Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Hezekiah Niles, (October 10, 1777–April 2, 1839) was an American editor and publisher of the Baltimore-based national weekly news magazine, Niles' Weekly Register, also known as Niles' Register and the Weekly Register.
Niles was born in Chester County, Pennsylvania to a Quaker family, although his father quit the church to fight in the American Revolutionary War. In 1777, The family had fled from Wilmington, Delaware ahead of the British army to the home of James Jefferis on the east side of the Brandywine River near Jefferis' Ford. He later asserted in the Weekly Register that a Hessian mercenary threatened to bayonet his mother while pregnant with him.
The family returned to Wilmingon and after the war the father rejoined the Quakers. At 17, Niles apprenticed with a Philadelphia printer for three years. He then worked in Wilmington for several years, attempting to establish a printing business that went bankrupt in 1801 and in 1805 published a short-lived literary magazine called the Apollo. Later in 1805, he moved to Baltimore where until 1811 he edited a daily broadsheet, the Baltimore Evening Post, associated with the Democratic-Republican Party. In 1811, he issued the prospectus for the Weekly Register and had 1,500 subscribers before the first issue had been published.
Niles edited and published the Weekly Register until 1836, making it into one of the most widely-circulated magazines in the United States and himself into one of the most influential journalists of his day. Devoted primarily to politics, Niles' Weekly Register is considered an important source for the history of the period.
Later in life, Niles was afflicted by a paralytic condition and retired to Wilmington, Delaware, where he died in 1839.
- The Editor who Tried to Stop the Civil War: Hezekiah Niles and the New South
- Biographical Sketch of Hezekiah Niles from The History of Chester County by Futhey and Cope (1881)
- Publication history of Niles' Register
- Niles' Register, 1811-1849: Window on the World
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