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Sunday, July 5, 2020

How to Pronounce Semiquincentennial

As the year 2026 approaches, you may begin to see the word "Semiquincentennial" used more frequently. The word stands for "250". It means one forth of one thousand years. It will be used for the upcoming 250th celebration of the signing of the Declaration of Independence, and the birth of the United States of America.

Here is a short audio clip that I've made, so that you can hear how it is pronounced:

Saturday, July 4, 2020

Toppan Micro Engraving of Declaration of Independence 1840

Only July 4, 1840, in Philadelphia, PA, Charles Toppan engraved the plate that was used to make this print of the Declaration of Independence. It is shown next to the size of a U.S. penny for comparison.

The words are so small, that one needs a strong magnifying glass, or even a microscope, to read it.

The Declaration is surrounded by the seal of the United States at the 12-o'clock position, with Thomas Jefferson on the immediate left, and George Washington on the immediate right. The original 13 colonies are then shown surrounding the text.

(above photo) Details of the Charles Toppan engraving of the Declaration of Independence.

Once a plate is created, it can be used over and over again for copies. This particular copy was printed by the American Bank Note Company. The printing date is estimated to be around 1859-1860. It was used for promotion. rABN (as it is known) would late go on to work with lasers and holography, producing the American Eagle cover of the National Geographic magazine in the 1980s.

Toppan also did an engraving of Thomas Jefferson's original draft of the Declaration n 1829.

(above photo) The engraving matted and framed.

If it could possibly be reproduced accurately, this Declaration would fit onto the back of a standard sized business card. But it would take an incredible job at printing to do so.

As it stands, it is now part of the Wonders of the Bible collection, to go along with all of the recent acquisitions pertaining to the U.S. Declaration (and its references to God). It will be on display as we approach the semiquincentennial 250th year celebration of the founding of the United States of America in 2026.

The title of my presentation is: "Christ, Creation, and the Declaration of Independence".

Since this is July 4, my series of posts that run through the entire month of June are now complete.

Happy Independence Day!

-- Frank DeFreitas



Friday, July 3, 2020

Semiquincentennial 2026 Celebration Begins NOW

Hello, this is Frank DeFreitas. It has been my pleasure to bring to you the Wonders of the Bible U.S. Semiquincentennial collection for the month of JUNE. Now that the July 4th holiday is upon us, it is time to go back to our regular posts.

But, before we do, I wanted to put together an index page, a table of contents, where you can find all of the collectible exhibition items together on one page.

Of course, in addition to all of the Declaration of Independence items, the exhibit also celebrates the history of our Christian Holy Bible leading up to the founding of the United States of America as well.


This includes: Cuneiform clay tablets; ancient Hebrew scrolls; Handwritten manuscripts; rare Bible pages such as the first edition / first printing of the King James; William Tyndale; Textus Receptus; Robert Aitken; first Bibles printed in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware ...



Your eyes when you look through the microscopes to see the world's smallest Declaration of Independence; the world's smallest handwritten Lord's Prayers; world's smallest Biblical Art; including the Smallest Lord's Prayer written by inventor Thomas Edison.



3-D Laser Holograms, Vintage Lenticulars; and 19th Century Christian Stereoview Cards

Bring Wonders of the Bible to your church group to observe the U.S. Semiquincentennial

So, as the excitement builds for the 250th birthday party of America, I hope you will keep Wonders of the Bible in mind as you plan your own celebrations.

Remember: We Can Come to YOU with our exhibit. So please don't hesitate to contact us between now and July 4th, 2026.

The title of our powerpoint presentation is: Christ, Creation, and the Declaration of Independence.

To view the posts that were made during the entire month of JUNE:


And here's the contents of the various posts that I made during this past month of JUNE. Remember, this is just a very, very, small sample of the items that are part of the Wonders of the Bible exhibits and presentations for the Semiquincentennial:

President Kennedy reads the Declaration of Independence

American Freedom Train 1975-1976

William Stone Declaration Engraving

Theodore Ohman Declaration 1942

Declaration for the Semiquincentennial Podcast

Thomas Jefferson in Philly: First Draft of Declaration

References to God in the Declaration of Independence

1947 Freedom Train Pledge

Promises of a Good Citizen 1947

William Woodruff Declaration of Independence

World War II Troops Bible

Independence Hall: Hold To Light Post Card

Dunlap Broadside in Allentown, PA

Wood Relic from Independence Hall, Philadelphia

Ronald Reagan Reads Declaration of Independence

BIbleAmerica250 Logo

Declaration of Independence Stereoview

Declaration of Independence Pledge Card

Philadelphia Sesqui-Centennial 1926

Declaration of Independence and Portraits of the Presidents 1859

World's Smallest Declaration of Independence


For the full effect of the scope of the Wonders of the Bible collection / exhibition you must visit the main Wonders of the Bible Web site:

#BibleAmerica250 #Semiquincentennial

Thursday, July 2, 2020

President Kennedy reads the Declaration of Independence

Here is a 45 R.P.M. (rotations per minute) audio record containing the voice of President John F. Kennedy reading the Declaration of Independence. As far as I know, it has never been played. Unfortunately, I gave my record player away when we moved into our retirement apartment in 2017. But, soon, I hope to be able to play and record this for your listening pleasure.

