Thomas, Isaiah, 1749-1831

Alternative names
Birth 1749-01-19
Death 1831-04-04

Biographical notes:

Thomas was a New England printer and bookseller who strongly supported the American Revolution. He was also a founder of the American Antiquarian Society in Worcester, Massachusetts.

From the description of ALS: Worcester [Massachusetts], to Mr. Bress, 1795 Aug. 20. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 86160118

Caleb Alexander was born in 1755 in Northfield, Massachusetts, a town founded by his grandfather. He attended Dartmouth, Yale, and Brown Universities, receiving degrees from the last two. When he graduated from Yale in 1777, he studied theology and received his license to preach in 1778. He held various assignments in New England, but found his calling in preaching to Indian populations in New York.

From the guide to the A grammatical institute of the Latin language intended for the use of Latin schools in the United States, 1794, (American Philosophical Society)

Isaiah Thomas, printer and publisher, became a leading book and periodical publisher after the Revolutionary War.

From the description of Letter : Worcester [Mass.], to Isaac Beers, 1796 Feb. 10. (Newberry Library). WorldCat record id: 40457472

Thomas & Andrews - Publishers to Noah Webster.

From the description of Autograph letter signed : to Noah Webster Esq., 1804 Feb. 22. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 270572022

Massachusetts publisher.

From the description of ALS : Worcester, Mass., to Carey and Co., Philadelphia, 1790 Oct. 31. (Rosenbach Museum & Library). WorldCat record id: 122591636

Isaiah Thomas was a printer, and was elected to the American Philosophical Society in 1816.

From the description of Papers, 1767-1800. (American Philosophical Society Library). WorldCat record id: 122540139

Isaiah Thomas was a man who by his own efforts became one of the leading printers, publishers, and booksellers of the United States. He came from a poor family and after an eleven year apprenticeship to Zechariah Fowle as a typesetter traveled from the West Indies to Nova Scotia as a journeyman. In 1770 Thomas returned to Boston and established a newspaper, the "Massachusetts Spy," that served as news organ of the Whigs. Shortly before the Battle of Lexington, Thomas moved his press and types to safety in Worcester where he continued to advocate the patriots' cause. Thomas remained in Worcester for 56 years, prospering in his printing and publishing business which eventually included newspapers, a paper mill, a bindery, and bookshops. In 1802 he retired a wealthy man to devote the rest of his years to scholarship. He wrote "History of Printing in America," the first history of American printing and a substantive reference work (1810). In 1812 he founded and incorporated the American Antiquarian Society to which he gave his library collection, newspaper files, and more than $20,000.

From the description of Papers, 1748-1874. (American Antiquarian Society). WorldCat record id: 191259808

Thomas Orlebar Marsh (1749-1831) of Felmersham House, Bedfordshire, was a vicar, antiquary and naturalist.

From the guide to the Transcription of Domesday Survey of Bedfordshire by Rev. Thomas Orlebar Marsh, 1830, (Bodleian Library, University of Oxford)

Isaiah Thomas was a printer; he was elected to the American Philosophical Society in 1816.

From the guide to the Isaiah Thomas papers, 1767-1800, 1767-1800, (American Philosophical Society)

Printer and bookseller in Worchester, Massachusetts.

From the description of Last will and testament of Isaiah Thomas, 1815-1817. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 122322783

Printer and newspaper publisher.

From the description of Isaiah Thomas correspondence, 1789-1820. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 70981039

Printer and publisher, founder of the American Antiquarian Society, and author of The history of printing in America. Samuel Langdon was a Congregational clergyman and educator, president of Harvard College (1774-1780), and pastor of the Congregational church at Hampton Falls, New Hampshire. Langdon's book Observations on the Revelations was published by Thomas in 1791.

From the description of Isaiah Thomas letter, [manuscript], 1790 October 20. (Indiana University). WorldCat record id: 318989007

Born in Ireland, Mathew Carey spent most of his professional career in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania where he worked as a printer, publisher, and economist.

From the guide to the Mathew Carey letterbooks, 1788-1794, 1788-1794, (American Philosophical Society)


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  • Printers
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Manuscripts, American
  • Domesday book
  • Newspapers--Articles for publication
  • Education--United States--Curricula
  • Printing industry--Pennsylvania--Philadelphia
  • Publishers and publishing--Pennsylvania--Philadelphia
  • Native America
  • Education
  • Wills--History--Sources
  • Booksellers and bookselling
  • Printers--History--Sources
  • Copyright
  • Latin language--Study and teaching
  • Printing industry
  • Printing--History
  • United States--Politics and government - 1783-1809
  • Latin language--Grammar--1800-1870
  • Publishers and Publishing
  • Book industries and trade
  • Booksellers and bookselling--18th century
  • Printers--History--18th century--Sources
  • Booksellers and bookselling--History--18th century--Sources
  • Booksellers and bookselling--Colportage, subscription trade, etc.--Manuscripts


  • Printer
  • Publisher
  • Booksellers and bookselling--18th century.--Massachusetts--Worcester


  • Massachusetts--Worcester (as recorded)
  • Massachusetts (as recorded)
  • Worcester (Mass.) (as recorded)
  • Massachusetts--Worchester (as recorded)
  • Massachusetts--Worcester (as recorded)
  • Bedfordshire (England) (as recorded)
  • Massachusetts (as recorded)
  • Massachusetts--Worcester (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)
  • Worcester (as recorded)
  • Connecticut (as recorded)