Fine Books & Manuscripts
Declaration of Independence. Washington, D.C.: engraved by W.J. Stone, .
Folio broadside, printed on rice paper, formerly folded and included in Peter Force's (1790-1868) American Archives, an accurate, actual-size facsimile of the original document, the plate produced by Stone in 1823, at which time it was published in an edition of 200 copies, appearing at that time with a different imprint; in this, the Force Declaration, the Stone imprint is in the bottom left quadrant, under the first column of signatures; this copy has old folds, some offsetting of the printed text, and a small stain in the left margin, touching one letter, small tear in the top quadrant center, where four folds intersect, and again near the bottom, in the center of John Hancock's signature, no loss of paper, could be repaired from the verso without loss, minor crinkling along the margins, 25 1/2 x 29 in.
In 1820, fearing the state of preservation of the original Declaration of Independence, Secretary of State John Quincy Adams commissioned the engraver William J. Stone to create a full-size facsimile. After three years of work on the plate, Congress ordered the publication of 200 copies on parchment. This edition was produced after Peter Force purchased the plate, with a plan to include a folded version in his publication, American Archives. Subscription orders proved disappointing and Force saw his project cancelled by Secretary of State William Marcy in 1853.
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