Jan Hillgaertner

BA (University of Marburg), MA (University of Erlangen-Nuremberg)

Contact Details
Thesis Title: Printed newspaper in seventeenth century England, Germany, France and the Netherlands. The Impact of new media functionality on the reader

Supervisor: Prof. Andrew Pettegree

Research interests

I am working in the field of newspaper history. I have conducted research within libraries in order to build up a complete and up-to-date bibliography for all printed newspapers between 1605 and 1620. I used this data for my master’s thesis that dealt with the production and the consumption of newspapers; this brought to light the fact that Dutch newspapers were read in a very different way from German newspapers because of their distinctive typographical design.
My PhD research expands this coverage to the entire 17th century. My intention is to explore how readers integrated newspapers into their everyday lives. I want to focus on the general reading public, since more is known about newspaper consumption among the social elites. My research prompts the following questions:

  • In which circumstances was it worthwhile for the common man in seventeenth century to be informed?
  • Why was it more likely for readers to turn towards newspapers instead of consulting other media?
  • Is the need for newspaper constant throughout the whole period or do political or economic events have an impact on newspaper reading?
  • How did the standardization of newspaper typography shape the reading process of newspaper? Do different modes of reading develop?
  • Is change caused by popular demand or led by printers seeking to find the most appropriate form for their content?


Die erste illustrierte deutsche Zeitung? Thomas von Wierings Türckischer Estats- und Krieges-Bericht. In: Klaus Arnold / Thomas Birkner / Stephanie Geise / Katharina Lobinger / Maria Löblich (eds.): Historische Perspektiven auf den Iconic Turn. Die Entwicklung der öffentlichen visuellen Kommunikation. Cologne: Herbert von Harlem, 2016, pp. 96-114.

Current Trends in the History of News. In: Reformation (20, 1) 2015, pp. 68-76.

Die Katalogisierung der deutschen Presse des 17. Jahrhunderts im Universal Short Title Catalogue (USTC). In: Jahrbuch für Kommunikationsgeschichte 16 (2014), p. 171-185.

Die Entstehung der periodischen Presse. Organisationen und Gestalt der ersten Zeitungen in Deutschland und den Niederlanden (1605–1620) [The advent of the periodical press. Organizing and layouting the earliest printed newspapers in Germany and the Netherlands. Master’s thesis] (Alles Buch. Studien der Erlanger Buchwissenschaft XLVIII). Erlangen 2013.

Magnificient Manuscripts. An Exhibition of the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek Munich. In: SHARP News 1(2013), p. 4–5.

Specialist Markets in the Early Modern Book World. Tagungsbericht. In: Aus dem Antiquariat NF 10 (2012) No. 5, p. 238–239.

Die Typografie der ersten Zeitungen. Bericht einer Masterarbeit. In: Rautenberg, Ursula (Hrsg.): Jahresbericht der Erlanger Buchwissenschaft. Erlangen 2012, p. 45–51.

Die Erlanger Zukunftskonferenz »innovation@publishing«. In: Rautenberg, Ursula (Hrsg.): Jahresbericht der Erlanger Buchwissenschaft. Erlangen 2011, p. 31–34.


Book History Online. Languages of the Book. Annual SHARP Conference 18-21 July 2016, Paris.

And All the News is Bad Again. The Meaning of Conflicts for the German Newspaper. Conflict and Controversy, 8th St Andrews Book Conference, 16-18 June 2016.

Die Zeitung im ersten Jahrhundert ihres Bestehens. Ludwig-Maximilians-University Munich, 31 May 2016 (invited talk).

Die Zeitungen im ersten Jahrhundert ihres Bestehens. Erfolge und Misserfolge einer Medienform. University of Bremen, 7 April 2016 (invited talk).

Always Devoted to the Study of the Book? The Development of Book History in German Language. The Generation and Regeneration of Books. SHARP Annual Conference 7-10 July 2015, Montreal.

Making the news commercially viable. Publishing strategies of early-modern newspaper printers. 7th St Andrews Book Conference, 18-20 June 2015. Eyn lohnend Gescheft? Success and Failure in Newspaper Publishing in Seventeenth Century Germany, Herzog August Bibliothek Wolfenbüttel, 1 June 2015 (invited talk).

Seventeenth Century Newspapers in the USTC. USTC Presentation, St Andrews, 18 February 2015.

Reporting Regicide. Continental Reactions to the Execution of Charles I. 19th Postgraduate Students Conference of the German Historical Institute London, London, 9 January 2015.

Illustrating the Battle of Vienna (1683): Thomas von Wiering as Producer of the first Illustrated Newspaper. Moveable Types. People, Ideas, and Objects, University of Kent, Canterbury, 27 November 2014.

Die erste illustrierte deutsche Zeitung? Thomas von Wierings Türckis. Estats- und Krieges-Bericht. Vom Flugblatt zur Flut der Bilder. Die Entwicklung der visuellen Massenkommunikation, University of Trier, 3rd April 2014.

Meeting the reader’s expectations: the design of early printed newspapers (1605-1680). News and the Shape of Europe, 1500–1750. News Networks International Symposium, Queen Mary, University of London, 26th July 2013.


Assistant Editor (Germany) for Book History Online. (http://www.brill.com/publications/online-resources/book-history-online)


2015 - CAPOD Innovation Workshop Grant

2015 - Travel Grant, Horst-Kliemann Stiftung

2015 - Herzog-August Bibliothek Wolfenbüttel  Doctoral Fellowship

2015 - SHARP Conference Travel Grant

2013 – 2016 - St Andrews School of History Scholarship

2013 – 2016 - Jonathan and Hazel Sparey Postgraduate Scholarship