Women with a Deadline

Pioneers of the Press:
17th Century Women Bring Printing to America

The Daye Press

Widowed from Jose Glover en route from England to the Massachusetts colony, Elizabeth Glover founded America's first printing business. Settling in Cambridge, Massachusetts in 1638, Glover opened The Cambridge Press. From her arrival until 1820, more than 25 American women owned and/or operated printers in America. As a woman, Glover needed special permission from New England officials to open a business. By 1641, when she married Harvard's first president, Henry Dunster, The Cambridge Press had issued 1700 copies of the widely used Bay Psalm Book. The book was the first to be printed in the English colonies, and only 11 copies survive today. After their marriage, Dunster took over operations of the Cambridge Press until his death in 1654, when the business was turned over to Harvard College.

The Bay Psalm Book

Dinah Nuthead was another pioneering printer in the 17th century English colonies. In 1682, her husband William founded the second printing business in the New World in Jamestown, Virginia. The couple moved to St. Mary's, Maryland in 1686, where William became the first printer in that colony. Upon his death in 1695, Dinah Nuthead moved to Annapolis. A grant from the Maryland House of Representatives earned her the privilege of being the first licensed female printing operator in all the colonies. Her accomplishments are even more astonishing considering that many sources assert that she was illiterate.

 


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