence of retail trade, books arrived in the colonies because someone chose to bring them over, as a schoolmaster was doing shortly after the turn of the century, or because a local institution deemed them necessary. Books were significant for several reasons - there were books that helped root the two dominant religious faiths - protestant and catholic, there were books that were utilitarian in nature, ie. manuals for surgery or pharmacology, and there were books written by those that were eager to share their impressions of the new world with the rest of the world as we have seen in our readings in class.
The excerpts that I read in Hall's writing allowed me to better understand the relationship that evolved and changed between the colonies and England. As we have eluded to in class, it is clear to see that England saw the colonies as a way to make money, just as they saw any other new land venture. The colonies had a need to be attached to the homeland in the face of the wilderness that they found. As the colonies moved toward revolution, the nature of the writing and publishing changed to reflect the mind-set of the what was becoming a new nation as writers found the need to separate themselves in print from England.