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Jesper Harding (November 5, 1799 – August 21, 1865) was an influential U.S. publisher in Philadelphia.

Harding was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and learned the printing trade from the publisher Enos Bronson and started his own business in 1818 at the age of 18. Eleven years later, in November 1829, he purchased the Pennsylvania Inquirer newspaper from John Norvell and John R. Walker. About the same time he began printing Bibles and became the largest publisher of Bibles in the U.S.

Initially a supporter of U.S. President Andrew Jackson, Harding attempted to simultaneously support Jackson while also defending the directors of the Bank of the United States, which Jackson fiercely opposed. Harding later switched support (and his newspaper's editorial stance) to the anti-Jackson faction within the Democratic-Republican Party and in 1836 supported the Whig candidate William Henry Harrison for president. After this, Harding's newspaper became an advocate for the cause of the Whig party, until it was weakened by internal divisions in 1852.

Harding also manufactured paper at a manufacturing plant in Trenton, New Jersey. Harding merged the Pennsylvania Inquirer with the Daily Courier in 1839, and for a while the paper was known as The Pennsylvania Inquirer and Daily Courier. In 1845, it was called The Pennsylvania Inquirer and National Gazette.

Jesper Harding retired from publishing in 1859, succeeded by his son William White Harding, who changed the paper's name to the present Philadelphia Inquirer in 1860.

Another son, George Harding, became a patent lawyer and argued several cases before the U.S. Supreme Court.


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