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Bentley, William, 1759-1819



  • Existence: 1759 - 1793


William Bentley (June 22, 1759, Boston, Massachusetts – December 29, 1819, Salem, Massachusetts) was an American Unitarian minister, scholar, columnist, and diarist. He was a polymath who possessed the second best library in the United States (after that of Thomas Jefferson), and was an indefatigable reader and collector of information at the local national and international level. Starting in 1794, he produced a weekly news summary of world events for the local newspaper the Salem Gazette. He provided a highly sophisticated capsule of current political and cultural news, set in a broad historical context. His unsigned reports were widely copied and reproduced in the young nation's newspapers. Bentley believed in Republican enlightenment and the widest possible diffusion of knowledge. He was upset by the increasingly shrill tone of the partisan press, and the superficiality of much journalism.

Found in 1 Collection or Record:

William Bentley excerpt from diary

Identifier: Mss 793468
Mss 793468
Date(s): 1793-08-18
Scope and Contents

Six page's of excerpts from William Bentley's diary. Describes his journey to and from Salem, Mass to Hanover, N.H.; the 1793 Commencement exercises, his impressions of Dartmouth College. Includes two letter from James Chester Flagg to the Editor of the Dartmouth Alumni Magazine.

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