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City of New-York, fc. [blank] Esq; Mayor of the City of New-York. To the Sheriff, Constables, and other Her Majestys Officers within the said City, Greeting. Know Ye, That I have Licensed, and by these presents do Liscence [sic] [blank] of the City aforesaid, [blank] to sell Wine, Beer, Brandy, Rum Syder, or any other sorts of strong Liquors by Retail, in h [blank] House [blank] until the Twenty Fifth day of March next ensuing the Date hereof, and have bound h [blank] by Recognizance, with Surety, in the Sum of Twenty Pounds, to the use of her Majesty, the Queen, that h [blank] shall keep and maintain good Rule and Order, and not use or suffer any unlawful Games or Meetings in h [blank] said house, but do according to Law in that behalf provided. In Witness whereof I have hereunto subscribed my Name, and caused the common Seal of the said City to be affixed the [blank] day of [blank] in the [blank] year of the Reign of our Soveraign Lady ANNE, by the Grace of God, Queen of Great Britain, France and Ireland, Defender of the Faith, &c. Annoq; Domini One Thousand seven hundred and [blank]

[New York: William Bradford, 1707-1714, broadside, half-sheet, oblong folio, measuring 11 ½ by 7 ¼ inches, printed on laid, watermarked paper, paper lightly browned, else very good.

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The earliest known retail liquor license at least for New York City, printed by William Bradford who was the royal printer in New York during the reign of Queen Anne, 1702-1714, and the only printer working in New York during that time. Bradford (1663-1752) was the “pioneering printer of the English middle colonies”, and set up the first press in Pennsylvania in 1685, and the first in New York, where he resettled in 1693. (DAB).


      This broadside was meant to be completed in manuscript. The text makes clear that both men and women were eligible to be licensed tavern keepers, the blanks could either he completed, his, or hers.


      This is styled “in the reign of … Anne … Queen of Great Britain…” which would place it between 1707 when Great Britain was created under the Acts of Union between England and Scotland, and 1714, within the second decade of New York printing. The broadside is interesting because the license was not granted solely as means of taxation, but its broader purpose, as stated within the text, was a means of social control, the suppression of gambling, politically disruptive “meetings” etc.


OCLC lists four holdings (NYPL, LCP, AAS, NYHS).