Rind was born about 1740, but the date and place of her birth and the names of her parents are not known. Little is known of her childhood, education, and early adulthood. It is possible that she was the Clementina van Grierson who arrived with her father in Maryland from London in April 1756. Sometime after 1762 she married the Maryland printer William Rind. As a young boy, he had apprenticed with and was later a partner of Jonas Green, the Annapolis printer of the Maryland Gazette. Clementina Rind likely maintained a friendly association with the printer's wife, Anne Catharine Hoof Green, as their husbands' lives were closely interconnected. The Greens and the Rinds worked alongside each other, may have lived near each other, and attended Saint Anne's Parish church in Annapolis. The Rinds had four sons and one daughter, the eldest born in Maryland, the others after they moved to Williamsburg late in 1765 or early in 1766.
With William Rind
William Rind won a competitive contract as public printer for the colony and supplemented his newspaper income by printing Virginia's laws, resolutions, proclamations and journals of the House of Burgesses. Clementina Rind and their older children learned much about the printing trade that flourished under their roof. Isaac Collins, who later established the New-Jersey Gazette, completed the final year of his printing apprenticeship within their household by 1767. The Rinds enjoyed a comfortable standard of living in Williamsburg and beginning in 1767 occupied a brick building on the Duke of Gloucester Street that served as both residence and printing office. On August 19, 1773, William Rind died at the age of thirty-nine. Because of his outstanding debts, Clementina Rind risked losing all his possessions. According to the estate inventory his household goods were worth about £272, the most valuable being his printing equipment, which included two presses, four fonts of type, and other tools. During this unsettling time, the Rinds' landlord offered for sale three Williamsburg tenements including the "brick house on the Main Street, where Mrs. Rind lives."
Rind had a brief but active widowhood. She assumed responsibility for her husband's estate and for printing the Virginia Gazette within a week of his death. She quickly announced her decision to continue her husband's newspaper: "Being now unhappily forced to enter upon Business on my own Account, I flatter myself those Gentlemen who shall continue to oblige me with their Custom will not be offended at my requesting them, in future, to be punctual in sending Cash with Advertisements … May that All Ruling Power, whose chastening Hand has snatched from my dear Infants and myself our whole Dependence, make me equal to the Task! An unaffected Desire to please, an indefatigable Attention to my Business, and the Assistance of Persons whose Abilities and Attachment I can rely on, will, I hope, make me not entirely unworthy of Encouragement from the Public in general, and from the Honourable House of Burgesses in particular; whose Favour I once more take the Liberty to solicit, and in whose generous Breasts it lies to bestow Happiness and Plenty on my orphan Family, if they find me capable of being their Servant."
In December 1773 an anonymous person writing in the rival Virginia Gazette accused Rind of violating the paper's principles of free expression by refusing to publish a libelous piece an anonymous author submitted. In her reply published on December 30, 1773, Rind explained that the article dealt with an incident that should be aired in a court of law rather than in her newspaper. She agreed, however, to print the article if the author disclosed his name. She also printed news of local interest such as educational reforms at the College of William and Mary and the arrival from Great Britain of the governor's wife, Charlotte Stewart Murray, Countess of Dunmore.
In addition to publishing the Virginia Gazette and printing government work, Rind sold books, almanacs, religious pamphlets, and executed orders for printed forms. Although only five publications have been attributed to her press, one was a pamphlet that played an important role in developing a revolutionary ideology in the colonies. Thomas Jefferson's tract A Summary View of the Rights of British America, which she printed in the summer of 1774, offered timely insights to the delegates of the Virginia Convention who elected the colony's delegates to the Continental Congress in August.
During her thirteen months as a printer in Williamsburg, Rind made a name for herself. The extant works she published reveal a glimmer of her character—the deference and responsibility she practiced in her role as public printer to the colony, her concern for the security and care of other widows and orphans, and her growing consciousness of the political nature of events influencing the Williamsburg community in the years preceding the Revolution. As a gatekeeper and conduit for news, she was at once a consumer and creator of information. Print culture uniquely positioned Rind in Virginia by engaging her intellect in the diffusion of knowledge, establishing her in a large web of social, economic and political connections, and embedding her more deeply in the daily and long-term economic viability of her community and colony in the critical years before the Revolution.
William Alexander Rind, following in his parents' printing profession but not in their patriot leanings, went to the Maritime Provinces of Canada in 1788 and later served as King's printer and published the Royal Gazette and Miscellany of the Island of Saint John. He married the daughter of a Philadelphia loyalist and in 1798 returned to the United States where he began publishing the Virginia Federalist in Richmond on May 25, 1799, and then the Washington Federalist in Georgetown, District of Columbia, the following year.
ca. 1740 - Clementina Rind is born.
April 1756 - Clementina van Grierson arrives with her father in Maryland from London. This may be the future public printer of Virginia, Clementina Rind.
After 1762 - Clementina Rind and William Rind, a Maryland printer, are married.
Winter 1765–1766 - Clementina and William Rind move from Maryland to Williamsburg.
May 9, 1766 - William Rind announces the establishment of his printing office in Williamsburg. A week later he begins publishing the Virginia Gazette.
1767 - William and Clementina Rind and their family occupy a brick building on the Duke of Gloucester Street in Williamsburg.
August 19, 1773 - William Rind, the publisher of the Virginia Gazette, dies in Williamsburg and is buried at Bruton Parish Church.
April 1774 - Clementina Rind, now managing the Virginia Gazette, announces the purchase of new type from London.
May 1774 - The House of Burgesses appoints Clementina Rind the new public printer of Virginia.
Summer 1774 - Clementina Rind publishes Thomas Jefferson's tract A Summary View of the Rights of British America.
September 25, 1774 - Clementina Rind dies in Williamsburg and is buried probably near her husband at Bruton Parish Church.
February 1776 - The printer John Dixon becomes guardian of the children of the late William and Clementina Rind.
May 25, 1799 - William Alexander Rind begins publishing the Virginia Federalist in Richmond.
Cite This Entry
- APA Citation:
King, M. J., & the Dictionary of Virginia Biography. Clementina Rind (d. 1774). (2017, December 18). In Encyclopedia Virginia. Retrieved from http://www.EncyclopediaVirginia.org/Rind_Clementina_d_1774.
- MLA Citation:
King, Martha J. and the Dictionary of Virginia Biography. "Clementina Rind (d. 1774)." Encyclopedia Virginia. Virginia Foundation for the Humanities, 18 Dec. 2017. Web. READ_DATE.
First published: January 13, 2017 | Last modified: December 18, 2017
Contributed by Martha J. King and the Dictionary of Virginia Biography. Martha J. King is a senior editor for the Papers of Thomas Jefferson, Princeton University.