187-year-old Donaldsonville newspaper acquired by antiquarians

American Antiquarian Society

Until a copy turned up, there was no known of copies recorded in any library of The Creole – a Donaldsonville newspaper precceeding The Donaldsonvile Chief.

On Nov. 2, Donaldsonville’s longest-existing newspaper learned of the found copy of The Creole/Le Creole, dated Oct. 18, 1828 (vol.1 , no. 47), published by G.B. Cotton.

Recently the American Antiquarian Society acquired many of the non-Ohio newspapers from the Ohio History Museum (formerly the Ohio Historical Society) in Columbus. The Creole was one of a number of newspapers in a box of miscellaneous issues. Since it wasn’t an Ohio newspaper, it wasn’t cataloged.

Acorrding to Vincent Golden, Curator of Newspapers and Periodicals for the American Antiquarian Society, it was the second newspaper ever published in your Donaldsonville. The first was Lafourche Gazette/Gazette de la Fourche (1826, probably ended shortly after 1830).

The Creole/Le Creole was published in English and French. It was a pro-Andrew Jackson newspaper. The first article of the found issue warns supporters that opponents were using the dirty trick of claiming that Andrew Jackson had died to discourage supporters’ activities.

The Evening Post (New York, NY) of Jan. 22, 1828 reported, “A new weekly paper in French and English, entitled The Creole, has just been established at Donaldson, in Louisiana. It is on the Jackson side, in politics.” The Albany Argus (NY) of Jan. 11, 1828 also reported, “The Creole.- We have received two numbers of a neatly printed paper bearing this title, which is published by G.B. Cotton, at Donaldsonville, (La.) It supports the cause of General Jackson, with considerable ability.”

At that time it was a common practice for newspapers to exchange issues with each other. Since there was no wire service, newspapers would exchange with each other with the understanding they could copy articles with proper attribution. When a newspaper started, they would often send out many copies to established newspapers around the country hoping to start exchanges. That is why the Evening Post and the Albany Argus were able to report receiving the first issue(s) of The Creole.

The American Antiquarian Society was founded in 1812 by Isaiah Thomas, a newspaper publisher, printer and patriot. He founded the Massachusetts Spy in 1770 in Boston and moved to Worcester in 1775 when the British troops took over the city. After the war he became one of the largest publishers in New England. He also tried to collect as much early American printed material. After his retirement in 1803 he made a large effort to secure files of early American newspapers. He used his collection to write The History of Printing in America published in 1810. In 1812 he founded the American Antiquarian Society and turned over his library, including over 500 volumes of newspapers.

The Society holds a mission to document early American history, society and culture through what it has printed. Towards that end the Society collects everything printed in North America before 1877, later for some western states.