Historic "Declaration of Independence" Engraving by publisher John Binns as a small poster
This is a smaller, commercially-printed version of an engraving done by John Binns. (You'll find the history below.) Because of the fine detail, including the text of the Declaration, at this smaller size it won't be possible to read all of the text or make out all of the details. We also have a fine art-grade print that is nearly as large the original.
Size: 11" x 15”. (The original was 36" × 26”.)
About the paper weight and printing process: Printed on a 10 pt. Cardstock matte using standard inks.
This print is a part of our Revolutionary War Small poster collection with 5 bestselling posters and where you can save as much as $9.80.
"A virtual war ensued between rival printers John Binns and Benjamin Owen Tyler to be the first to publish and garner Jefferson's endorsement. Binns was the publisher of the Republican Philadelphia newspaper The Democratic Press. In June 1816, he began taking subscriptions for his print of the Declaration, which was to be surrounded by portraits of John Hancock, George Washington, and Jefferson, and the seals of all thirteen states, but he failed to produce the work until 1819.
"In the meantime Tyler took advantage of Binns's publicity and produced a less expensive and unornamented print in April 1818, complete with facsimile signatures and a dedication to Jefferson. Tyler was a self-taught calligrapher and penmanship instructor. When he asked Jefferson for permission to dedicate the engraving to him, Jefferson consented but reminded Tyler that he was "but a fellow-laborer" with the other signers:
for the few of us remaining can vouch, I am sure, on behalf of those who have gone before us, that notwithstanding the lowering aspect of the day, no hand trembled on affixing it's signature to that paper.
"Tyler sent Jefferson a copy of his work on parchment, and sometime after May 1818, paid a visit to Monticello, where he spent the day teaching penmanship to Jefferson's family.
"Binns's response to Tyler's success was to dedicate his work to the people of the United States. He sent a proof of the print to Jefferson in 1819 soliciting comments. [The text of his letter to Jefferson.] "[T]he dedication to the people is peculiarly appropriate," Jefferson wrote, "for it is their work, and particularly entitled to my approbation with whom it has ever been a principle to consider individuals as nothing in the scale of the nation." Jefferson added that the print's "great value will be in it's exactness as a fac-simile to the original paper," a comment that foreshadowed Binns's next struggle.
"Binns had hoped to sell 200 copies of his print to the government but was disappointed in 1820 by then secretary of state John Quincy Adams's commission of an exact facsimile of the original by William J. Stone. "
More about the historical background of the Binns Engraving here.
Learn more about the historical background of this print, including information from the National Park Service, the Library of Congress, and leading auction houses here.