|Mary Katherine Goddard|
A few months ago I introduced a lady who made waves in the English printing and publishing industry and today it is my pleasure to welcome another, America's Mary Katherine Goddard. Her place in history is assured not only as a woman who strove to succeed in a challenging world but also because she played a very important role in one of America's most significant moments.
Goddard came from a family steeped in print and post, the daughter of a postmaster and, with her brother, William, the owner and operator of the Providence Gazette. She would later become a postmaster herself, though she lost her role on the Gazette after a somewhat vitriolic falling out with William.
|Goddard Broadside, 1776|
On 18th January 1777, the Continental Congress proposed that the Declaration of Independence should be more widely distributed. Hearing this, Goddard immediately offered up the use of her printing press, not caring a jot for invoking the ire of the British. She printed the Goddard Broadside, the first printed copy of the Declaration of Independence that contained the names of all signatories. This was a hugely significant act as it was the first time all signers of this at the time treasonous document were identified; it was a huge scoop for Goddard and a politically momentous moment.
Eventually Goddard's career began to decline and though she was a postmaster of repute and respect in Baltimore, she was ousted from the role in favour of a man. Despite her efforts to retain her position it was not to be and she began a new career as a bookseller, living on to a ripe old age.