Place of Publication: Shipboard Edward Everett (1849)
Frequency: Weekly, every Saturday
Volume and Issue Data: The Edward Everett departed Boston Jan. 13, 1849
Size and Format: Four pages, handwritten
Editor/Publisher: “A board of five editors was responsible for the journal” (Lewis); members of the Boston and California Joint Mining and Trading Company en route to the California gold fields
Title Changes and Continuation: None
General Description & Notes:
According to Lewis, the first organized contingent to leave Boston for the California gold fields was the Boston and California Joint Mining and Trading Company. The group sailed from Boston aboard the Edward Everett, a 700-ton “fast-ship,” on January 13, 1849. The company of 150 men, included eight sea captains, four doctors, a clergyman, a mineralogist, a geologist, merchants, manufacturers, farmers, artisans and medical and divinity students.
The Edward Everett was a relatively new ship (approximately six years old) and well equipped. The bunks below deck were named after Boston localities. To combat boredom at sea, numerous regularly scheduled activities were organized, including a musical band, a weekly newspaper, Sunday and mid-week church services, and lectures.
The ship’s newspaper Barometer was intended to circulate the ship’s news among the passengers and the crew, and to publish “original contributions in prose and verse.” Lewis calls the Barometer, “probably the earliest of the gold-ship ‘newspapers'” (p. 89). According to Lewis, the Barometer was
a four-page hand-written sheet issued every Saturday during the voyage of the Edward Everett. A board of five editors was responsible for the journal, the columns of which were filled with daily happenings on the ship, together with a record of her position and speed, and a leavening of lighter fare in the form of “original prose and poetical matter.”
Lewis notes that this and other shipboard newspapers (see, e.g., EMIGRANT, THE PETREL, and SHARK) “lacked the formality of print but more nearly approached conventional journalism” than the various travel journals and diaries kept during the voyages.
Bibliography: Oscar Lewis, Sea Routes to the Gold Fields: The Migration by Water to California in 1849-1852 (New York: A.A. Knopf, 1949), pp. 89-92; Roy Atwood, “Shipboard News: Nineteenth Century Handwritten Periodicals at Sea,” Paper Presentation to the History Division of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication Annual Convention, Chicago, IL, 1997.
Locations: Bancroft Library, CA?