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Available: Sold
Frame Size (H x L): 28" x 26.25"
Flag Size (H x L): 17" x 15.5"
This printing of the Declaration of Independence, rendered in black ink on cotton, was produced in Massachusetts by the Boston Chemical Printing Company in 1832. Along the top register, within a border of conjoined rings, is an eagle in flight, carrying a streamer with the familiar Latin phrase “E Pluribus Unum” (out of many, one). This is flanked by fanciful wreaths of sea shells, flora & fauna, containing the words “In Congress July 4th, 1776” and “Of the Thirteen United States of America.”

1832 was the year that marked the celebration of Washington’s 100th birthday, which was widely celebrated. The reason for the making of this textile seems to have had dual purpose, however, which is revealed in the text that follows that of the document and its signers. Included are a letter from John Adams on July 5th, 1776, announcing that the Declaration had been signed, plus the date of the signing of the treaty and the end of the Revolutionary War (1783, ratified 1784), the date of the Constitutional Convention (1787), and that of the first congress to meet following the adoption of the Constitution (1789). This is followed by a list of states that had thus-far joined the Union, and a list of presidents and the dates that they served. Next is a discussion of the deaths of Adams and Jefferson, who passed on the same day, July 4th, 1826, exactly 50 years after July 4th, 1776, and a note of honor regarding the 1831 death of James Monroe. At the end, the text gives honor to the last surviving signer, Charles Carroll of Maryland, who passed in 1832. This copy of the document and related historical information seems to have been printed to remember Carroll and the others whose deaths preceded him.

The text appears in columns, like a newspaper. The name of the maker appears in the bottom center.

Note that the date Andrew Jackson would leave office was presumptuously added, five year in advance. If this wasn’t the case, Arkansas (1836) and Michigan (1837) would be included among the list of states.

It is of interest to note that prior to 1818, just 14 years before this textile was produced, Americans were not even able to view copies of the Declaration of Independence. The text had been published in some newspapers during the 18th century, but at the time it was more of a tool to achieve independence and not precisely the iconic treasure that it would become, and there were no large-scale, printed copies that reproduced the actual document or any representation thereof.

  Benjamin Owen Tyler of Philadelphia became the first to publish an engraved rendition, which he released in 1818. Printed on parchment, velum, linen and silk, this appeared in a simple, unembellished style, without pictorial imagery. Almost all were printed on parchment. Today just four of Tyler's engravings are estimated to survive that are printed on cloth. This is actually a fairly remarkable number, because, according to Declaration expert Seth Kaller, only 6 may have ever been ordered. Tyler's original ledger book is among the holdings of the University of Virginia, where it is part of the Albert H. Small Declaration of Independence Collection. Having had the opportunity to pour through the book to compile data, Kaller counted "roughly 1,694 copies sold on paper, 40 on vellum, 3 on silk, and 3 on linen."

Very few copies were rendered on cloth in early America, which is one of the reasons why this copy is important. Besides the 6 copies produced by Tyler, a version is known that was produced on silk by H. Brunet in Lyon, France between roughly 1820 and 1825. Another was produced in three different styles (extremely similar) by a dual-citizenship Scott and American, by the name of Collin Gillespie, produced copies in Scotland for the American market in 1821.

  It is of interest to note that the first identical copies of the Declaration of Independence (on parchment) were not made until 1823. With the fifty-year anniversary of the document at hand, fear of the degradation of the original caused John Quincy Adams to seek out the services of William J. Stone of Washington, D.C., who soaked the original in order to make a copperplate engraving. Stone then printed a copy on rice paper for each state and each surviving signer. It was not copied again until 1843, when the Stone plate was allowed to be used by Peter Force for another printing that was inserted in a book.

Mounting: The exceptional black-painted frame dates to the same period as the textile and retains its original gilded liner. The textile is hand-stitched to a background of 100% cotton twill, black in color (treated for color-fastness). Spacers keep the textile away from the glass, which is U.V. protective.

Condition: There is minor to moderate foxing and staining.
Collector Level: Advanced Collectors and the Person with Everything
Flag Type:
Star Count:
Earliest Date of Origin: 1832
Latest Date of Origin: 1832
State/Affiliation: Massachusetts
War Association: 1777-1860 Pre-Civil War
Price: SOLD

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