Mary Katherine Goddard and the Declaration of Independence

Hello my friends! If you’re stateside – or an expat, you know that today is a holiday in the … [god, I want to write “good old US of A but … these days…] anyway. I’m trying to be adult and discuss something obscure, and cool, not “manly firmness.” (Which yes is in the Declaration.)

I wrote this post two years ago … so I won’t repeat. But if you’d like to re-read the text of the Declaration of Independence, it’s all there.

I first learned of Mary Katherine Goddard from a RT on twitter from Loretta Chase & Susan Holloway Scott, sharing this article from the Washington Post. (Which actually annoyed me because some of the attempts at … snark? Modern day relatability? … Felt like it was trying too hard to desperately engage middle school mean girls. … Of course I’m one to judge, me using “relatability.” Whatever.)

But then! I found this from Harvard!

The Goddard Broadside was the first printed version of the Declaration of Independence specifically intended for preservation. It was the first printed broadside to use the title “The Unanimous Declaration of the Thirteen United States of America”. It was the first version of the Declaration to list the names of (most of) the signers. And, it is the only “official” version of the Declaration of Independence to be printed by a woman. Mary Katherine Goddard’s imprint at the bottom of her broadside proudly presents not only her full name, but also the city where Congress met for two crucial months, and where she lived and worked for over forty years.

So today, we celebrate America, the Founding Fathers, and Mary Katherine Goddard, who we should all know about but don’t. Because beyond this printing, she did a lot of amazing things. (Which you should read about from Harvard, WaPo, or heck even Wiki.)

I’ve included an image of the Goddard Broadside, which I got from the Library of Congress.*

*Unfortunately the version you can save makes it hard to see Mary Katherine Goddard’s name at the bottom, but if you click through to the LoC it’s there and you can zoom. 🙂

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