Born in 1738 in Connecticut to Sarah Updike Goddard and Giles Goddard, Mary Katherine Goddard grew up fiercely independent with a good business sense.
The family was living in New London, CT when her father died. When brother William came of age, Mary’s mother Sarah financed his start of a printing business in Providence, RI. The first one for that colony.
Since William traveled often, it was Sarah Updike Goddard who ran the business with Mary Katherine taking a great interest in making the company successful by working as typesetter, printer, and journalist. Around this time, they also started to publish the Providence Gazette and Country Journal. During this Revolutionary War period, newspapers wielded great influence and with William away, the mother/daughter team made their print shop a hub of activity. They diversified the business with a bookbindery, printed almanacs, pamphlets and occasionally books.
In 1765, William left Providence for Philadelphia, where he began another print shop and newspaper, the Philadelphia Chronicle and Universal Advertiser. Sarah and Mary joined him there in 1768 and helped run the business. Sarah died in 1770. With William frequently in jail because of public outbursts and rabble-rousing, that left Mary Katherine to keep the company going.
Never staying in one place for long, William left Philadelphia for Baltimore and started the Maryland Journal and the Baltimore Advertiser but soon decided to set up an intercolonial postal system in competition with the official British one.
With her mother gone and William busy with new ventures, Mary Katherine became the publisher of the Journal and Advertiser.
Next, in Part 2, we will see that Mary Katherine Goddard didn’t stop there.