Cover image for The Declaration of Independence : the evolution of the text
The Declaration of Independence : the evolution of the text
Boyd, Julian P. (Julian Parks), 1903-1980.
Revised edition.
Publication Information:
Washington : Library of Congress in association with the Thomas Jefferson Memorial Foundation ; Hanover, NH : Distributed by University Press of New England, 1999.
Physical Description:
102 pages : illustrations (some color) ; 33 cm
Added Author:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
E221 .B69 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks-Oversize

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For more than 50 years, Jefferson scholar Julian P. Boyd's study of the evolution of the text of the Declaration of Independence, which the Library of Congress undertook while the nation was in the throes of World War II, has remained the preeminent textual presentation of the most fundamental document of the United States. First published in 1943 and out of print for over 40 years, this new edition once again presents photographic prints of all known drafts in one large-format book. It now adds the fragment of a rough draft Boyd found in 1947. In an introductory essay, Gerard W. Gawalt relates the story behind the fragment's discovery, and why it sheds new light on the writing of the Declaration. A moving wartime foreword by Archibald MacLeish, Librarian of Congress in 1939 - 44, and Boyd's expert insights into Jefferson's writing and editing process, set the stage for the superlative color reproductions. Readers can examine documents, such as the Virginia Declaration of Rights, that Jefferson drew upon in preparing the Declaration of Independence. Moreover, the documents show that writing the Declaration was not an easy individual undertaking, but rather that its composition involved diligent, determined cooperation by many in the midst of wartime chaos.

Author Notes

JULIAN P. BOYD (1903 - 1980) was editor of The Papers of Thomas Jefferson. GERARD W. GAWALT is a Library of Congress manuscript historian and specialist on Jefferson and early American history.

Table of Contents

Gerard W. GawaltArchibald MacLeishJulian P. Boyd
Preface: Specialist in Early American History Manuscript Division, Library of Congressp. 9
Foreword: Librarian of Congress from 1939 to 1944p. 13
The Drafting of the Declaration of Independence: Historian, The Thomas Jefferson Bicentennial Commission Editor, The Papers of Thomas Jefferson, from 1943 to 1980p. 15
Document I George Mason's Draft of the Virginia Bill of Rights, 1776p. 41
Document II Jefferson's "First Ideas" on the Virginia Constitution, 1776p. 47
Document III Richard Henry Lee Resolution of Independencep. 51
Document IIIa Fragment of the Earliest Known Draft of the Declaration of Independence, Written by Thomas Jefferson in June 1776p. 55
Document IV John Adams' Copy of Jefferson's Original Draftp. 59
Document V Jefferson's Rough Draft of The Declaration of Independencep. 65
Document VI Copy of the Declaration Made by Jefferson for Richard Henry Leep. 73
Document VII Unidentified Copy of the Declaration Made by Jefferson [Cassius F. Lee Copy]p. 79
Document VIII Copy of the Declaration Made by Jefferson for James Madisonp. 85
Document IX Unidentified Copy of the Declaration Made by Jefferson [The Washburn Copy]p. 91
Document X The First Printing of the Declaration, As Inserted in the Rough Journal of Congressp. 97
Notesp. 99