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Wednesday, December 2, 2020

The First Bible Printed in New Jersey

Since the Wonders of the Bible collection is now located in the great state of New Jersey, I thought it would be only proper to start off my first NJ post with that of the first Holy Bible ever printed in the state: the 1791 Isaac Collins Bible.

In the year 1791, George Washington was President, John Adams was Vice President, and Thomas Jefferson was Secretary of State.

It was in this year that Trenton, New Jersey printer Isaac Collins printed his now-famous "family Bible" ... a version of the King James Bible. For the era, it was one of the most accurately printed Bibles ever produced up until that time. It contained only two errors: one was a misplaced punctuation mark, and the other was a broken letter made by a faulty piece of lead type.

This 1791 Bible was the first to replace the "Dedicated to King James" at the front of all King James translations with "To the Reader". This introduction was written by John Whitherspoon, a signer of the Delcaration of Independence.

The page (leaf) that is in the Wonders of the Bible collection is from I Samuel, and covers the account of David and Goliath.

I'll be exhibiting this piece of American and state of New Jersey history at my Wonders of the Bible presentations ... whenever they will be able to start up again. Hopefully soon. And, of course, Lord willing.

Now that I live in New Jersey, I am looking forward to meeting many Bible history enthusiasts.

Tuesday, December 1, 2020

We are both retired -- and in our new home at the Jersey shore...

Ocean City New Jersey
Welcome to December 2020. You may (or may not) have been wondering where we have been since our last post back in September. Well, it is a very long story. The short version is that Deb has retired ... so we are both fully retired now.

We have purchased a home in a senior retirement community at the Jersey shore.

After living in Allentown, Pennsylvania (Lehigh Valley) for 41 years, I have now moved back to the home state of my birth: New Jersey. Deb grew up in New Jersey (Belmawr), and we both lived in New Jersey for a couple of years after getting married in 1977 (Barrington -- right by Edmund Scientifics), before making our way to Allentown, PA in 1979.

I had my laser and holography studio/lab in Allentown from 1983 through 2017.

We are located a few miles inland from the ocean and beach, which will (hopefully) provide somewhat of a buffer during coastal storms.

As of December 1st (and this post), we are living here full-time. Everything is in place (mostly). I still have to set up my recording equipment for my WOTB podcast, all in due time. I even have the space to set up a small holography area. Many of you know that I have lasers and holograms in my blood!

I hope everyone is doing well, and, Lord willing, I hope to be able to once again feature collection items that will be of interest and inspiration to you, my dear readers. -- Frank (and Deb) DeFreitas
Ocean City New Jersey

Wednesday, August 12, 2020

Wonders of the Bible is now on YouTube

I have begun to place content on YouTube. I am also looking to the possibility of moving the WOTB blog over to my WOTB domain. If you are a member of YouTube, I hope that you will consider subscribing to my video postings.

Friday, August 7, 2020

Revival Wooden Nickel

Today's selection is known as a "wooden nickel". It is announcing a revival meeting at the Broadway Baptists Church, and the speaker is a Dr. Ken Chafin. It appears from a web search that Dr. Chafin was born in 1926, and passed in the year 2001, at age 74. So we would place this piece, of course, within that time frame.

Wooden nickels are very collectible, and are seeing somewhat of a surge in popularity once again here in the 21st century. They have a very interesting history in the United States -- of which I will not duplicate here, since any web search will bring up far more information that anyone could ever hope for.

 Dr. Chafin had a very successful life serving the Lord in many leadership and administrative capacities, including pastor of South Main Baptist Church in Houston, and serving as dean of the Billy Graham School of Evangelism. He wrote several books and recorded LP records.



Saturday, August 1, 2020

August is Christian Ephemera Month

As the title of this newest post states, August is going to be Christian Ephemera Month here at the Wonders of the Bible Blog. I have been a collector of ephemera dating back to the mid 1970's, beginning with my laser and holography collection. In fact, I was a collector of ephemera before the founding of the Ephemera Society of America (founded in 1980). I have always loved "old paper".

With this month (August 2020), I will be showcasing selections from my Christian-based collection. I don't do much with this aspect of the collection, as most people view it as "junk that other people would just throw away" ... which is precisely what ephemera is all about: collecting the throw-aways of yesteryear.

