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Edes "Declaration of Independence" from the Printing Office of Edes & Gill in Boston

Edes "Declaration of Independence" from the Printing Office of Edes & Gill in Boston

Regular price $29.95 USD
Regular price Sale price $29.95 USD
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From the Printing Office of Edes & Gill in Boston. You can purchase the Declaration, described below, or the Declaration and the Constitution, which is also printed at Edes & Gill, at a savings of $5 for the pair.


You can watch the Declaration being printed in the longer video below.

We are able to make these available through special arrangement. Each one is printed by hand on a historic press by a good friend of mine who founded and operates the printing office. More information on the history behind this printing appears below.

The print is about 20" x 14". (There is a variance of 1/4" to 1/2" depending on how the paper is cut.)  As was the case with the original broadsides, there is variability in ink coverage.  As a result, you should not expect the same crisp, consistent ink coverage that we are used to with material printed on modern presses. To get a better idea of why some of these differences occur, watch the video above.

The Philadelphia broadside of the Declaration printed by John Dunlap is also available, as is the Baltimore broadside printed by Mary Katherine Goddard. Use the pull down menu above to purchase all three and save $8.

You can also purchase a copy of the Boston broadside of the Constitution before it was ratified. The print includes a letter from Washington urging ratification. Photos and an in-depth video explaining the five-year-long effort to find and reproduce this broadside are on the product page

Finally, a note about the photo with the frame: Although I no longer make and sell frames, I've included a photo of a frame I made (from raw lumber, not frame stock) and finished in a manner that suggests some age. I'm including it to give you an idea of how nice this looks framed. (The photo is before the document was mounted in the frame, and yes, I regret not taking a photo of it before I packed it up and sent it off.)

Thanks for your interest. The broadsides are really wonderful. You'll have something to frame and pass down from generation to generation.

— Lee Wright  |  Founder  |  The History List  |  History Camp

 Watch the Declaration being printed

This longer video (6:18) shows the printing of the Declaration and includes additional information on the history of the Declaration and of printing.

 About Benjamin Edes & John Gill

On April 7, 1755, Edes and Gill became the proprietors of The Boston Gazette and Country Journal. According to the author of Infamous Scribblers (2006), the Boston Gazette, arguably the most influential newspaper the country has ever known, got us into the Revolutionary War, sped up the course of the war and may have even determined the outcome of the war.

Historical Background: The Declaration of Independence

"The Declaration of Independence is the founding document of The United States of America. Written by Thomas Jefferson, (one of the five members of the Committee that Congress had appointed to draft the document. Other members being: John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Robert Livingston and Roger Sherman) between June 11th and June 28th 1776.

Congress voted for Independency on July 2nd and then took up Jefferson’s draft for the next two days. Eighty-six alterations were made to the draft and congress approved the document on July 4th, 1776.

Congress then ordered the committee that drafted the Declaration to oversee the printing of the Declaration. A fair copy was made of the amended draft and hand carried by John Adams and Benjamin Franklin to the printing office of John Dunlap in Philadelphia on the afternoon of the 4th. The Declaration was printed that night into the early morning of July 5th. John Hancock, President of Congress began to send out “official copies” on the 5th and 6th of July to all thirteen Colonies, ordering them to print the Declaration in their newspapers and generally distribute the news as they saw fit.

The first printing of the Declaration in Boston

The “official” copy of the Declaration arrived about July 15th in Boston. The patriot printer John Gill set it in type on the 16th and printed on the 17th ready for distribution on the 18th of July. On the 18th, the Declaration was read from the balcony of the Old State House for the first time. Large crowds gathered to hear the address.

Just two editions of the Boston Printing of the Declaration broadside were published by Gill and then it disappeared from history. Only three copies from this John Gill edition have survived. In June 2009 Christie's auctioned a rare Boston imprint of the Declaration.

One original copy was located in the collection of the Bostonian Society by Gary Gregory, founder and Shop Master of the recreated Edes & Gill. Gary then had all 9.000 characters of type meticulously cast in lead to match the original document.

This recreation was first printed by the Printing Office of Edes and Gill on July 3rd 2012, marking the first time since July 1776 that anyone had printed the Boston Broadside of the Declaration of Independence.
Printed by hand on the Wooden Common Press printed in the Printing office of Edes & Gill located in the Clough House (c 1715) on the grounds of the Old North Church Historic Site in Boston.

The Printing Office is a non-profit 50(c)3 corporation funded entirely by donations, gifts, and the sale of materials printed on their historic press. A portion of the proceeds of this sale will go to them.  

Additional resources
  • Details in this listing at Christie's about specific printings and the way in which the document was distributed to major cities. As mentioned above, this was in 2009 and it was the first Boston and tenth broadside edition of the Declaration. It sold for $722,500.
  • Describing the original printing of this broadside and the reproduction, from the Declaration Resources Project at Harvard.
  • The Library of Congress's site on the Declaration, with links to additional resources.
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