"Have You Seen Our Copy of the Declaration of Independance?"

   Earlier today, I was at the main branch of the Dallas Public Library waiting for some items to be retrieved from the local history section. A staff member approached me and asked if I needed some assistance. When I replied that I had been helped, she asked, "Since you're waiting, have you seen our copy of the Declaration of Independence?"

   "THE Declaration  of Independence," I replied, "the one from 1776?"

  "Yes," replied Sharon Martin, manager of the Dallas Library's Main Branch. "We have one of the originals here on the 7th floor."

The specially designed room housing the Declaration.

   Indeed, in a specially designed room open on the 7th floor of downtown Dallas' Main Library is THE Declaration of Independence.

   How did the Dallas Public Library obtain this precious piece of Americana? To answer this question we must go back to 1776.
   After the document was handwritten on July 4, 1776, it was taken to John Dunlop, a Philadelphia printer who made approximately 200 copies. Historians consider Dunlop's first run, the original copies of the Declaration. These copies went out to newspapers and public officials in all 13 colonies.

The Dallas Library's Copy of the Declaration of Independence in its sealed case.


   Today, less than 30 of John Dunlop's original run still exist and many are in bad condition. The document at the Dallas Main Library is sometimes referred to as "the Lost Copy" because it was discovered in storage in a Philadelphia book store in 1968. Two Dallas businessmen purchased the copy in an auction shortly after it was found. It was later donated to the city of Dallas and put on display in City Hall before finding its permanent home on the 7th floor of the library.
   The Declaration is in excellent condition and is housed in a specially designed case that protects it from aging. Its free and open to the public during normal business hours.


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