Our Collection

At the Institute’s core is the Gilder Lehrman Collection, one of the great archives in American history. More than 70,000 items cover five hundred years of American history, from Columbus’s 1493 letter describing the New World to soldiers’ letters from World War II and Vietnam. Explore primary sources, visit exhibitions in person or online, or bring your class on a field trip.

Stone, William James (1798-1865) Declaration of Independence [W.J. Stone facsimile on vellum]

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Gilder Lehrman Collection #: GLC00154.02 Author/Creator: Stone, William James (1798-1865) Place Written: Washington, D.C. Type: Broadside Date: 01 January 1823 Pagination: 1 vellum sheet 84 x 39 cmFramed dimensions: 41 x 35 x 1 1/4 Order a Copy PDF Download(s): PDF copy (image only)

The William J. Stone facsimile of the Declaration of Independence, printed on parchment, with Stone's imprint. Secretary of State John Quincy Adams, upon discovering the fragility of the original Declaration of Independence in 1820, ordered this exact facsimile to be produced. It took Stone three years to exactly copy and engrave the handwriting on the original document. This image is the closest facsimile of the original document. As such, the Stone facsimile has become the basis for all modern facsimiles. Two hundred copies of this broadside were distributed to surviving signers of the original document (John Adams, Thomas Jefferson and Charles Carroll), members of the federal and state governments, and selected universities and colleges in the United States. Despite such wide distribution, only about 30 copies of this facsimile survive.

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