I hope you enjoy the month. I will try to post on a regular basis. There is certainly a lot to choose from!

This selection today is a printed pamphlet called "Truth in a Nutshell" by Harold F. Sayles. It is known as a "tract". No year of publication is noted, but I would be willing to guess that it falls sometime in the late 1800's to early 1900's.

I would love to be able to make audio files while reading these pieces ... what they wrote back then, still holds true today. Maybe that is a project for sometime in the future.

-- Frank DeFreitas

Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Original Declaration of Independence

Original Declaration of Independence found in Philadelphia

Original Declaration of Independence found at Leary's Book Store in Philadelphia

I thought I would post one additional item pertaining to the Declaration of Independence before closing out this month. As readers may remember, I spent the entire month of June -- leading up to the 4th of July -- announcing my new presentation and exhibit titled "Christ, Creation, and the Declaration of Independence" that I have created for the Semiquincentennial celebration. I had ordered this press photo in June, but it got lost in the mail, and was finally delivered on July 27.

I am very glad that they found it, because it shows the actual first printing of the Declaration of Independence. It was found stashed away in a book store in Philadelphia, It is now one of the most famous of the copies that were printed overnight on July 4-5, 1776 by printer John Dunlap. It is also interesting to note that this particular piece -- more than likely -- remained in Philadelphia, while the other copies were dispatched throughout the colonies.

Declaration was found at Leary's Book Store in Philadelphia

As you can see and read on the top press photo, it was being readied for its offering at auction. It was purchased in 1969 for $404,000.00 by Ira G. Corn, Jr. and Joseph P. Driscoll of Texas

They then proceeded to do something very interesting indeed: in 1970 they arranged for R.R. Donnelley & Sons of Chicago to painstakenly reproduce exacting copies. Special paper was made, and it was die-cut to match the edges of the original. It's surface was matched -- both front and back -- to show every detail of the Philadelphia piece. I believe that they were then printed via letterpress -- with customized type cast from the impressions that Dunlap's press had made upon the original. All-in-all, there was no expense, nor time, spared to create what is today known as one of the greatest facsimile recreations in the history of the printing industry.

In Congress, July 4, 1776. A Declaration By the Representatives of the United States of America, in General Congress Assembled.

Corn-Driscoll copy of Dunlap Broadside at Dallas Public Library

I am very happy (and blessed) to be able to have one of these Corn-Driscoll facsimiles in the Wonders of the Bible collection. In addition to the facsimile, I have copies of the original R.R. Donnelley paperwork that went with it as well.

There are 26 known copies of the Dunlap Broadside (as its known), both full sheets and fragments. It is not known how many of the Corn-Driscoll facsimilies are known to still exist.

As an interesting side-note, the Dunlap Broadside was on exhibit for the Bicentennial's American Freedom Train tour -- but -- it was not an actual Dunlap from 1776 ... it was a Corn-Driscoll facsimile that was on the train!

Come out to one of my presentations now (2020) through the year 2026, and see my collection of Declaration's. I will present how the Word of God gets to us through visual arts, science, and communication technologies ... showing, telling, and exhibiting that history. And, don't forget, you'll also get a chance to view the World's Smallest Declaration of Independence through a powerful laboratory microscope. You'll not find anything like it anywhere!

Frank showing the world's smallest Declaration of Independence

Saturday, July 11, 2020

Apocalypse 1554, Lyons, France

Title page to the Book of Revelation (Apocalypsis). It contains Chapter 1:1-4, along with several beautiful woodcuts. Its size is 3 x 4.5 inches (7.5 x 12 cm), so it is a rather small leaf. It was printed in Lyons, France by Sebastian Gryphius, 1544 edition.

I love to collect title pages, and my focus -- whenever possible -- is on the title pages of both Genesis and Revelation ... the first and last books of the Christian Holy Bible. I have both of these in the first edition, first printing, of the 1611 King James (He) Bible (very rare!), and I like to use them as my "bookends" for the rest of my exhibit items.

Of course, this leaf is printed in Latin. This is Jerome's "standard" version, and it quickly took over all other Latin versions. His sources include many of the "Old Latin" Bibles, and also from non-Latin sources, such as the Septuaginta (Greek translation of the Old Testament), and whatever Greek manuscripts of the New Testament he could find.

