Rare Book Monthly

Articles - October - 2008 Issue

Paraclete Potter: A Wiki-Bibliography


Potter's Washington: 1812

of debts were all part of the job description. Job printing, the reason he publishes books, pamphlets and ephemera, was the necessary co-conspirator to keep the company solvent. Mr. Potter seems to have more liked to publish books but it may simply be that he didn't always include his indicia on his production. In the 19th century this was a common omission. His work today is both rare and too unimportant to be valuable. He was mainly in the business of reprints and most people are interested in the original edition.

The Poughkeepsie Eagle of February 3, 1858 notes his passing:

"Death of Paraclete Potter - In the Milwaukie [sp] papers we find an account of the death or Paraclete Potter, Esq., formerly of this place, who dies on the 3rd inst.[ant], aged 78.

Mr. Potter was a native of this county, we believe, and one of its most prominent citizens for many years. Being by trade a printer, he commenced the business of printing and bookselling as early as 1806, at which time he also took charge of the Poughkeepsie Journal newspaper, which he purchased of Nicholas Power, its founder. He continued in the same business until 1834, being all that time sole editor of the Journal, a period of twenty-right years. An active politican, he was until 1816 a zealous member of the federal party, then a supporter of Dewitt Clinton and subsequentially of General Jackson."

After he left his editorial labors he became very active in promoting the improvements which for a time marked the progress of Poughkeepsie. In 1841 he removed to Milwaukie, where he remained until death closed his career. With a character above the reach of reproach, he was a man of marked talent, and in general knowledge had few superiors in the country."

In 1873 Historical Magazine had this to say -

"A Poughkeepsie journal revives some historical reminiscences which are of general interest. When Holt's New York Journal was driven our of New York city, by the British, it was, for many years, published by Mr. Holt, in Poughkeepsie. His successor was Nicholas Power, and he, in turn, was followed by Paraclete Potter, brother of the late Bishop Alonzo Potter, of Pennsylvania, and of the late Horatio Potter, of New York. In connection with his newspaper business, Mr. Potter, in 1806, opened a bookstore in which book-publishing and selling were carried on for sixty-four years, till the store was burned down, last winter [1872-1873]. In this store, both Alonzo and Horatio Potter wwere once clerks. Mr. Paraclete Potter published school-books and a variety of miscellaneous works, among them Baron Steuben's Military Tactics. He was a Federalist in politics; and, for a time, his journal was the State-paper. The little reading-room, in the rear of the bookstore, was, for many years, the favorite assembling place of many men whose names are noted in our State history, such as James Kent, afterwards Chancellor, James Tallmadge, N. P. Tallmadge. Philo T. Ruggles, James Duane Livingston, Gulian C. Verplank, Peter R. Livingston, James K. Paulding, Edmond H. Pendleton, Chales H. Ruggles, and many more, who made the place a resort for social, literary, and political intercourse. Bishop Alonzo Potter used to declare that he received his first literary impulse from listening to the animated and interesting discussions in that old reading room. - Albany Argus. Pages 241-2."

He seemed destined to slip quietly into history. Google has somewhat reversed his fortunes and perhaps this project will contribute something toward a pale form of immortality.

Now take a look at Mr. Potter's productions. It's an interactive list that encourages anyone with information to offer it. If in time this experiment proves successful perhaps he will be remembered for his part.

- The Paraclete Potter Wiki-Bibliography

My thanks to Lynn Lucas, Local History Librarian at the Adriance Memorial Library in Poughkeepsie. From personal experience I can say she is responsive to requests for information. If you are interested in 19th century Poughkeepsie, Paraclete Potter or the myriad other subjects attendant to Poughkeepsie' history they are a fine resource.

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