The Declaration of Independence in New York

When the first printing of the Declaration of Independence (the John Dunlap broadside) reached New York, it was read and adopted by the New York Convention. Printed by John Holt, this broadside is the first New York printing of the Declaration, as authorized by the Representatives of the State of New York on July 9. The Convention was meeting in White Plains, which was safer than British-controlled New York City. Holt was a local newspaper and job printer, with premises in Water Street. This broadside was one of his last local undertakings before the outbreak of hostilities. He withdrew to the safety of the so-called neutral ground of the mid-Hudson valley, and worked in Poughkeepsie for the duration of the war, returning to Manhattan only in 1783.

This is one of two or three copies of the first New York printing of the Declaration known to have survived. Another copy is recorded at The Huntington Library; the discovery of a third copy was alleged some years ago, but no details have been determined thus far. The Huntington copy is endorsed by John McKesson, Secretary of the Committee of Safety for New York: "œOrdered that 500 copies be printed in Hand Bills to be sent to all the County Committees in this State."

United States Congress. Declaration of Independence. New York: John Holt, after July 9, 1776.
The New York Public Library, Rare Book Division, Emmet Collection.

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