This week is the 225th Anniversary of the first copy of Frothingham’s Herald which was printed in Sag Harbor, right near the Annie Cooper Boyd House. The Herald was the first newspaper printed on Long Island, predating the Sag Harbor Corrector by more than 20 years.
For many years, the Herald was believed to have been printed in the Annie Cooper Boyd House, which was sometimes referred to as the Herald House. Annie Cooper Boyd believed her home was the site of Frothingham’s business, and she certainly shared the story with many visitors to her tea room.
Now, how does any of this connect to the “Ten Dollar Founding Father” enjoying a revival thanks to Lin-Manuel Miranda’s play? As politics in New York became more splintered during the Federalist Era, restrictions were placed on what could be printed in the press, and newspapers were the battleground for many of these political fights. Printers and editors of newspapers were often strongly allied with the Federalists or Anti-Federalists. Sag Harbor was a bustling port, about to become one of two official ports of entry for New York.
The printer of the Long Island Herald, David Frothingham, or his columnists didn’t entirely agree with Alexander Hamilton’s Federalists. David Frothingham was arrested for printing material critical of Alexander Hamilton and the Federalist Party under the Alien and Sedition Acts. Frothingham disappeared after his arrest, adding an air of drama and mystery to his story.
SHHS Trustee Barbara Schwartz chased David Frothingham through the archives, trying to determine exactly where he printed his paper, and concluded it was probably across the street from the Annie Cooper Boyd House. This afternoon, SHHS Volunteer Dan Sabloski will share a collection of scanned copies of Frothingham’s paper, the Long Island Herald.
For those of you who can’t make it in person for this surprise pop-up display, the East Hampton Library’s Long Island Collection has digitzed their copies of the Long Island Herald. And you can check out some of the issues Dan Sabloski will be sharing through the East Hampton Library’s website.
Here’s a link to the East Hampton Library’s scan of the very first issue of Frothingham’s Herald, which was printed 225 years ago on May 10, 1791.