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New York Public Library to display Declaration of Independence copy for holiday weekend

A copy of the Declaration of Independence will

A copy of the Declaration of Independence will be on display at the New York Public Library Stephen A. Schwarzman Building. Photo Credit: Jonathan Blanc

The most famous document in American history will be on display at the New York Public Library next week.

Library officials announced a special exhibition that will display a rare copy of the Declaration of Independence from June 29 to July 3. The document is one of the many drafts that Thomas Jefferson wrote after the Declaration was officially ratified on July 4, 1776, but he included passages from his original text — notably a condemnation of the slave trade — that were removed by the delegates before ratification.

It has been in the library’s manuscripts and archives division since 1896, according to NYPL’s president Tony Marx.

“We hope it inspires all who visit, and reminds all of the principles on which this great country was founded,” he said in a statement.

The free exhibit at the Gottesman Gallery on the first floor of the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building on Fifth Avenue at 42nd Street will be open between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. for the four-day period (the library is closed Sunday).

Jefferson wrote several fair copies of the Declaration after it was ratified and sent it to some of his friends. The library’s document, which is believed to be one of two of those copies to exist, is believed to be the one that the founding father sent to George Wythe, his former law professor and mentor.

Correction: A previous version of this story incorrectly stated the time period in which the copy of the Declaration of Independence was created. It was created after the document was ratified.


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