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January 15, 2007

CW's Jan. 18 Electronic Field Trip explores freedom of press in the colonies

Colonial Williamsburg’s season of Emmy-award-winning Electronic Field Trips continues Jan. 18, 2007, when “Influenced by None” examines one of the principles contemporary Americans take for granted – freedom of the press – and introduces Clementina Rind, a woman printer who lived in Williamsburg in the 18th century.

Rind’s husband was invited by the Virginia burgesses to move from Maryland to Virginia to begin a printing operation that would offer views in contrast to the newspaper of the time, believed to be censored by the royal government. Thomas Jefferson was influential in convincing the Rinds to come to Williamsburg, and when William Rind died, Clementina continued to publish the newspaper. It was the widow Rind who printed Jefferson’s paper “A Summary View of the Rights of British America” in August 1774 when it was anonymously delivered to her print shop.

The future author of the Declaration of Independence later wrote of his Summary View, "If it had any merit, it was that of first taking our true ground, and that which was afterwards assumed and maintained." It was just one revolutionary demonstration of the printer's power to spread incendiary views. But it still may be the most historically important job to come off a Williamsburg press since William Parks set up the first one in 1730.

Produced by Colonial Williamsburg’s division of productions, publications and learning ventures, Electronic Field Trips are broadcast one Thursday each month from October through April at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. Eastern time on participating PBS stations and cable channels. Registered users may also view the program via the Internet. The programs consist of a one-hour live broadcast which includes a story on subjects from the colonial period through the early life of the United States. Students in participating schools may call the program from their classrooms during the broadcast to ask questions of historians on the air. The productions are supported with comprehensive lesson plans, glossaries, timelines, Internet activities and online connectivity to Colonial Williamsburg historians.

“The Slave Trade” premieres Feb. 15, 2007, and examines the 1807 law that abolished transatlantic slave trade and changed the lives of slaves, plantation owners, naval officers, government officials and abolitionists. March 22, 2007, “Made In America” examines how technology has revolutionized the nature of work over three centuries.

The series concludes April 26, 2007, in time for the 400th anniversary of the discovery of Jamestown, with the premiere of “Jamestown Unearthed,” which looks at how history is written and re-evaluated as new methods of study are introduced and archaeological discoveries offer new clues to interpreting history.

As the nation’s leading educational resource for early American history, the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation uses the Internet and interactive television technology to bring the 18th century to life for more than one million students throughout the United States each year. For more information or to register for the Electronic Field Trip series visit or contact the Electronic Field Trip registrar at 1-800-761-8331 or by e-mail at

Established in 1926, the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation is the not-for-profit educational institution that preserves and operates the restored 18th-century Revolutionary capital of Virginia as a town-sized living history museum, telling the inspirational stories of our nation’s founding men and women. Within the restored and reconstructed buildings, historic interpreters, attired as colonial men and women from slaves to shopkeepers to soldiers, relate stories of colonial Virginia society and culture — stories of our journey to become Americans. As Colonial Williamsburg interprets life in the time of the American Revolution for its guests, it also invites them to interact with history. Williamsburg is located 150 miles south of Washington, D.C., off Interstate 64. For more information or reservations, call toll-free 1-800-HISTORY or visit Colonial Williamsburg on the Internet at

Media Contact:
Barbara Brown
(757) 220-7281