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The Declaration of Independence – Replica of Mary Katharine Goddard’s 1777 Broadside
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[DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE]. Broadside. Limited edition replica by Mindy Belloff, 100 copies. New York: Intima Press, 2010, printed in black and brown, hand set in Caslon & letterpress. With Essays, printed in blue and red. Both printed on handmade cotton & linen paper custom made by Katie MacGregor, Maine. 1 p., 16 x 21 in.

Inventory #25431       SOLD — please inquire about other items

Historical Background

In order to avoid capture by the British who were threatening Philadelphia in the winter of 1776, The Second Continental Congress moved to Baltimore.

The text of the Declaration of Independence, proclaimed six months earlier, had been printed in numerous formats, but Congress had yet to release the names of the signers who had pledged “our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honour” to this immortal document. On January 18, 1777, they “ORDERED, THAT an authenticated Copy of the DECLARATION of INDEPENDENCY, with the Names of the MEMBERS of CONGRESS, subscribing the same, be sent to each of the UNITED STATES, and that they be desired to have the same put upon RECORD.” One official copy was sent to every state, with the handwritten additions, “Attest Chas Thomson Secy” and “A True Copy / John Hancock Presidt” to certify its authenticity.

Despite the risks of being associated with a treasonable rebellion, Mary Katharine Goddard offered her press. Goddard’s was thus the first to include the signers’ names. At the bottom, she boldly added her legend, “BALTIMORE, in MARYLAND: Printed by MARY KATHARINE GODDARD.”

Mary Katherine Goddard (1738-1816) was born in Connecticut to Dr. Giles and Sarah Updike Goddard. Her father was the postmaster of New London. Her mother and brother and she published the first newspaper in Providence, Rhode Island, the Providence Gazette. She moved to Philadelphia in 1768, and, after her mother’s death in 1770, to Baltimore. In 1774, she took control of her brother’s The Maryland Journal. In May 1775, she put “Published by M. K. Goddard” on the masthead, becoming the first woman identified as a newspaper publisher. Continuing through the Revolutionary War, a 1784 quarrel with her brother led her to give it up. From 1775 to 1789, she also served as the postmaster at Baltimore, making her the United States’ government’s first - and for many years only - female employee. In addition, she supervised a book store and printing business. In January 1777, when the Second Continental Congress decided that the Declaration of Independence should be widely distributed, Goddard offered the use of her press. Her printing was the second official broadside ordered by Congress (after the July 4, 1776 Dunlap), and the first printing to include the names of the signatories.

Mindy Belloff (b. 1963) was born in Brooklyn and received a Master of Arts from New York University. She also completed graduate work at the San Francisco Art Institute and the International Center of Photography. She became an artist and master printer and began printing letterpress in 1996.

The Belloff Replica

Research & printing took place January thru September 2009, as originally designed and printed by Mary Katharine Goddard in January 1777. “Setting the Declaration in type was enlightening in many ways, as my thoughts throughout the process were of Mary Katharine in her print shop during the cold month of January, not having 21st century amenities. I could not help but wonder how Mary Katharine must have felt being entrusted to print this stunning proclamation while setting each letter of the text ‘all Men are created equal.’ Therefore, on July 4th, 2010, I went to press on a second unambiguous edition proclaiming ‘all People are created equal’,” explained Mindy Belloff. “Mary Katharine was an incredibly brave woman for her time. By her actions, she was clearly a pioneer for women’s rights and freedom of the press.”

A “Missing” Signer

Thomas McKean (1734-1817) had participated in the debate over the wording of the Declaration and voted to approve it. A few days later, he left Congress to serve as a colonel in command of a battalion of Pennsylvania troops. He was not present when most of the members of Congress signed the Declaration on August 2, 1776. He still had not signed the Declaration when Congress voted to create the Goddard facsimile. It is thought that he did not sign until 1781.

An Out of Order Signer

Matthew Thornton (1713-1803) did not take his seat in Congress as a representative of New Hampshire until November 1776. By the time he signed the Declaration, there was no space beside the other New Hampshire delegates, so he added his signature at the end beneath Oliver Wolcott of Connecticut. However, Goddard printed Thornton’s name with the other delegates from New Hampshire.


Fine. Bright and clean.