Special Exhibit: Early Printing of the Declaration of Independence

Special Exhibit: Early Printing of the Declaration of Independence

Declaration Close View

The Harvard Law School Library is honored and delighted to display a rare and historic printing of the Massachusetts Bay Colony’s authorized edition of the Declaration of Independence. It was the means by which most citizens learned that their colony had declared independence from England.

Ezekiel Russell printed this handsome broadside on or about July 16, 1776. It is likely that this is its first public viewing since 1776, when it was used to promulgate Congress’ message of independence from England. When Congress declared independence, copies of the Declaration were printed hastily and distributed widely. They were intended to be utilitarian and ephemeral productions; as a result, relatively few survive.

The Library is thankful to the family of Robin and Marc (HLS ’84) Wolpow for this generous loan. The Declaration will be on view in the Caspersen Room weekdays from 9 to 5, through November 22, 2013.