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Kurjer Litewski


KURJER LITEWSKI (originally Kuryer Litewski, The Lithuanian Courier), the first Lithuanian newspaper, published in Polish from 1760 to 1840 in Vilnius. A government permit was required to publish a newspaper, and the Academy of Vilnius, directed by the Jesuits, received one on Feb. 23, 1760 from King Augustus III. Because only the Jesuits had such a permit, for a time their newspapers were the only ones in Lithuania and were popularly called "privileged."
The first issue of Kurjer Litewski appeared 'on April 18, 1760. It was a weekly paper published on Friday, and a supplement was published separately under different titles, for example, Wiadomošci LiteracTcie (Literary News). The first issue of the supplement came out on Nov. 14, 1760, and it soon became the second major newspaper in Vilnius. The editor of the two newspapers was the Jesuit Francis Paprocki, prefect 'of the Academy of Vilnius printing shop and known for the calendars he published and for his own historical writings. Contributors were mostly Academy professors whose names have not survived, for at that time it was not customary to give authors' names under the articles.
Kurjer Litewski was considered a political publication, although it’s contents was more of a social nature. News from abroad came from papers published in Warsaw and brought to Vilnius, the only source of information at the time. Local news of Vilnius and other larger Lithuanian cities received first priority; reported were visits to Vilnius of state officials and magnates, sessions of the Supreme Tribunal, conventions of the gentry, the appointment of a new magistrate for Vilnius, as well as other noteworthy events in the life of the city. Wiadomošci Literackie did not live up to its title; it was more dedicated to popularizing learning in general than to literature. This was emphasized in the vignette decorating it’s heading, which consisted of a spurting fountain with the Latin aphorism: "Quo plus sunt potae, plus sitiuntur" (The more there is to drink, the more one is thirsty). To quench this intellectual thirst the paper offered reports on the various branches of learning and information about the work of the Academy of Vilnius. The newspaper, as the cultural supplement of Kurjer Litewski, ceased publication in Nov. 1763.
When the Jesuit Order was closed ten years later, Kurjer Litewski fell into the hands of private publishers, and in 1789 it was discontinued. It was revived in 1796 in Gardinas, after the last partition of Lithuania, and moved to Vilnius in the following year. From 1833 it appeared twice weekly in Polish and Russian. The name of the newspaper was changed in 1840 to accommodate the two languages; the Polish part was called Kurjer Wilenski (The Vilnius Courier) and the Russian, Vilenskii Vestnik (The Vilnius Messenger). After the 1863-64 uprising only the Russian newspaper remained.
Bibl.: A. Jocher, Obraz bibliograficzno-historyczny literatury i nauk w Polsce, I-III, Wilno, 1839-57; V. Abromavičius, "Pirmieji Vlniaus laikraščiai," Literatūros ir meno metraščiai, Vilnius, 1961; J. Karosas, "Pirmieji Vilniaus lalkraščiai," Mokslas ir Gyvenimas. No. 5, 1969 (Vilnius). S.Sui.
Text from the ENCYCLOPEDIA LITUANICA I-VI.  Boston, 1970-1978