At 11 a.m. Sunday Feb. 21 be one of the first in Tucson to see a 1776 broadside copy of the Declaration of Independence at the Arizona Historical Society (AHS), 949 E. 2nd St. (west of Park Ave.). The Museum will open be till 8 p.m. that evening, and again from 8 to 4 p.m. on Monday Feb. 22, to see this historical document. Admission will be free for both days. AHS phone number is 520-628-5774.
Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords will be joined at the opening ceremony by Tucson Mayor Bob Walkup and Pima County Supervisor Richard Elias. Also participating in the opening ceremony will be 30 VFW Riders, Arizona Rangers, Explorers, and the Tucson High School Mariachis. A video message from former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor will be shown throughout the visiting 2 day exhibit. See event flyer here.
This 1776 broadside is only one of 25 known left of the Declaration, and here’s the information from the event flyer below on what a broadside is (and the amazing story of how this one was found in a Philadelphia flea market):
“THE DECLARATION of INDEPENDENCE 1776 BROADSIDES–
A broadside is about the size of a full sheet of newspaper, printed on one or
both sides and folded.
On July 4, 1776, the Continental Congress, led by John Hancock, renders official
Thomas Jefferson’s text of the Declaration of Independence. The manuscript is
rushed to the shop of printer John Dunlap in Philadelphia. Dunlap typesets the
document and creates about 200 broadsides of the text.
The Dunlap broadsides are delivered to the nation’s founders early in the morning
on July 5, 1776. One copy is officially entered into the Congressional Journal, and
additional copies of the freshly drafted Declaration of Independence are carried by
riders on horseback throughout the colonies and read aloud to assembled colonists.
John Hancock, president of the Continental Congress, dispatches Dunlap broadside
copies of the Declaration to America’s political and military leaders.
(The “original copy” of the Declaration of Independence – the one that was signed by members of Congress – is at the National Archives in Washington. However, this famous copy wasn’t produced until later in the summer of 1776, and wasn’t signed until August and later in 1776,when Congress returned to Philadelphia after a summer break.)
Today there are only 25 of these July 4 – July 5, 1776 first printing Dunlap
broadsides that are known to exist.”
The broadside copy that will be on display in Tucson was purchased at auction for $8.14 million by TV producer and philanthropist Norman Lear in 2001 at an auction. This copy was discovered in 1989 by a man (in Philadelphia) after he purchased a painting for $4 at a flea market because he was interested in the frame. Concealed in the backing of the frame was this original Dunlap broadside of the Declaration of Independence.
That’s why flea markets are so popular in America!