Name: Samuel Cary

First Date: 1811; Last Date: 1826

Function: Printer, Publisher

Locales: Richmond


Long-time Richmond inhabitant who printed the American Standard (1811) for William Shelton (378); published the daily Richmond Commercial Compiler (1819-26) with Daniel Trueheart (420) and William Pollard (336); then managed the Franklin Paper Mill (1834 48).


Printer & Publisher Richmond Long-time Richmond inhabitant who printed the American Standard (1811) for William Shelton (378); published the daily Richmond Commercial Compiler (1819-26) with Daniel Trueheart (420) and William Pollard (336); then managed the Franklin Paper Mill (1834 48). Cary seems to have been born in Chesterfield County, across the James from Richmond. His first appearance in the bibliographic record comes with the short-lived American Standard when he was eighteen-years-old. That timing indicates that this journal would be his first adult project following an apprenticeship. The twice-weekly journal was issued at the end of 1811, likely only in November and December, with William Shelton as its proprietor. But as neither he nor Cary owned a press in 1811, Cary probably produced the sheet for Shelton as a sideline in the office where he was employed. Later professional associations in Richmond suggest that he worked in the office of Thomas Ritchie (360) at that time. When Samuel Pleasants (331) died in October 1814, his extensive "Argus Office" was split into three separate businesses – a job-printing office, a bookstore, and the Virginia Argus – by his foreman, John M. Burke (065), via partnerships with others in the Pleasants office. Philip DuVal (155) was a key to Burke's plan, so prompting DuVal's departure from the Daily Compiler of Leroy Anderson (011). But their association lasted less than two years; in April 1816, DuVal broke with Burke, forming a partnership with Daniel Trueheart, one of Ritchie's pressmen, in another job-printing office to produce the Christian Monitor magazine for Presbyterian evangelical John Holt Rice (354). The following month, the two bought the Compiler from its new editor Louis Hue Girardin (180), in association with Ritchie. This rapid growth of their office's workload suggests that DuVal and Trueheart employed a number of journeymen from the start, Cary among them; indeed, one of Cary's obituaries claimed that he had been with the Compiler from its start in May 1813; if so, then Cary came with the purchase of the Compiler office; it also means that he had worked for Anderson, DuVal, Girardin, and Girardin's most recent partner William C. Shields (381). All of these associations place Cary squarely in the Ritchie press circle. When Duval withdrew from the Compiler in October 1819, Cary became Trueheart's partner in the ensuing proprietorship. They maintained a substantial operation for the four years of their alliance. The 1820 federal census shows seven adult white journeymen, a young white apprentice, and two enslaved servants living on the office's premises, while each partner maintained residences separate from the business. Some of those workers were apparently book-binders, as earlier that same spring Cary advertised that custom bindings for a new compilation of the state's laws ("The New Revised Code") were available through him as sole agent for the sale of those laws for "the publisher" – meaning Thomas Ritchie, now printer to the commonwealth. In March 1823, Trueheart retired from the business and was replaced by William Pollard (336), who it seems was a journeyman rising to the ranks of ownership, just as Cary had previously. Their affiliation continued for three years, with the Compiler prospering and growing throughout, before Cary sold his interest in May 1826 after seven years there. Throughout all this, there were unnamed partners in the Compiler, as evinced by the ever-present "& Co." on the paper's masthead; Ritchie had retained an interest in the journal, as one contemporary later described the Compiler as being little more than a local advertising tender for his more widely-distributed Enquirer. Thus Cary's association with the Compiler from 1813 would also be one with Ritchie, one that continued long after his 1826 departure from that daily. In 1835, Cary placed a notice in the Enquirer as collector for subscriptions to the Southern Literary Messenger of Thomas Willis White (442), again as sole authorized agent, using Ritchie's office as his own. Such managerial roles indicate that once he left the visible partnership of the Compiler, Cary chose subordinate roles in others' companies. In the 1830s and 1840s he was evidently the superintendent of Richmond's first major paper mill, the Franklin Manufacturing Company of James Allen and Isaac Davenport, incorporated by the state in 1834. In 1848, the mill's ensuing owners opened a retail store and rag-collection center on Main Street in Richmond with the now fifty-five year-old Cary as its manager. He likely had a stake in both. When Cary died in March 1861, his obituaries downplayed his mercantile and publishing careers in favor of his recognized public title: Capt. Samuel Cary of the Richmond Blues. In 1813, he had joined the city's primary militia group, the Richmond Light Infantry; shortly thereafter, an element of that group was split off as the Richmond Light Artillery, with Cary taking a leading role. Both units of the "Richmond Blues" saw extended service during the War of 1812. Cary had reached his captain's rank by August 1823, when he volunteered to raise and command a militia company to guard prisoners from the State Penitentiary at Richmond following a fire that had made the institution unusable; the governor praised his patriotism in his annual message that winter, despite complaints about his unit's rowdiness. In 1824, his unit welcomed the Marquis de Lafayette to Richmond with a cannonade; Cary received from their famous visitor two of the cannon Lafayette had used while in Virginia in 1781; in his honor, the unit was renamed the Richmond Fayette Artillery, and their two prized souvenirs were displayed at all of the unit's public appearances. For much of the antebellum period, those appearances were little more that entertainment, being called to execute cannon salutes when deemed necessary. The unit's real impact on American history came with the Civil War, when it was one of the first units sent to the Potomac to guard the Confederacy's northern border. But by then, Cary was dead, mourned as being one of "the few remaining links binding the present and the past" in the Richmond Dispatch. Personal Data Born: ca. 1793 Virginia. Died: Mar. 23 1861 Richmond, Henrico County, Virginia. Family: Wife Sarah (b. 1800), and at least two children, William (b. 1830) and Virginia (b. 1835). Sources: Imprints; Brigham; Cappon; notices in Richmond's Commercial Compiler and Enquirer, 1819-48; Singerman & Wolfe, Paper Mill Bibliography (2013); Papers of Gov. William H. Cabell & State Adjutant General, Library of Virginia; Cutchins. "Richmond Light Infantry Blues;" obituary in Richmond Dispatch 27 March 1861.

Samuel Cary is associated with 8 other people.

Samuel Cary is associated with 4 newspaper variants.

Samuel Cary is associated with 48 imprint records:

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