Thursday, May 1, 2014

Mary Katherine Goddard - Part 2

When we left Mary in the last blog, she had just taken over as publisher of the Journal and Advertiser, putting her name as publisher on the masthead as M. H. Goddard on May 10, 1775.

This was also the year Mary became the first female postmaster in America. These positions put her at the center of the information flow right at the start of the war for independence, at a time when the public was thirsty for news.

These were tough economic times and it took all of Mary’s intelligence and courage to keep publishing the paper and the mail circulating.

The Declaration of Independence was adopted on July 4, 1776, but the copies circulating through the colonies did not contain the names of the signers because they could be arrested for treason. As a courageous newswomen Mary changed that when in January 1777, she published the Declaration including the names of the signers. This forced the signers to stand behind their signatures and support the cause more openly.

Her brother, William, who had been unsuccessful thus far with his endeavors at publishing, the postal system and politics, fought his sister for control of the paper and won, in 1784 removing her name from the masthead. She had not missed publishing an edition of the paper from when she took it over in 1775 until her brother and the courts took it away from her.

The new Constitution adopted was not favorable to women (until we fought for amendments) and Mary’s post office job went to a male appointee. Mary appealed these injustices but to no avail. Thereafter, she ran a bookstore in Baltimore until her death in 1816.