Today, it is known as the Vulgate Bible (Biblia Vulgata; Biblia Latina; and Biblia Sacra, Latin for Holy Bible).

It was made to be more accurate and easier to understand than the Old Latin versions, using everyday Latin rather than the more "elegant" Ciceronian Latin.

It reigned supreme in the Western Church, even over the Greek and Hebrew versions, for over one thousand years.

For me, personally, I am fascinated by the "Old" Latin translations, because -- if I understand correctly -- the eventual King James Bible and the Protestant Reformation grew out of the very early use of the Old Latin translations. I'm assuming that this information and history is not of very great interest to others, because there is very little to learn about it. I believe that they would be known as the Italic translations -- i.e. the Italia Bible of 157 -- and the groups themselves behind them were actually the precursors to the eventual Protestant Reformation.

The lineage would be: Peshitta Bible 150; Italia Bible 157; Wycliff Bible 1382; Erasmus Bible 1522; Tyndale Bible 1525; Luther Bible 1534; Coverdale Bible 1535; Matthew Bible 1537;  The Great Bible 1539; Stephanus Bible 1550; Geneva Bible 1560; Bishop Bible 1568; Beza Bible 1604; King James 1611.

In any case, this is the Jerome Latin Vulgate -- which didn't have very much to do with the Reformation movement itself, other than spur on new translations by others such as William Tyndale (ex: changing the term "penance" to "repentance", etc.).

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!!


Monday, June 29, 2020

William Stone Declaration Engraving

This is the "version" of the Declaration of Indpendence that we are most familiar with: it is the William Stone engraving from the year 1823. This is a copy of that engraving, of course, with the original being at the National Archives in Washington, D.C.

It is shown actual size, so as you can see, the Declaration is a rather large document ... handwritten on parchment. Most "gift-shop" Declarations that you find are much smaller versions of the original size.

I need to get it framed, but I wanted to hold it flat rather than rolled. As soon as I can get out to a framing shop, I will get the materials and get busy with it.

You can find a lot of information on the Net concerning the William Stone engraving, so I will not duplicate that information here.

If you want to actually SEE the real Stone engraving, you will have to go to Washington. But if an exact facsimile will do, just come to one of my presentations and exhibits ... once they start up again.

I'm hoping to launch my new series celebrating the upcoming semiquincentennial this fall. I am scheduled for Lancaster, PA, and the topic (and exhibit) will be titled: "Christ, Creation, and the Declaration of Independence". Hope to see you there!


Sunday, June 28, 2020

Theodore Ohman Declaration 1942

Here is another Declaration of Independence that I've added to the Wonders of the Bible collection: a famous lithograph print by Thodore Ohman made in 1942. Ohman used a black and white photograph (taken in 1903) of the by-then faded Declaration as the background, then placed the William Stone engraving of 1823 over top as an overlay. It provided one of the most accurate depictions of the declaration at the time, and showed how it would really look if it hadn't aged so poorly.

Many companies contracted to have this print produced for them with their company name at the bottom. Coca-Cola was one. The copy that I have was from a bread company, and it also stated "A Public Service for our Country" at the bottom.

At the lower right is printed: "“Copyright 1942, Ohman Co., Memphis, Tenn."

It is 24 ¼ inches wide and 29 ¾ high.

While this is the document that is so often associated as being the "Declaration of Independence", it was actually the broadside printed by John Dunlap on the evening of July 4th that is truly the official document. This version, shown above, was not created and signed until August 2, 1776.

I have done something simiar with my own version of the Declaration. In addition to adding the 1823 William Stone engraving to a cleared 1776 faded document background (which I cleared entirely by hand), I also highlighted all four main reference to God in red ink.

If you would like to see my version, you may do so by CLICKING OR TAPPING HERE.

Saturday, June 27, 2020

Declaration for the Semiquincentennial Podcast

JULY 2020 PODCAST: In this podcast, I explain how I have recreated the United States Declaration of Independence -- while highlighting references to God throughout the document. This edition is for the upcoming 2026 semiquincentennial celebration of the 250th birthday of the United States of America.

