The First Printing of the Declaration of Independence with the Signers' Names

The statement by the Signers at the foot of the broadside explains how this version came into being, six months after independence was proclaimed. The Members of Congress "Ordered, that an authenticated copy of the Declaration of Independency, with the names of the members of Congress, subscribing the same, be sent to each of the United States, and that they desired to have the same put on record." This version of the Declaration, printed in two columns for the first time as a broadside, is historically significant on several counts. In four columns below the text of the document, it bears the names of the Signers, except for Thomas McKean of Delaware. It is only the second official copy ordered published by Congress. Moreover, it is significant in social history as the work of an early American woman printer, Mary Katherine Goddard (1736-1816).

The autograph signatures at the bottom of the broadside authenticate this copy. John Hancock signs as President of the Congress, and Charles Thomas, the Secretary, attests the official nature of the document.

United States Congress. Declaration of Independence. Baltimore: Mary Katharine [sic] Goddard, after January 18, 1777.
The New York Public Library, Rare Book Division, Emmet Collection (no. 1535).

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