Outstanding full free frank, unfolded to 6.5 x 6.25, addressed in another hand to "Miss Catherine Goddard, Baltimore," and franked in the lower left of the panel by Washington as "President US." Panel also bears a New York, January 7, [circa 1790], postmark and a faint "FREE" stamp to the right of Goddard's name. The lower flap bears a black wax seal with a heraldic device. Attractively double-matted and framed with an engraved portrait (bearing a facsimile signature) to an overall size of 19 x 23. In very good to fine condition.
The recipient of this correspondence was Mary Katherine (misspelled by Washington's secretary with a "C" instead of a "K") Goddard, considered to be a pioneer among women in Baltimore during the Revolutionary War. Named postmistress of the Charm City in 1775, she served until 1789 when the postmaster general decreed that the head of the Baltimore postal system must be a male. Two hundred Baltimore men supported her petition for reinstatement, but officials determined that a woman was unsuitable for the position because the job entailed travel beyond the capacity of a woman—a seemingly sexist statement. Interestingly, Goddard appealed to the US Senate and to Washington himself, but to no avail. A superb association piece.
Terms and abbreviations used in our descriptions.