Listen Now...
Semiquincentennial Declaration Podcast

Total Audience (All Podcasts):

You may also: (a) Download the MP3 File (13 MB / 13 minutes)

Go to Web Page for Photographs and additional resources: CLICK HERE

PRODUCTION NOTES: My podcasts are recorded with classic vacuum tube gear onto vintage magnetic tape: Telefunken CU-29 Tube Microphone (1945 Western Electric 6AK5 tube); Universal Audio LA-610 MKII Tube PreAmp & EQ / T4 Tube Opto Leveling Amplifier (2 1960's RCA 12AX7 / 7025, 2 Raytheon 12AT7's, 1 General Electric 6BQ5); Aphex 204; Harman-Kardon TD-4400 Tape Deck (Dolby C); SONY ES-II Magnetic Tape; Steinberg / Rupert Neve digital interface; Alesis ML-9600 Mastering.

Friday, June 26, 2020

Thomas Jefferson First Draft Philadelphia

Beautiful, early 1900's (1908)  post card depicting the site where originally stood the dwelling in which Thomas Jefferson drafted the Declaration of Independence, July 4th, 1776. Philadelphia (7th and Market Sts. today).

This area of the city is my old stomping ground, including Independence Hall, the Liberty Bell, Ben Franklin's print shop, Congress Hall, Carpenter's Hall, Betsy Ross House, and so much more.

Many people do not know that Thomas Jefferson wrote the first draft in Philadelphia.

(above photo) This engraving, created in 1867 by Alonzo Chappel, was done directly from Jefferson's original in the collection of the National Archives. Wonders of the Bible collection.

I went to Philadelphia School of Printing and Advertising at 9th and Market Sts. And I eventually taught the laser and holography workshop programs at the Franklin Institute Science Museum.

Philadelphia will come alive in 2026 as they -- and the rest of the nation -- celebrates the 250th birthday of the United States of America: the Semiquincentennial.

Wonders of the Bible hopes to be there!


Thursday, June 25, 2020

References to God in the Declaration of Independence

Me (Frank DeFreitas) with my re-creation of the Declaration of Independence.

 I have re-created the Declaration of Independence of the United States of America highlighting its references to God. It is a combination of multiple document images, including the 1776 original held in the National Archives in Washington, D.C., and the famous (and familiar) William Stone engraving from 1823.

I have documented the entire process in photos with examplations at my Wonders of the Bible web site.

This page also contains a podcast which explains the entire process via audio.

This edition was done to commemorate the upcoming semiquincentennial celebration in the year 2026.



Wednesday, June 24, 2020

1947 Freedom Train Pledge

Continuing with our BibleAmerica250 Semiquincentennial Declaration of Independence theme for June 2020, here is the promised second post card in the 1947 Freedom Train series. It is titled The Freedom Pledge, and I will type out that pledge below:

I am an American. A free American.

Free to speak -- without fear

Free to worship God in my own way

Free to stand for what I think is right

Free to oppose what I believe is wrong

Free to choose those who govern my country

This heritage of Freedom I pledge to uphold

For myself and all mankind

Before we close out this June series (by July 4th) for Wonders of the Bible blog, we will also take a look at the 1976 Bicentennial America's Freedom Train (upcoming).

When the 2026 semiquincentennial arrives for the 250th birthday of the founding of the United States of America, the 1976 Freedom Train voyage will be celebrating its golden anniversary, or 50th anniversary.


Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Promises of a Good Citizen 1947

From 1947 through 1949, the original Freedom Train toured the United States, bringing historical artifacts, manuscripts and documents to all Americans. This is a post card from that tour, and it is titled "The Nine Promises of a Good Citizen". I'd like to type out those promises for you here at the Wonders of the Bible blog:

1. I will vote in all elections. I will inform myself on candidates and issues and will use my greatest influence to see that honest and capable officials are elected. I will accept public office when I can serve my community or my country thereby.

2. I will serve on a jury when asked.

3. I will respect and obey the laws. I will assist public officials in preventing crime and the courts in giving evidence.

4. I will pay my taxes understandingly (if not cheerfully).

5. I will work for peace but will dutifully accept my responsibilities in time of war and will respect the Flag.

6. In thought, expression and action, at home, at school, and in all my contacts, I will avoid any group prejudice, based on class, race, or religion.

7. I will support our system of free public education by doing everything I can to improve the schools in my own community.

8. I will try to make my community a better place in which to live.

9. I will practive and teach the principles of good citizenship right in my own home.

-- 30 --

*** Tomorrow's selection will contain the Freedom Pledge.

Look for much more about the 1947 and the 1976 Freedom Trains in the upcoming remaining days of June 2020, here at the Wonders of the Bible blog.

