Today in Michigan History

August 31, 1809

Michigan’s first newspaper was printed.

Using a printing press that Father Gabriel Richard brought to Detroit years earlier, James M. Miller issued The Michigan Essay or Impartial Observer. The sheet, which measured 9 ¼ by 16 inches, was printed primarily in English, despite Detroit’s largely French-speaking population. The paper carried news from Europe that was four to six months old. There was no local news, just a guarantee that the Essay “will be conducted with the utmost impartiality.” Despite promises that the Essay would be printed each Thursday, no other issues were forthcoming.

Thank you Michigan History Magazine for this glimpse into our past.  See more at