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About this collection

Turner’s Public Spirit, a local newspaper first published in 1868 in the part of Groton, Massachusetts, that was soon to become Ayer, by John H. Turner. It covered the Massachusetts towns of Ayer, Groton, Westford, Townsend, Shirley, Harvard, Pepperell, Lunenburg, Boxborough, and West Acton, as well as Hollis, Brookline, and Mason in New Hampshire. The newspaper was published in 8-page weekly editions until 1952, then continued as The Public Spirit until 1989. This digital collection of Turner’s Public Spirit covers the period 4 January 1908 through 31 December 1921 (vol. 40, no. 16 – vol. 54, no. 18). Two issues are missing from the set (25 May 1915 and 24 June 1916). Pages from other issues may be missing or damaged.

About the publisher
John H. Turner was the founder and long-time publisher of Turner’s Public Spirit. Born in Montreal, Canada, in 1835, Turner first learned the printing trade there. As an adult he immigrated to the United States, working in various positions in the printing business in different states before finally settling in the community that was to become Ayer, Massachusetts. At the time of the Civil War, Turner married Helen Mitchell Brown whose father was a printer in Groton.

In 1865, Turner started his own printing business. Just three years later he started to publish a newspaper called The Groton Public Spirit. The name was later changed to Turner’s Public Spirit and Turner continued as its publisher and editor until the time of his death in 1917. Turner’s son, George H. B. Turner, gradually assumed more responsibilities with the paper, becoming manager in 1911 and later editor after his father’s death.

Thanks to the Westford Museum & Historical Society for coordinating the effort to digitize this collection of newspapers on microfilm. This project has been made possible with the generous support of the Groton Public Library Endowment Trust. Special thanks to Kenton J. Blagbrough, GPL volunteer, for assistance in preparing the digital collection and research on Turner's Public Spirit.

These newspapers are in the public domain.

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