All part of my BibleAmerica250 celebration of the upcoming 2026 Semiquincentennial.


Monday, June 22, 2020

William Woodruff Declaration of Independence

I must apologize that -- at the present time -- I cannot make a full-frame photograph of this William Woodruff Declaration of Independence broadside. The size is rather large (as most DOI's are), measuring in at 24 x 28 inches. I do not yet have it framed. But I managed to take a few photos ... in pieces.

Here in June 2020, I am announcing my new BibleAmerica250 exhibits and presentations. I hope to show how the Christian Holy Bible played a major role in the founding of the United States of America in 1776. It is to celebrate the Semiquincentennial in the year 2026.

This engraving is decribed online as (paraphrasing): "This engraved broadside is headed by an eagle clutching arrows, and an olive branch above medallion portraits of Washington, Jefferson, and Adams. The seals of the original thirteen states are  set within a decorative leafy border, and the text of the Declaration is above engraved facsimile signatures. The lower margin contains Woodruff's dedication at center, and has the Rogers imprint below."Engraved by Wm. Woodruff" is located just below the image at lower right."

Washington is shown in military attire, and it is noted that the publishers were Phelps & Ensign.

This particular piece is noted as an "authentic copy from the original steel engraving".

I must say that it is quite beautiful, and very impressive when viewed in person at its given size.

Once I have it framed, it will be added to my Wonders of the Bible exhibits, along with several other Declarations that are in the collection.


Sunday, June 21, 2020

World War II Troops Bible

We are celebrating the United States of America for the entire month of June 2020 ... leading up to, and including, the Declaration of Independence on July 4th.

Today's selection is a Bible given to U.S. Troops during World War II, along with a printed letter from then- President Franklin D. Roosevelt.

The description describes it as "The World's Smallest Bible": containing over 200 pages of the New Testament and the Lord's Prayer. Every word can be read with good eyesight or a magnifying glass.

And, below, we see the inside of the card that it was attached to with a red ribbon:

Stay tuned for more selections from the Wonders of the Bible collection. These items are all part of my BibleAmerica250 program and exhibition. These events will take us up to the Semiquincentennial (250 years) celebration of the founding of the United States of America 1776-2026.

My first program and exhibit is slated for November 3, 2020, in Lancaster, Pennsylvania (providing there are no Covid-19 restrictions, of course).


Saturday, June 20, 2020

Independence Hall: Hold To Light Post Card

Here we have one of my favorite types of post cards: A "Hold-To-Light" post card. You see, when you take the post card and hold it up to a light (in any dark room), there are areas (usually windows) that allow light to pass through, and it goes from being a day light scene, to a night time scene.

This one is showing Independence Hall in Philadelphia, PA. Along with people strolling the street (what is now Chestnut Street, no doubt). And look at what might be a Model T Ford automobile coming down the street from the right-hand border of the card.

The areas that light up are all of the windows, the clock and upper tower, and even the moon. Yes, the moon lights up in the night sky!


Friday, June 19, 2020

Dunlap Broadside in Mays Landing, NJ

It is known as the "Dunlap Broadside".

And as of the year 2021, a very famous facsimile now resides in Mays Landing, NJ.

The first printing of the Declaration of Independence that this facsimile is recreated from is sometimes called the "Lost Copy". It was re-discovered in 1968 on the dusty shelves of Leary's Book Store in Philadelphia, during its closing after 132 years.

This is the version of the Declaration that was printed on the night of July 4, 1776. It was used to make the announcement of newly-voted Independence from Great Britain to the rest of the American colonies.

26 originals are known to still exist.

The "lost copy" Dunlap Broadside was purchased by Ira Corn, Jr. and Joseph Driscoll circa 1970 for $404,000 (in 1970 dollars).

The original document was restored, preserved and commissioned by R. R. Donnelley & Sons Company, Lakeside Press

Donnelley & Sons then went on to produce a limited number of facsimiles. Exact paper was specially manufactured, and the ink was formulated to match that of the original. Even the stains, folds, and age marks were faithfully reproduced by Donnelley.

They made it known that no expense was spared in their process.

The facsimile itself is now world-famous and highly collectible ... truly a rarity in the world of historical documents.

