Rare 1776 printing of the Declaration of Independence on display for the first time in over a century

An extremely rare 1776 printing of the Declaration of Independence has gone on public display for the first time in over a century.

The printing is on display at the Museum of the American Revolution in Philadelphia through the end of 2019. This is also the first time that the print has been displayed in a museum.

Printed by newspaper publisher and printer John Holt in New York in 1776, the artifact is addressed to Col. David Mulford, a Revolutionary War colonel who died of smallpox in 1778. The print stayed in the possession of Mulford’s family until 2017, when it was sold to Holly Metcalf Kinyon, herself a descendant of Declaration signer John Witherspoon.

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“The Mulford family’s deep appreciation for history enabled me to connect with my American heritage in a profound way,” said Kinyon in a statement. “Women played a vital role in preserving this printing of the Declaration and it’s my privilege to see it displayed publicly again by the Museum of the American Revolution.”

The 1776 printing of the Declaration of Independence.

The 1776 printing of the Declaration of Independence. (Museum of the American Revolution)

“We are honored to be able to share this extraordinary treasure of the American founding with our visitors this summer,” said Dr. R. Scott Stephenson, President and CEO of the Museum of the American Revolution. “It is humbling to stand in the presence of such an authentic witness to our nation’s birth.”

Revolutionary War artifacts offer a fascinating glimpse into the events that shaped America. Items in the Museum of the American Revolution’s collection include George Washington’s tent and his headquarters flag.

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In December 2018, the remains of the famous Revolutionary War frigate USS Bonhomme Richard were discovered off the coast of the U.K., more than 200 years after it sank following a naval battle.

A handwritten note on the back of the printing of the Declaration of Independence. (Museum of the American Revolution)

A handwritten note on the back of the printing of the Declaration of Independence. (Museum of the American Revolution)

Earlier this year, a rare powder horn that belonged to an African American soldier killed in the Revolutionary War went on display at the Museum of the American Revolution.

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