Sugarloaf and smallpox

Here’s an item from our upcoming exhibition* (opening on the 21st) on the early days of the book trade in Providence. Sarah Goddard conducted her Providence press and newspaper “with much ability,” in Isaiah Thomas’s opinion. She had taken over the press from her son, William Goddard, who was the city’s first printer. In this manuscript letter to her sisters Sarah describes her acclimation to Philadelphia (she had just moved there from Providence to join William), the upcoming small pox treatment for her daughter Mary Katherine (who had assisted Sarah at the press in Providence) and a gift of tea and a loaf of sugar as a wedding present.

The letter is dated 14 March 1769. Goddard died in January of the next year.

* Join us at 6:30 on Thursday evening, July 21st for a lecture on early Providence printing by Phoebe Bean, Printed Collections Librarian at the Rhode Island Historical Society. More information here.



Dear Sisters

This Serves to acquaint you that altho I have been much indisposed this winter yet through the goodness of God I am in a better state of Health than I have been for some time. When I first came to this City the Air and Climate did not seem to agree with me. If I stay I hope it will become more Natural. _ _ _ [?] tells me he saw you both wed and had left a Pound of Tea and a Loaf of Sugar in Mr. Durham’s care for you, which I hope you have got. As to the sum Martha owes me I can’t readily find the note [but] it was as I said and not so much as she imagined. So if she will raise the sum of 32 dollars and put them Up safe and deliver them to Peter Mumford who goes weekly to Boston for Him to deliver them to Mrs. Sarah Condy at Boston taking her receipt to whom let them be directed. Katey is now under preparation for the Small Pox and expect her to be inoculated some day this week. My kind love to sister Cooper and [accept?] all the unfeigned love and friendship due from [your affectionate] sister,

S. Goddard

In margin:

[illegible] Katey sends their Duty to her Aunts
Philadelphia March ye 14 1769

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