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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