1762 1st female (Ann Franklin) US newspaper editor, Newport, Rhode Island, Mercury

Colonial Newspaper Printer And Publisher

Little is known about the early life of Ann Smith, other than she was raised in Boston, and had a solid education. At the age of twenty-seven, she married James Franklin, printer and publisher of The New England Courant. James’ hostility toward church and government authorities resulted in a jail term for printing “scandalous libel.”

After his release from prison, James was ordered to cease printing the Courant, and publication of the newspaper was turned over to James’ apprentice and younger brother, Benjamin Franklin.


Ann Smith Franklin, born in 1696, was America’s first female newspaper editor, almanac writer, and inductee into the Journalism Hall of Fame at the University of Rhode Island. You might recognize her by her last name – she was the wife of James Franklin, older brother of founding father Benjamin Franklin.

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