Lot 9
  • 9

[Declaration of Independence]

Estimate
15,000 - 25,000 USD
bidding is closed

Description

  • Journals of Congress, Containing the Proceedings from January 1, 1776 to January 1, 1777.  Volume II.  York-Town, PA: John Dunlap, 1778
  • Paper, Ink
8vo (8 x 4 3/4 in.; 203 x 121 mm, uncut). Title-page with New York City Bar Association stamp and with the "R" in "Journals" scraped, accession number on verso, some browning to text block, lacks index. Rebacked in modern quarter calf, blue paper-covered boards. 

Provenance

Henry Remsen Jr. (signatures) — New York Bar Association (stamped 17 October 1922; Doyle, 24 November 2014, lot 88)

Literature

Evans 15685; Hildeburn Pennsylvania 3727

Catalogue Note

THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE, PRINTED IN THE 1776 JOURNALS OF CONGRESS, SECRETARY OF STATE THOMAS JEFFERSON'S CHIEF CLERK'S COPY. Second issue (i.e., Dunlap's imprint but incorporating Aitken's sheets).

This copy bears two signatures (one on the front flyleaf and one on the title-page) of Henry Remsen Jr. (1762–1843), who became the first Chief Clerk of the State Department under Thomas Jefferson. At the time, the Patent Office was part of the State Department. Among his accomplishments, Remsen recorded the first rules for the examination of patents, a subject dear to Jefferson the inventor.  Remsen later became a prominent New York financier. 

This scarce volume of the Journals of Congress, covering the pivotal year of 1776, has a unique printing history. The first 424 pages were printed in Philadelphia in 1777 by Robert Aitken. The project was interrupted when the British marched into Philadelphia on 26 September 1777.  Congress fled, and after a day in Lancaster established itself in York, Pennsylvania.  Aitken escaped with some of his finished work but had to abandon his press. On the other hand, John Dunlap, the original printer of the Declaration of Independence, managed to remove his press. In May 1778, Congress hired Dunlap to complete the reprint of their 1776 journals. This particular volume presumably came out between Dunlap's appointment on 2 May and the return of Congress to Philadelphia in July 1778.  

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