Hannah Bunce Watson (1749-1807)
Hannah was a young mother of five children when the death of her husband Ebenezer made her the owner of the Connecticut Courant in 1777.At the time, the Courant had the largest circulation of any newspaper in North America. As the British had shut down Boston’s newspapers and only allowed loyalist papers in New York to publish, the Connecticut Courant was one of the fewindependent sources of news in the colonies.
In January 1778, loyalists set fire to the mill that produced paper for the Courant. This could have meant the end of publication for the Courant. Hannah and Sarah Ledyard, co-owners of the mill, petitioned the Connecticut legislature for funds to rebuild the mill. A state lottery was established to finance the rebuilding of the mill and the Connecticut Courant continued to publish without interruption.
Hannah’s newspaper is today known as the Hartford Courant and you can follow them on tumblr.
The truly remarkable Hannah is chapter 1 of Remarkable Women of Hartford, written by Cindy Wolfe Boynton and published by The History Press earlier this year: https://www.historypress.net/catalogue/bookstore/books/productdetails.php?productid=9781626193208
A photograph of novelist Edith Wharton (1862-1937) from the Yale Collection of American Literature’s Edith Wharton Collection at the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library at Yale University in New Haven, CT. The collection is made up of an estimated 50,000 items, including manuscripts, letters, photographs, and miscellaneous personal papers that belonged to Wharton and were part of her estate at her death. According to the library, the collection spans the years from her early life to contemporary Wharton scholarship, with the bulk of material covering the years of Wharton’s greatest literary productivity, 1910 to 1937. A portion of it is available online here: http://beinecke.library.yale.edu/collections/highlights/edith-wharton-collection. You can also literally walk into Edith’s life by taking a trip to her home, The Mount, in Massachusetts: http://www.edithwharton.org/.