For several years the owners displayed the original Declaration without charge throughout the United States. It now resides in the Dallas, Texas public library.

It was added to the Wonders of the Bible collection for its several references to God.

Featured on the 1976 American Freedom Train during the Bicentennial Celebration: Substituting for an original Dunlap, a Corn-Driscoll facsimile was used on the nationwide tour of the American Freedom Train from April 1975 through December 1976. It was displayed in train car #1, and was seen in 76 cities in the 48 contiguous states.

It is not known what happened to that particular facsimile. Could this be the one?


Thursday, June 18, 2020

Wood Relic from Independence Hall, Philadelphia

Here is an interesting piece of history: a slice of wood that is a relic from Independence Hall in Philadelphia, PA. The entire wall display is dated to 22 June 1925. It tells a little bit about where the wood came from (the floor boards where the Declaration of Independence was signed); and a a little history behind the building.

It has various signatures from Independence Hall Historical Society, as well as from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

It is also interesting to note that the Founding Fathers of the United States of America stood on this floor as they signed our nation's birth certificate.

Now, I guess it comes down to some people being interested, and others not. For someone who is, it truly is a remarkable piece to behold in person.

This is another item that will be part of my upcoming BibleAmerica250 exhibits and presentations. This series is a celebration of the upcoming semiquincentennial in 2026. My presentation itself is titled: "Christ, Creation, and the Declaration of Independence" -- and, Lord willing, will continue from Fall 2020, right through 2026.

I just finished one of my own projects related to this, and I will be happy to share it with you shortly.


Monday, June 15, 2020

Ronald Reagan Reads Declaration of Independence

Here we have a 33 1/3 record of then-govenor Ronald Reagan reading the Declaration of Independence, noted "for the All American Boy and Girl". One can "hear the living story of our American heritage with all the exciting sounds of music".

Its not too difficult to find one of these records online, but to find one with an intact slip cover is a real treat for any collection. This will go on display with my latest Wonders of the Bible exhibit I am putting together ... showcasing the 250th anniversary of the 1776 signing of the Declaration of Independence in Philadelphia.

It is called BibleAmerica250.

After I retired, and moved from our house into our retirement apartment, I gave a lot of things away, including my old record player. I believe one of our daughters may have it. As soon as the Covid-19 restrictions are lifted for our area, I will attempt to regain use of the record player and record this. I'll place the audio file here on the Blog for all to enjoy.


Sunday, June 14, 2020

BIbleAmerica250 Logo

I designed this new logo to go with the 250th anniversary of the founding of the United States of America ... coming up in the year 2026. It shows the famous Liberty Bell, with an added cross, since it will be used by Wonders of the Bible for my upcoming programs beginning in Fall 2020. I hope I live until 2026 (Lord willing), but I'll work hard to get out the good news of Jesus Christ for however long the Lord will keep me here. Do you like the logo? God Bless You Today and Every Day ... AND ... remember to always loves others, just as Jesus Christ loves YOU! #BibleAmerica250

Friday, June 12, 2020

Declaration of Independence Stereoview

June 2020 is Declaration of Independence month here at the Wonders of the Bible blog. Better to have it leading up to July 4th than following it, right? Okay.

Here we have an early 20th century stereograph depicting the signing of the Declaration of Independence ... it appears to be either a reproduction of, or a variation on, the painting by Trumbull. It is a commonly found stereograph.

There are not many stereoview cards that do not show a 3D scene when viewed in a stereoscope, but this is one of them. Rather than the left picture being for the left eye, and the right picture being for the right eye, they are both the same shot.

I added it to the collecting to go along with the newer Declaration of Independence acquisitions, regardless of its dimensionality.

And, by the way, the Wonders of the Bible archives contains one of the finest Christian-based collections of 19th and 20th century stereographs in the world. The collection is home to many one-of-a-kind stereographic images ... produced by independent stereo photographers. This was a very expensive hobby and/or profession for the era -- similar to the way that holography was in the mid- to late 20th century.

I have always tried to aquire one-of-a-kind Christian collectibles. Why? Well, because if it is one of a kind, and you are the owner, then no one else in the world can ever own another one -- regardless of how big their organization is.

