EXTREMELY RARE Parchment Copy of the Declaration of Independence Has Been Found (VIDEO)
Tucked away in a records office in southern England for decades, the document was recently discovered by two Harvard researchers, Emily Sneff and Danielle Allen.
At the West Sussex Records Office in Chichester, England, the document was uncovered in its online catalog. The Sussex archive called the document a “manuscript copy, on parchment, of the Declaration in Congress of the thirteen United States of America.”
“I’d found vague descriptions of other copies of the Declaration that turned out to be 19th-century reproductions of the signed parchment in the National Archives, so that was what I was expecting,” Sneff told the Harvard Gazette. “What struck me as significant was that it said manuscript on parchment.”
“When I looked at it closely, I started to see details, like names that weren’t in the right order — John Hancock isn’t listed first, there’s a mark at the top that looks like an erasure, the text has very little punctuation in it — and it’s in a handwriting I hadn’t seen before,” she said. “As those details started adding up, I brought it to Danielle’s attention and we realized this was different from any other copy we had seen.”
The unique thing about this document is that the signers are not broken down by state, which is one of the defining things about the only other version, which is found in the National Archives.
The document has been dated by the researchers as coming from the 1780s and that it belonged to a “Duke of Richmond known as the ‘Radical Duke’ for his support of Americans during the Revolutionary War.”