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The Only Woman Whose Name is on the Declaration of Independence

by Ella Schwartz ; illustrated by Dow Phumiruk

Pub Date: Jan. 25th, 2022
ISBN: 978-0-316-29832-2
Publisher: Christy Ottaviano Books

The story of the printer, postmaster, and patriot whose choices played a significant role in American history.

This informative book captures the life of Mary Katharine Goddard, born under British rule in 1738 in Connecticut. Readers learn about the education her parents provided to not just their son, but also their daughter (which was unusual for that time); her involvement in the printmaking/newspaper industry, initially to help her distractible brother; her dedication to providing colonists with information that supported the American Revolution; her 14-year stint as Baltimore’s postmaster; and her decision to include her name when she was asked to print the Declaration of Independence, a brave choice that could have resulted in her death. Accessible and engaging text, quotations from her publications, and italicized statements that sum up relevant personality characteristics tell what is known of her story and provide historical context, bringing the uniqueness of her accomplishments as a colonial woman to light. Evocative, sepia-toned illustrations, which primarily feature White colonists, show additional details of a life in early America. An author’s note provides supplementary information about the lack of recognition Goddard received as well as additional details about her life, not all positive; an enslaved woman, to whom Goddard granted freedom in her will, helped run Goddard’s business and home. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A solid resource for examining historical perspectives and concepts of inclusion, exclusion, justice, and fairness.

(glossary, sources) (Picture book/biography. 5-10)