News From Terre Haute, Indiana


June 14, 2012

BRUCE’S HISTORY LESSONS: Mary Goddard: A woman of many firsts

TERRE HAUTE — Mary Katherine Goddard, born this week (June 16) in 1738, in Connecticut (birthplace town not recorded), was a woman of many firsts. After moving to Providence, R.I., in 1762, Mary, her mother and her brother William established a printing business, but when William left to start up another print shop in Philadelphia, Mary decided to start a newspaper. In 1766, with her mother’s help, she began publishing The Providence Gazette, making her America’s first official female newspaper publisher.

Mary ran the Gazette for two years before selling it and joining her brother in Philadelphia, where she helped him publish The Pennsylvania Chronicle until William again moved, to Baltimore, MD. There he set up another print shop and in 1773 established The Maryland Journal, which became a leading voice in the call for America to seek independence from Great Britain.  

And once again Mary followed him, selling the Chronicle in 1774 and moving to Baltimore to help run the Journal. The next year, 1775, Mary was listed as both the editor and publisher on the Journal’s masthead, and in June of that year the Journal scored something of a “scoop” by being the first paper to publish a detailed account of what is now considered the first pitched battle of the American Revolution, the Battle of Bunker Hill.

And in 1775, Mary added another “first” to her resume by becoming postmaster of the Baltimore Post Office, the first woman to hold a postmaster position in America.  Mary would distinguish herself in that job for 14 years until U.S. Postmaster Samuel Osgood removed her in order to give the position to a political crony.

In protest, some 250 citizens of Baltimore, including more than 200 of the city’s leading businessmen, drew up a petition demanding that she be reinstated — alas, unsuccessfully.

But it was her final two “firsts” that were the most important. When, in January of 1777, America’s Continental Congress decreed that the Declaration of Independence should be printed and widely circulated, Mary offered to do the printing, despite the fact that the British considered the Declaration a treasonous document, meaning that anyone associated it was a traitor and therefore subject to harsh reprisals. Undaunted, Mary became the second American printer to publish the Declaration, but the first to publish it with the typeset names of all of the document’s signatories.

Those signatories included 56 courageous men, most prominently its author, Thomas Jefferson, as well as John Adams, Benjamin Franklin and, in bold script, John Hancock.  

Also included was one courageous woman. As publisher, Mary decided to print her own name at the bottom of the document, making her — in a way — not just the first, but the only woman signatory.

Bruce G. Kauffmann’s email address is

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Latest News Poll
AP Video
Last Mass Lynching in U.S. Remains Unsolved Raw: Truck, Train Crash Leads to Fireball Raw: Fight Breaks Out in Ukraine Parliament Bodies of Malaysia Jet Victims Leave Ukraine Judge Ponders Overturning Colo. Gay Marriage Ban Clinton: "AIDS-Free Generation Within Our Reach" Disabled Veterans Memorial Nearing Completion Obama Signs Workforce Training Law Home-sharing Programs Help Seniors Crash Victims' Remains Reach Ukraine-held City Raw: Massive Explosion in Gaza City Ex-NYC Mayor: US Should Allow Flights to Israel NYPD Chief Calls for 'use of Force' Retraining Raw: Typhoon Brings Heavy Wind, Rain to Taiwan Raw: Israel Hits Gaza Targets, Destroys Mosques Fighting Rages Amid Mideast Truce Push New Orleans Plans to Recycle Cigarette Butts US Official: Most Migrant Children to Be Removed CDC Head Concerned About a Post-antibiotic Era Airlines Halt Travel to Israel Amid Violence
NDN Video
CDC Director Warns Of A World Where Antibiotics No Longer Work Whoa! Watch "Housewives" Star Do the Unthinkable Raw: Fight Breaks Out in Ukraine Parliament Chapter Two: Becoming a first-time director Chris Pratt Interrupts Interview To French Braid Intern's Hair Shirtless Super Mario Balotelli Dances While Ironing - @TheBuzzeronFOX LeBron apologizes to neighbors with cupcakes Justin Bieber In Calvin Klein Underwear Shoot Samsung Pre-Trolls The IPhone 6 With New Ad Jimmy Kimmel Introduces His Baby Girl Swim Daily, Nina Agdal in the Cook Islands Guilty Dog Apologizes to Baby for Stealing Her Toy Prince George Turns 1 and is Already a Trendsetter Train Collides With Semi Truck Carrying Lighter Fluid Kanye West Tells-All on Wedding in "GQ" Interview Tony Dungy Weighs in on Michael Sam Scarlett Johansson Set To Marry In August New Star Wars Episode XII X-Wing Revealed Obama: Putin must push separatists to aid MH17 probe Michigan inmates no longer allowed to wear orange due to 'OITNB'

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
  • -


    March 12, 2010