Mary Katherine Goddard
Mary Katherine Goddard got her start in publishing by working at her brother’s print shop alongside her mother. Mary Katherine was responsible for publishing the weekly Providence Gazette until she moved to Philadelphia to manage her brother’s other printing office. In the city of brotherly love, Mary Katherine managed a large printing shop and the publication of the Pennsylvania Chronicle. In 1774, her brother’s printing business took her to yet another city — Baltimore.
Technically, the printing business belonged to her brother, but Mary Katherine ran every aspect of the company, including Baltimore’s first newspaper, The Maryland Journal. A year later, she was officially named publisher of the newspaper.
The family printing business flourished under Mary Katherine’s sensible leadership. As a newspaper editor, she remained impartial and fair. As a printer, she managed monumental projects, such as the first printed copy of the Declaration of Independence, and was the only printer in the city during the Revolutionary War. In 1789, Goddard became the first woman in America to open a bookstore.
In addition to her roles as a publisher, printer and businesswoman, Mary Katherine served in the prestigious position of postmaster of Baltimore for 14 years. She would have served longer had she not been forced to resign over her gender. Since more traveling responsibilities were being added to the job description, government officials believed that the position would be more than a woman could handle. In protest of the discriminatory dismissal, more than 200 Baltimore businessmen signed a petition in Mary Katherine’s defense, to no avail.