Just in time for the Fourth of July: an original printing of the Declaration of Independence is on display at Yale University’s Beinecke Library.
It’s one of 26 known copies of what’s called "the Dunlap Broadsides." The Continental Congress’s official printer, John Dunlap, printed about 200 copies in his shop in Philadelphia on the night of July 4, 1776.
“The Dunlap Broadsides were sent out immediately on horseback and stagecoach throughout the 13 new states to announce to the public that the new nation had been founded. They were the original viral media of the nation,” says Michael Morand who is with the Beinecke Library.
The library will feature some other historical documents alongside the Declaration, including a landmark women’s rights report from the 1848 Seneca Falls Convention. And Frederick Douglass’s oration entitled “What to the Slave is the Fourth of July?”
Morand says they show how the struggle for human rights plays out across American history.
“The founders sought a more perfect union. The union was not perfect in the beginning, and even in our own day there is much work to be done.”
The library plans to host a public reading of the Declaration of Independence and Douglass’s oration on July 5. The documents are on display through July 11.