Mary Katherine Goddard worked with her brother, William, in his printing shops in
Providence and Philadelphia before the pair moved to Baltimore, Maryland. Left to
manage the daily operations of the family's print shop while her brother was away
drumming up support for his Constitutional Post, Mary Katherine Goddard published
The Maryland Journal, numerous almanacs and broadsides.
Through William's influence, Mary Katherine became Baltimore's postmaster in 1775.
She held the post for 14 years. But in 1789, Postmaster General Samuel Osgood removed
her from the position stating that it would require "more traveling . . . than a woman
could undertake." Osgood appointed his political ally, John White, a man inexperienced
in postal operations, to replace her.
Mary Goddard approached her publishing duties with great enthusiasm. Her printing coup
was her publication of the Declaration of Independence on January 18, 1777. It was the
first copy of the Declaration listing all of the signers to appear in print.
Goddard's customers protested her dismissal. She had, by all accounts, been an
accomplished postmaster. On November 12, 1789, over 230 citizens of the city of Baltimore
presented Postmaster General Osgood with a petition demanding her reinstatement. In their
plea, the petitioners noted that Mary Katherine Goddard gave "universal Satisfaction to
the community" and they were "praying in the most earnest manner that she be restored."
The citizens' petition was unsuccessful. Having already lost her printing business to her
brother, Mary Katherine Goddard turned to selling books, stationery and dry goods. She died
in Baltimore on August 12, 1816, still beloved by the community she served so well.