Tuesday, June 9, 2020

Declaration of Independence Pledge Card

Collecting ephemera has always been one of my favorite pastimes. My history of lasers and holography ephemera collection amounted to in excess of 20,000 pieces at one point in time. My Christian based ephemera collection started as a sub-set of my laser and holography collection, focusing primarily on religious-based 3D imaging technologies (holograms, lenticulars, etc.).

And so it continues with my Wonders of the Bible collection. With this selection, we see that it is tied in to the Declaration of Independence, which is the theme of this blog for the month of June 2020.

"For the Love of Christ and Country. I hereby make my Declaration of Independence against King Alcohol. I pledge myself never to use intoxicating liquor as a drink, and I promise to do all I can to end the DRINK HBIT and the LIQUOR TRAFFIC.

Then there is a place for a signature, a date (note the 190_) and place.

It is a lot of fun to collect ephemera ... which is, for the most part, collecting items that otherwise would have been thrown away by others. In fact, before the rather official title of "ephemera" came to be, these type of collectibles were already known as "throw aways". Lately, the term ephemera has taken on a much more broad range of meaning, and includes items that, originally, would never have been considered ephemeral. But, that's just how it goes, I guess. For me, personally, I still focus my ephemera collecting on the more traditional definition: throw aways.

I do hope that the Holy Bible finds inclusion in the official 2026 semiquincentennial celebration(s). It has in most other anniversaries: 50, 100, 150, 200. In fact, the America's Freedom Train from the Bicentennial Celebration had a Bible on board, and a dedicated display for religious freedom in America.

In the meantime, I'm working hard to prepare a great exhibit and presentation that will begin taking place already by Fall 2020: "Christ, Creation, and the Declaration of Independence".

Sunday, June 7, 2020

Philadelphia Sesqui-Centennial 1926

As we prepare for the 250th Semiquincentennial celebration in 2026, let's not forget about the Sesqui-Centennial International Exposition held in Philadelphia, PA in 1926. If you haven't ever heard about this extraordinary event, do look it up ... it was like a World's Fair in Philly.

Now, I know that I no longer have the mental dexterity that I had in my youth ... but let me take a crack at the following:

2026 is not only the Semiquincentennial of the USA, but will also be the Centennial anniversary of the Sesquicentennial ... just as the Sesquicentennial was the Centennial of the Golden Jubilee. Yes, that's correct, because numerically, the Centennial was also the Golden Jubilee of the Golden Jubilee.  And, don't forget, the upcoming Semiquincentennial will be the Golden Jubilee of the famous Bicentennial. Now, how's that for confusing!?

We will be celebrating the 250th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence in just a few, short years (2026) -- and, since I'm now in my retirement years, I hope that I'm still around for the celebration.

Wonders of the Bible, however, is ready now ... since the whole point of the collection is to document the history of the Bible (and its influence) and how the Word of God gets to us ...

... from early cuneiform tablets, to Hebrew scrolls, to the printing press, and eventually to lasers and holographic data storage.

And somewhere in there in that long history is Colonial America.

In the meantime, I look forward to giving presentations and exhibiting the collection ... especially to show the Bible's role in early Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, and Maryland's history. Of course, this will include its influence on the signers of the Declaration of Independence ... not to mention the document itself.

June 2020 is dedicated to the Semiquincentennial 2026 here at the Wonders of the Bible blog ... so stay tuned for more posts.

And, remember, our hashtag is now: #BibleAmerica250 on Twitter.

Thursday, June 4, 2020

Declaration of Independence and Portraits of the Presidents 1859

Another recent acquisition as I continue to build out my Declaration of Independence display. This one is The Declaration of Independence and Portraits of the Presidents. : Ledger Carrier's Annual Greeting to their Subscribers, 1859.

This appears to be an offset printed, colorized facsimile of what was originally a standard engraving. However, the effect is pleasant enough, the colors are muted and representational of the period. The colorization seems more vivid and pronounced in the photos here than in person.

It is marked: Engraved & printed by Illman & Sons, 603 Arch St. Philada., [1858]

Facsimile signatures, portraits of the first 15 US presidents, and Trumbull's painting of the signing.

Presidents' names and years each served are printed at the top. The last is President Buchanan. 1857.

Size is 17" x 22" inches, 43 x 56 cm.

With the right frame, this could be very nice indeed.

