Images of Printing


These images relate to the business and process of printing in Isaiah Thomas's time. They include pictures of Isaiah Thomas's first press, "Old No. 1," which now resides in Antiquarian Hall at the American Antiquarian Society, as well as woodcuts from nineteenth-century books. In the "View Full...

The Lawyer's Pedigree


This broadside was the first item Isaiah Thomas ever set in type and had printed for Zecheriah Fowle. Thomas was only 6 and did not know how to read, write or spell. Fowle provided an 18 inch high bench for his young apprentice to be able to reach the type cases.

Since he could not read,...

This Indenture Witnesseth


This document shows the changing hands of the responsibility of care for Isaiah Thomas from his mother, Fidelity Thomas, to a Mr. Zechariah Fowle, a childless printer who was willing to take in a six year old to do chores around the shop and to peddle ballads in the streets. 1...

Advertisement for rags


The paper used in colonial times was generally made from the fibers of cotton or linen rags.  It was printed while wet so that the fibers would be pliable.  One of the jobs of an apprentice was to hang the wet paper to dry on racks suspended from the ceiling of the print shop.

Paper was...

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