When considering the printing press and newspapers, we ponder on how they are becoming extinct; old ‘news’, even. We turn to our phones, tablets and computers for instant information. However, what everyone can agree on, is the value newspaper publishers have brought to our lives before we had information right at our fingertips.
Mary Katherine Goddard was not a pioneer of the printing press, but is famous for printing the first copy of the Declaration of Independence in Baltimore, Maryland. Her role in producing objective news for the public is highly revered as she was the first female postmaster in Colonial America. Mary Goddard was both the postmistress and newspaper printer, which allowed her to be directly involved with the exchange of new information. This allowed her to be ahead of her (male) competitors by publishing news more quickly.
During this time, newspapers were the essential form of communication and Mary was successful for remaining objective and not inserting her own personal opinions. Something of which could put a person in jail if one’s opinion was too controversial in print, like her brother who was known to stir the emotions of their readers through his opinions. Mary’s unbiased approach is what made the public trust her work.
As newspapers were increasing in value, so did Mary (in her position) as she did not miss a single edition between 1775 and 1784. This is noteworthy as it was during the time of the American Revolution and the United States was in great turmoil. Her competitors would sometimes miss an edition, potentially leaving citizens confused on the latest news. Mary was adamant on keeping those presses rolling, sometimes using her own money to pay post riders to keep it afloat.
Women like Mary are inspiring to look up to, especially in times when one feels as though you are the only one keeping the train running. She was working in a ‘man’s world’ and during this time, it was difficult to keep a position such as hers. Great respect is given to Mary Goddard for these factors but as well, leaving her mark as being the first to print the Declaration of Independence with the identities revealed. Courageous? Absolutely.
No matter the era you live in, you can make your ‘mark’ and demonstrate your courage in endless facets. Have you ever considered how some of the steps you have taken in business are in fact, meaningful ones? We are coming to the close of the year and it is a perfect time to look back and reflect. Appreciate and honour those big moves you have made in your business, just like how Mary Katherine Goddard made hers.