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Sarah Goddard (1700-1770) and Mary Katherine Goddard (1738-1815), at the marker for William Goddard (1740-1817)

In the 1760s the Goddard family produced the first newspaper printed in Providence, just in time for the crises that would lead to the American Revolution. Two of the most important women century Rhode Island, Sarah Goddard and Mary Katherine Goddard, were involved in its in 18th production, and both would continue to excel in publishing afterward.

After receiving a loan from his mother, William started to publish the Providence Gazette and Country Journal in October 1762. Sarah actually ran the shop and Mary Katherine, just 24 years old in 1762, quickly learned the skills of a journalist, typesetter, and printer. They also published almanacs, pamphlets, and books. When William left after 1765, the company continued as "Sarah Goddard & Co." Mary Katherine continued to work at the Gazette until the end of 1768, when she and Sarah joined her brother’s thriving Philadelphia Chronicle and Universal Advertiser in Philadelphia. A year later, Sarah Goddard died at the age of 70. Mary Katherine ran the shop until February 1774, when she moved to join her brother, this time in Baltimore.

After arriving in Baltimore in 1773 and beginning publication of The Maryland Journal and Baltimore Advertiser, William established the Constitutional Post, which later became the first United States Postal Service. Mary Katherine took over the newspaper in 1774 and also served as Baltimore's postmaster from 1775 to 1789. She bravely published copies of the Declaration of Independence in January 1777, the famous Goddard Broadside. Read More...

Erik Christiansen, PhD, Rhode Island College