One of The New York Public Library’s greatest treasures, a full-text version of the Declaration of Independence handwritten by Thomas Jefferson will be on view through July 31 at The New York Public Library’s Stephen A. Schwarzman Building in the Sue and Edgar Wachenheim III Gallery. The display will be open for a special viewing over the Independence Day weekend, Sunday, July 4 through Monday, July 5. The exhibition also includes early printings of the Declaration as well as a letter from Benjamin Franklin to George Washington mentioning that the Declaration was being drafted. The Library is located at Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street. Admission is free.
In the days immediately following ratification on July 4, 1776, Jefferson made several copies of the text that had been submitted to the Continental Congress, underlining the passages to which changes had been made. Jefferson was distressed by the alterations made, most notably the removal of his lengthy condemnation of slavery. The Library’s copy is one of two known to survive intact. It is shown together with the first Philadelphia printing and the first New York printing of the final version issued by Congress. These versions are complemented by the earliest newspaper printings; the second official version ordered by Congress, published by a woman printer in Baltimore.
Regular exhibition hours are Monday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Tuesday and Wednesday from 11 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. There will be a special viewing of The Declaration of Independence exhibition only from Sunday through Monday, July 4 through July 5, from 1 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. (all other Library exhibitions, collections, and services will be unavailable). For more information about exhibitions at The New York Public Library, the public may call 917-ASK-NYPL or visit the Library’s website at www.nypl.org.
A video about The Library's copy of the Declaration of Independence can be seen by clicking here
Support for The New York Public Library’s Exhibitions Program has been provided by Celeste Bartos, Mahnaz Ispahani and Adam Bartos, Jonathan Altman, and Sue and Edgar Wachenheim III.
About The New York Public Library
The New York Public Library was created in 1895 with the consolidation of the private libraries of John Jacob Astor and James Lenox with the Samuel Jones Tilden Trust. The Library provides free and open access to its physical and electronic collections and information, as well as to its services. Its renowned research collections are located in the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building at Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street; The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts at Lincoln Center; the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in Harlem; and the Science, Industry and Business Library at 34th Street and Madison Avenue. Eighty-eight branch libraries provide access to circulating collections and a wide range of other services in neighborhoods throughout the Bronx, Manhattan, and Staten Island. Research and circulating collections combined total more than 50 million items. In addition, each year the Library presents thousands of exhibitions and public programs, which include classes in technology, literacy, and English for speakers of other languages. All in all The New York Public Library serves more than 17 million patrons who come through its doors annually and millions more around the globe who use its resources at www.nypl.org.