As soon as businesses begin opening up again, I plan on getting all of these new items framed for exhibit (these posts are being posted online during the 2020 Coronavirus pandemic shut-downs). I will continue to post Declaration of Independence related exhibit items during the month of June. Hopefully, I can get the collection documented. Stay tuned.

Of course, these are all part of my "Christ, Creation, and the Declaration of Independence" series. Eventually leading up to the Semiquincentennial celebration of the 250th anniversary of the founding of the United States of America.

-- Frank DeFreitas

Monday, June 1, 2020

World's Smallest Declaration of Independence

The World's Smallest Declaration of Independence has to be viewed under a microscope...

Here I am (Frank DeFreitas) holding a microscope slide dating back to the mid- 1800's. This 19th century slide contains the image of the world's smallest Declaration of Independence.

When this extraordinary version of our nation's birth certificiate recently became available, I knew that I had to try my very best to add it to my extensive collection of micro Biblical scripture and art.

Why? ... so I could one day share it with YOU!

This Declaration of Independence is the size of a single snowflake. As far as I can tell, the only microphotographer that produced them was Joseph Israel Solomon of Great Britian, sometime around the year 1860 (microphotography followed closely behind the invention of photography in the 19th century).

John Benjamin Dancer -- yet another famous microphotographer -- also lists a microphotograph of the Declaration. However, it turns out to be a microphoto of John Trumbull's famous painting of the founding fathers signing the Declaration at Independence Hall in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. I cannot find any other listing.

There are many various printed, handwritten, and engraved versions of the Declaration of Independence ... from the very first Dunlap Broadsides (printed overnight on the night of July 4th 1776), to contemporary versions still being produced today.

There are a few individual copies of the Dunlap Broadside that are very famous and highly sought-after, such as the Corn-Driscoll Facsimile. This particular facsimile is so famous, that there are facsimiles made of the facsimile! You'll see one of these at my exhibit.

This microscopic version is the smallest Declaration of Independence in the world for its time period -- and, perhaps, of all time ... since I have yet to locate one that is smaller. How small is it? Well, it requires a laboratory microscope to view it! Since the entire document, reduced and recorded, is the size of a snowflake, imagine how small each letter has to be. It is simply mind-boggling.

Christ, Creation, and the Declaration of Independence

Here at the Wonders of the Bible blog, the month of June 2020 will be dedicated to the Declaration of Independence. I am currently producing both a live presentation, along with an exhibition, as we continue to move closer to the 250th anniversary (semiquincentennial) of the founding of the United States of America.

Lord willing, my presentation and exhibition will be ready for a fall 2020 launch -- and will continue to be offered right up until the 2026 celebrations.

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

Live Presentations (PowerPoint):

The live presentations will focus on the following four topical areas, taken directly from the text of the Declaration of Independence itself:

1. Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God
2. Created by their Creator
3. The Supreme Judge of the World
4. Divine Providence

I am convinced that it is only through the God of the Christian Holy Bible that a document such as the Declaration of Independence could have sprung forth in the first place.

In other words, there would have been no United States of America without the Declaration of Independence, and there would have been no Declaration of Independence without Jesus Christ, the Creator.

My thesis with this new presentation and exhibit is that not only were the founders Christian, and not only did they build the foundation of the United States of America on Christian principles, they were also Creationists ... believing in the Biblical account of Creation, and not evolution.

And through the exhaustive study of personal correspondence and manuscripts through the National Archives, I will do it in their own words.

Throughtout the presentation, I will try my very best to answer two questions: (1) How does the Declaration of Independence point to scripture?; and (2) How does scripture point to the Declaration of Independence?

The Bible in Pennsylvania History:

The exhibitions will showcase the Christian Holy Bible in its developmental history from cunieform tablets to ancient Hebrew scrolls; from the invention of the printing press to the printing of the Textus Receptus;  and from the English translation of William Tyndale to the first Bibles printed on American Soil: from Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware and Maryland.

You won't want to miss several examples of the Declaration of Independence, an engraving of Thomas Jefferson's original draft, and an authentic Corn-Driscoll Dunlap Broadside facsimile. And don't forget to look through the microscope ... so you can say that you saw the "world's smallest".

Check back from time-to-time throughout June 2020, right here at the Wonders of the Bible blog. I will use this month to kick off the coundown. I'll be featuring many of the exhibit items here for you to see. Look for the identification label of BibleAmerica250.


-- Frank DeFreitas