Washington DC – Day Trip 3 – Anne Arundel County 2

Visitors tend to think that Washington DC was always America’s capitol, but that’s not true. At one point, New York City was, but even before that, Annapolis Maryland was! So, you can visit one of the nation’s first capitals just a short way and a useful day trip.

Annapolis, site of the US Naval Academy, was founded in 1649, and it was America’s capital from 1783 – 1784. It is still the capital of Maryland.

State Circle • Annapolis, Maryland 21401

This is the home of the Governor of Maryland, and it hosts a permanent collection of “Portraits of First Ladies and Official Hostesses of Maryland.” The collection was developed by Frances Hughes Glendening when she served as First Lady of Maryland in the 1990’s. But, next comes the story of an outstanding Marylander who forged her way into American history all on her own —

124 Charles Street • Annapolis, Maryland 21401
410-263-5892 and 877-892-4845

Anne Catherine Green was the first woman master printer and editor/publisher in Maryland. She was born in 1719 in Holland, and at 19, in 1738, she married Jonas Green (who was a cousin of Benjamin Franklin).

At Franklin’s request, they moved from Philadelphia to Annapolis. Jonas Green was the licensed printer for the colony and Maryland Colonial Legislature, and also was the publisher of his own Maryland Gazette. Both Jonas and Anne Catherine had learned the printing trade from Benjamin Franklin.

In the middle class home that they leased, they had a family of 14 children! It housed the 6 who survived beyond age six, their parents and the business!

To help the family have financial success, Anne also began selling her famous Dutch chocolates at the dock. But, when Jonas died in 1767, he left his family deeply in debt, without ownership of their house or the business.

So, bravely, Anne Catherine took over the business, requested and received an affirmative response to her petition to continue as the Maryland legislature’s printer.

With that contract and her savvy financial acumen, she paid off all the financial debt Jonas left her in, purchased their rented house within three years and showed her courage by allowing the Maryland Gazette, under her direction, to become a propaganda tool for the patriots.

The Gazette was described as “…midwife to the birth of an aroused American political consciousness.” The paper furthered the cause of liberty and the American Revolution, although Anne unfortunately never lived to see the dream fulfilled. She died a year before the Declaration of Independence.

For you to be able to “step” into some of this history, start at the home, and learn the history as follows.

The Greens rented the house on Charles Street in Annapolis, (which at the time had just a two-story kitchen next to a two-room house).

In the early 1740s, the owner expanded the rental home to its current size in order to make room for the Green’s print shop, a post office and their 14 children. Anne was always involved in running the paper from the beginning, too.

Jonas Green hated the Stamp Act, which among other things, directly taxed his newspaper, and in refusing to pay, he halted publication of his paper with a protest headline. Importantly, in the bottom right corner, he placed a skull and crossbones where the tax stamp should have been.

Cooler heads finally prevailed, and Green revived the Gazette with a banner headline. He also signed a long-term contract to be the sole printer for the Maryland General Assembly, a role he kept until he died, yet amazingly he became bankrupt.

In the April 16, 1767, edition of the paper, Anne announced the death of her husband, praised his editorial performance and then humbly stated, “I flatter myself that with your kind Indulgence and Encouragement, Myself and Son will be enabled to continue” the paper.

So, indeed, the capable Anne Green continued to publish the newspaper, without missing an issue. She took over the legislature contract, and in that year, she also issued the volumes of Acts and Votes and Proceedings of the provincial assembly on schedule.

In three short years, she was able to buy the house they had been renting and and buy the printing business. Her family was solvent due to her hard work and savvy.

This would be an amazing accomplishment at any time, but even more so when women never had these business advantages.

After all, she was still a widow, with at least ten children to support, and a stack of her husband’s bills to pay, and all this happened while living in this colonial house.

She was assisted by her son William, until his death in August 1770, and thereafter her son Frederick came old enough to be in the business.

Anne maintained both the private and public sides of the business with great success. The newspaper masthead read Anne Catharine Green & Son, and her other products: almanacs, pamphlets and books were typographically distinguished examples of her craft.

Anne Green was definitely a sympathetic supporter of the American Revolution, and courageously, the Maryland Gazette contained early attacks on British rule. The Gazette was the province’s principal source of news in this period, and in the paper’s pages the major issues of the day were hotly debated.

As I said above, unfortunately Anne Catherine Hoof Green died a year before the Declaration of Independence was signed. In her obituary, her son wrote a beautiful eulogy of his working mother.

Amazingly, it took another century for most of us to learn about her! In 1984, Anne Green was inducted into the Maryland Delaware D.C. Press Association’s Newspaper Hall of Fame. Well deserved!

Maryland Law Library
• 361 Rowe Boulevard • Annapolis, Maryland 21401

The Maryland Women’s Hall of Fame was established in 1985 through the efforts of the Maryland Commission for Women and the Women Legislators of Maryland. Its purpose is to honor many of the Maryland women who have made unique and lasting contributions to the economic, political, cultural and social life of the state, and who can provide visible models of achievement for tomorrow’s female leaders. There are permanent plaques naming the honorees and up to five new inductees are honored each year.

195 Main Street • Annapolis, Maryland 21403

The Coffee House was operated in the late 1700’s by Cornelius and Mary Wallace Howard, who catered to the gentry of Maryland. Mary Howard also sold imported merchandise there. It is still a restaurant today, but at the moment, it is Japanese.

When visiting brick-paved Main Street, know it is home to 65 historic buildings, including the Maryland Inn at the corner of Main Street and Church Circle. The Inn houses the Treaty of Paris Restaurant. Tradition has it that several members of the Continental Congress, including John Adams and Benjamin Franklin, went to the restaurant after ratifying the treaty that officially ended the Revolutionary War in 1784.

One thing that is lots of fun is to take Culinary Tours of Annapolis. There are lots of small artisan shops and purveyors of foods there. It is not recommended for strollers or wheelchairs unless those plan on not going into all venues. Usually there are 12-15 per group, and tours take 3.5 hours. Make reservations online.

Washington, DC Travel – Archived Articles

©2011 mystic at Travel Vacation Review

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