I also have the same type of record with President Ronald Reagan reading the Declaration. This recording was done when he was still Governor of California.

Once I have them recorded, I will come back and add the mp3 files to their respective posts.

Wonders of the Bible is preparing to celebrate the 2026 U.S. Semiquincentennial birthday of the founding of the United States of America.


Tuesday, June 30, 2020

American Freedom Train 1975-1976

Frank DeFreitas holding a vintage Lionel HO scale American Freedom Train set from 1976, brand new and still sealed in the box.

(above / click or tap to enlarge) I am holding an original, still-sealed, HO scale Lionel American Freedom Train. This train zig-zagged across the entire United States during the years of 1975 and 1976. It carried famous / priceless artifacts and told the story of America's history.  In my future set-up and exhibits, this train will circle the Declaration of Independence and a scale-model of Independence Hall in Philadelphia.

This Lionel model train is actually a famous collectible. It is very sought after, especially a complete, unused set. The aquisition of this train set is one of the final items that will now complete my Wonders of the Bible collection -- a collection that has taken nearly a decade to assemble.

On the left (in the top photo / click or tap to enlarge), in the gold frame, is a Corn-Driscoll facsimile of the Dunlap Broadside Declaration of Independence. A Corn facsimile was featured prominently on the American Freedom Train.

All About America commemmorative book from the American Freedom Train

(above / click or tap to enlarge) Slipcover from the commemorative book "All Aboard America", telling the making and story of the 1975-1976 AFT. It was seen and visited by millions of Americans as it made its way across the U.S.A. to celebrate the Bicentennial.

Here are some of the areas that the train visited (close to my own area): In Pennsylvania: Harrisburg; Scranton; Williamsport; Bethlehem; King of Prussia. In New Jersey: Morristown; Newark; New Brunswick; Asbury Park (Bradley Beach / Neptune); Atlantic City;  In Delaware: Wilmington. In Maryland: Baltimore; Cumberland; Hagerstown. If you are in PA, NJ, DE, or MD, and know of any other stops along the route, please let me know. 

In addition to the Dunlap Broadside there are several other items that I will be including in my exhibitions. They are:

set-up exhibit detail from the Wonders of the Bible exhibition in Allentown, PA

(above / click or tap to enlarge) The Robert Aitken Bible leaf of 1782 (center), the only Bible ever to gain endorsement of Congress. This was the first English language Bible printed in the United States, and was printed on Market Street, in Philadelphia, not far from Independence Hall. Either this Bible (Aitken) or the John Eliot Indian Bible (Algonquin: Mamusse Wunneetupanatamwe Up-Biblum God) the first Bible ever printed in America, was featured prominently on the AFT. I have not yet found out which Bible it was.

(also above) The "Gun-Wad" Bible leaf of Christoph Saur of Germantown, PA (now part of Philadelphia). This was the first German Bible printed in the United States. It had three editions, of which Wonders of the Bible collection has all three leaves. This one shown (at right) is from 1776.

(also above) The famous "No Cross, No Crown" leaf written by the founder of Pennsylvania, William Penn.

Also shown is a commemorative plate showing the Great Seal of the United States of America as designed by Charles Thomson, secretary of Congress, signer of the Declaration of Independence, and translator of the Greek for the Thomson Bible, printed by Jane Aitken, first woman to print the Holy Bible in America. The American Eagle flag pole finial was designed by the same person that designed the John F. Kennedy half dollar: engraver Gilroy Roberts.

The first New Testament Bible ever printed in the State of Delaware 1791

(above / click or tap to enlarge) Since the American Freedom Train began its two-year journey in Wilmington, Delaware, I thought I would include this rare and wonderful Bible leaf. It is from the first New Testament printed in Delaware, in the year 1791. I have had a wonderful relationship with several Christian groups in Delaware, and it is my pleasure to be able to bring this piece of American Biblical History back to their great state. I hope that many Delaware residents come out to see and appreciate this piece of history whenever I visit their state in the future.

There will be many Bible examples that led to the founding of the United States of America  -- all originals; along with micro- and nano-scale Scripture; 3-D laser holograms and lenticulars; Stereographs of early American Christianity; my famous "touch the moon" rock; along with a special exhibit of Declaration(s) of Independence (including the World's Smallest Declaration of Independence); and many other items that celebrate God and his Creation.

Vintage 1976 Plasticville Independence Hall still sealed in the original box.

And, of course, no train layout would be complete without the inclusion of at least one example of "Plasticville USA". These kits / models were around when I was a kid ... and I was born before there were 50 states! But, in any case, I thought that I might start the train layout with Independence Hall ... and I wouldn't want to start off with just any ... it should be Plasticville Independence Hall. This one is brand new -- from 1976 -- and still sealed in the box.

This closes out my month of June Declaration of Independence celebration here at the Wonders of the Bible blog.

Hope to see you all soon ... either here, or at your location.

Getting ready for the SEMIQUINCENTENNIAL!!