August 6

That the craft of printing in the California of 1849 was every bit as bounteous as prospecting for gold is obvious from the account of the establishment of the Pacific News which appeared in The Pacific Printer, Stationer and Lithographer in 1884:

“Thirty-five years ago on the 6th of August, there arrived in the harbor of San Francisco the good ship Prescott—good ship metaphorically or poetically, for the ship Prescott was anything but a good ship, the best proof of which being she had taken 195 days to make the passage from the port of Mystic, Connecticut to San Francisco. The ship had been at anchor but a few hours before it was well known that included in its freight was a complete printing establishment—in short, all that had been necessary to publish a newspaper in the town of Norwich, Connecticut. The press was a No. 3 Washington. In connection with the material was the lumber for a two-story building, already framed, large and conveniently arranged. Twenty reams of 24 x 36 news paper had been brought, supposing that would last until supplies could be had.

“The owner of the office, who had exhausted his money in paying passage for himself and his two sons, and necessary freight, landed the next day with but a few dimes; but soon after landing he was eagerly sought after. At that time the Alta California, a foolscap sheet, and the only periodical, was being published. Another paper was much desired, and soon the owner of the press was met by parties who immediately offered $10,000 for the old hand press and stock of type. He had sufficient sagacity to see that if the parties could give this for his office, that perhaps he could soon make it and more, so declined to sell. They then offered, if he would publish a paper in the interests that they wished, they would loan him $10,000 and give a lot on which to put the building. As the interests to be advocated exactly coincided with his ideas, he accepted this offer, and the money was placed in the bank, material landed, building erected on Kearney street, between Jackson and Pacific, and the first week in September, 1849, appeared the Pacific News, a tri-weekly 24 x 36.

“A steamer paper was published each month, and on the day of publication a line of people, reaching from Washington street to the counter, would eagerly buy the paper at one dollar a copy. The supply of paper was soon exhausted. Every vessel was boarded as soon as she came in to look for supplies. One edition was printed on manila paper, and another by laying four sheets of foolscap on the form. The first month the $10,000 borrowed was returned. Jobbing was done to the capacity of the office, and Wm. Dunn made for the owner a foolscap hand press, for which he was paid $500.

“Chas. Eames, Ferdinand Ewer, Bayard Taylor, and others composed the staff of editors. Warren Leland, who had become a partner, was a business man, although he sold out his interest the first of January 1850, and off what he had made was enabled to start the Metropolitan Hotel in New York. Printers received in those days $100 and $150 per week, and had bunks in the office.”

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