Declaration of Independence in Jefferson’s own hand

Today after work I visited the New York Public Library, where an original manuscript of the Declaration of Independence was on display. This is a rare, handwritten copy in Thomas Jefferson’s own hand, one of only four in existence. Congress had removed passages from the original proposed text condemning the slave trade, and Jefferson wanted to preserve his original version. So, after the Declaration was adopted on July 4, 1776, Jefferson hand wrote several copies to send to some of his friends. These documents, part of the library’s permanent collection, are so priceless that they are only on display two days each year. I waited in line for two hours to just view and to take these pictures — which I color-corrected in Photoshop, as the lighting inside was dimmed.

Click the pictures to see them bigger:

copy of Declaration of Independence in Jefferson’s own hand