Thomas Jefferson “Free Frank” Autographed Collage

This historical and rare item celebrates one of the most influential writers, politicians, and American Revolutionary figures, Thomas Jefferson. The one-of-a-kind collage pairs an original Thomas Jefferson autographed “free frank” envelope with an engraved seated portrait of Jefferson and 20th century reprint of H. Sadd's The Declaration of Independence.

In early May 1776, Jefferson made a weeklong journey to Philadelphia to be a delegate to the Second Continental Congress. The Congress appointed a committee of five men to draw up a statement explaining why the colonies wanted independence. They chose John Adams, Roger Sherman, Benjamin Franklin, Robert Livingston, and Thomas Jefferson.

At only thirty-three years old, Jefferson was one of the youngest members of Congress. A shy student of the Enlightenment, Jefferson was not a passionate speaker and said little during the meeting. But he was known and respected for his skill as a writer. The committee chose Jefferson to draft their Declaration of Independence. Over the span of two and a half weeks, writing and rewriting, Jefferson’s crafted an argument for independence and freedom, and penned perhaps the most celebrated sentence in American History, "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

Jefferson was an architect, scientist, farmer, lawyer, statesman and a reluctant politician twice elected to the President of the United States. Given his prominent role in government, Jefferson had franking privilege, the ability to send mail without postage, for official correspondence. By simply writing the word “Free” and signing his name, Jefferson could write and send letters back and forth to his diverse and fascinating inner-circle of contemporaries. Displayed at top left of the collage, this original signature was taken from the upper right-hand corner of a mailing envelope. Given that Jefferson was always more comfortable putting pen to paper than speaking in public, this free frank envelope clip is a fantastic autographed example for any serious Jeffersonian collector.

At bottom is an engraving of the storied scene at Independence Hall, first depicted in oil paint by John Trumbull, of the five-man draft committee presented their draft of the Declaration to the Second Continental Congress. Thomas Jefferson, holding the working Declaration document, is flanked by Adams, Sherman, and Livingstone on his right and Franklin on his left. At the table opposite the committee is a seated John Hancock and standing Charles Thomson, President and Secretary of the Continental Congress. Engraved by H.S. Sadd, and published in New York by J. Neale circa 1845, this engraving was one of many after the Trumbull painting, published to celebrate and forever cement the monuments of our revolutionary achievements, and the great minds, like Thomas Jefferson, who drafted our new National vision.

This Thomas Jefferson collage has been artfully and archivally presented in a custom-built, black and gold beaded frame.

Framed dimensions: 36" H x 30 1/4" W x 1 1/4" D

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