US Declaration Of Independence: US DeclarationofIndependence


The Dunlap Broadside and the Unanimous Declaration.
The words Declaration of Independence have two common variant spellings: Déclaration of Independence and Declaration of Independance. In web site documents, these words are sometimes written in the following compacted forms: DeclarationofIndependence, DéclarationofIndependence, or DeclarationofIndependance. The words Declaration of Independence are also abbreviated: DOI or DofI. The word checklist is sometimes written check list.
The John Dunlap Broadside

The first printed copy of the Declaration of Independence was done by John Dunlap on the night of July 4th, 1776. It is believed that 200 copies of the Dunlap Broadside were printed.

There are 26 known surviving copies of the Dunlap Broadside. Each of the surviving copies of the Dunlap Broadside can be accounted for. One copy was placed in the Journal of the Second Continental Congress, attached with sealing wax. This copy is owned by the National Archives in Washington, D.C. The Library of Congress holds two copies; Yale University holds a copy, to name just a few. The 26th copy was discovered in October 2008 by rare book dealer Joseph Felcone of Princeton, NJ, while at the National Archives of the UK, in London, working on a descriptive bibliography of 18th-century New Jersey printing.

On July 19th, 1776, the Continental Congress authorized Timothy Matlack to prepare a hand inscribed copy (engrossed copy) of the Declaration of Independence on parchment. The so-called engrossed copy was finished and presented to the Continental Congress on August 2nd, at which time it was signed by most members. The engrossed copy is entitled The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen United States of America. This single copy of the unanimous Declaration is on display at the National Archives, Washington, D.C.

The William Stone Copy of the Unanimous Declaration

"By 1820 the original Declaration of Independence showed serious signs of deterioration and wear from handling. Secretary of State John Quincy Adams commissioned William Stone to engrave an exact copy of the original [engrossed copy of the Declaration of Independence] onto a copper plate, and in 1823 Congress ordered 200 official copies printed on vellum. (Fewer than 40 of Stone's printings on vellum are known to have survived.) All subsequent exact facsimiles of the Declaration descend from this Stone plate." — from a Bauman Books advertisement.

Other Printed Copies of the Declaration of Independence

Great care was taken to ensure that the original printings of the Declaration of Independence (Dunlap broadside, engrossed copy, Stone facsimile, etc.) were free from clerical errors. However, other printings of the Declaration of Independence, in books, pamphlets, periodicals, and newspapers, were carelessly frought with errors. Errors or not, these many additional "hosting works" in which the Declaration of Independence was printed are themselves important and valuable sources of information.

JUST PUBLISHED. Declaration of Independence — A Checklist of Books, Pamphlets, and Periodicals, Printing the Declaration of Independence, 1776-1825. A free PDF copy of the checklist can be downloaded from the Home Page. You can also purchase a hardbound copy of the checklist at a most reasonable price. See the Home Page for additional details and offerings. 
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