American Philosophical Society finds rare copy of Declaration of Independence

History comes to life in Old Town Wednesday, a short walk from the Liberty Bell, where historians have found a new connection to the Declaration of Independence.

Familiar words, expressing the ideals on which the United States was founded. But, with a particular copy of the Declaration of Independence, the American Philosophical Society made history in Philadelphia.

“APS holds one of the rarest copies of Stone Declaration in the world. This is only the eighth known copy, ”said Patrick Spero, APS librarian.

In 1820, Secretary of State John Quincy Adams realized that there was only one handwritten copy of the Declaration of Independence with original signatures and commissioned William Stone to take exact engravings and print them. 201 of them.

Historians recently discovered that it also made it on paper, and as of Wednesday there were only seven known copies.

“We were missing a piece and that was a stone statement and that’s what we found out that we actually have,” Spero continued.

“I said ‘I have to stop the treatment, something is going on, I see something very unusual,” said Anne Downey, conservation officer for the American Philosophical Society.

Downey said they started reviewing the coin over 20 years ago, but it wasn’t until she started treating it that she realized she was special and, thanks to extensive science and research, confirmed this to be a Stone copy.

“It’s amazing. It’s the highlight of a restaurant career,” added Downey.

Downey’s curatorial work is far from over, but as his colleagues first saw on Wednesday, alongside other pieces from their Declaration collection, one of the largest in the world, it reinforces the work in progress.

“It’s not just dead documents. People are researching it all the time and making new discoveries and that’s just one example of that,” Spero noted.



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