Rebecca M. Pritchard studied writing at the Salt Institute in Portland, Maine, and American & New England Studies at the University of Southern Maine. In school, she became interested in the stories buried in old newspapers and spent her time in libraries poring over their wrinkled pages. She has worked for the Maine Historical Society, the Abbe Museum, and Acadia National Park. She currently lives with her husband and daughter in upstate New York where she writes for various publications, and blogs for fun.
Jeremiah Hacker: Journalist, Anarchist, Abolitionist is her first book.
Readings & Interviews
Interview with Maine Boomer about the life and legacy of her father, storyteller John McDonald, February 2023
Reading at the Frayed Edge Press Showcase, March 2021
"Q&A with Rebecca Pritchard" Frayed Edge Press, February 2021
"Open Ears Maine" radio interview, April 14, 2020
Reviews for "Jeremiah Hacker"
"In Jeremiah Hacker: Journalist, Anarchist, Abolitionist, Pritchard brings alive Hacker’s responses to the issues of the United States as they played out in Portland, Maine. She places him appropriately within the context of nineteenth‐century reformers and radicals. But also, through his observations and arguments, she reminds us of the timelessness of his appeals."
-Review by Beth Taylor in Friends Journal, Feb. 1, 2020
"Jeremiah Hacker is not more than a footnote in Portland’s history, let alone Maine’s history. But examining his work as a crusading journalist through the middle of the 19th century opens a window on a world wrestling with slavery, brutal prisons, poverty without social safety nets, a rising but ruthless industrial economy, and the decline of the family farm and the moral and social values embedded in that change.
...Jeremiah Hacker: Journalist, Anarchist, Abolitionist, published in 2019 by Frayed Edge Press [is] an engaging and colorful read, much like its subject."
-"Jeremiah Hacker: Portland's 'genuine homegrown radical'" by Tom Groening in The Working Waterfront, Jan. 21, 2020
“Jeremiah Hacker: Journalist, Anarchist, Abolitionist opens a window on a fascinating Maine original, as well as on a whole era of thought, social justice, religion, women’s rights, reform and farming. Maine’s 19th century Jeremiah Hacker and his vehement convictions are at last unbound."
-"A largely forgotten Maine reformer and journalist is brought to life" by William David Barry in the Portland Press Herald, August 25, 2019
"Often on the edge of poverty, he lived on bread and water in a boarding house on Cross Street, where he wrote his paper, The Portland Pleasure Boat, every week on his knee, assailing the institutions of government, capitalism, slavery, prisons and organized religion.
Although Hacker had devoted readers throughout the country, historians have largely ignored him. Fortunately, Maine journalist Rebecca M. Pritchard has breathed new life into Hacker’s iconoclastic writings in her wonderful new book, Jeremiah Hacker: Journalist, Anarchist, Abolitionist."
-“Portrait of a 19th Century Radical” By Andy O’Brien in Mainer, May 6, 2019
"Hacker was the editor and publisher of two newspapers, The Pleasure Boat (published between 1845 and 1862) and The Chariot of Wisdom and Love (1864-1866). He was a pacifist, an abolitionist who boycotted any goods produced by slave labor, an estranged Quaker turned Spiritualist and a proto-anarchist—he never used the term, Pritchard says, but his ideas about a society ordered by individual morals rather than government and laws closely mirror those of Emma Goldman and others a few decades later."
-"The most controversial newspaperman in Maine" by Liz Graves in the Mount Desert Islander, April 5, 2019
Articles on "Jeremiah Hacker"
"The Pleasure Boat, first published in 1845 by reformer and missionary Jeremiah Hacker, is the earliest known vegetarian publication in Maine. The newspaper supported many causes including abolition, women’s rights and temperance – all closely tied to the era’s vegetarian movement....
"In 1845, when Hacker bragged of subsisting on bread and water, he was a bachelor living in his sister-in-law Nancy Hacker’s boardinghouse at 11 Cross Street. We don’t know if Hackers’ vegetarian diet changed in 1846, when he married Submit Tobey, known as Mittie, and moved out of the boardinghouse and in with Mittie and her mother on Atlantic Street, according to Rebecca M. Pritchard’s 2019 biography “Jeremiah Hacker: Journalist, Anarchist, Abolitionist.” Maybe, like the married Dr. Barrows, Hacker now enjoyed potatoes, butter and baked apples with his Graham bread, too?"
-"A 19th-century Portland newspaper an early advocate for a vegetarian diet" by Avery Yale Kamila in Portland Press Herald, Feb. 14, 2021