Declaration of Independence Broadside Published by Horace Thayer, circa 1860

This 1860 ornamental lithographic broadside is an adaptation of Benjamin Owen Tyler’s famous 1818 exact replica of the original Declaration of Independence document. Published by Horace Thayer, after the engraving by Peter Maverick, this is an extremely scarce version of the Declaration of Independence, with fewer than 10 known copies worldwide.

This version of the historic document features John Trumbull’s famous painting depicting the signing of the Declaration of Independence below the word “America” as well as a key for the signers at the bottom of the broadside. Additionally, there is a new vignette, "The First Blow for Liberty", inserted above the key, in the bottom center of the facsimile signature field. A green border of grape vines and clusters surrounds the edge of the broadside. This presentation "stylizes" the early Tyler 1818 broadside, providing it with a more visual appeal and additional points of interest relating to the birth of the Republic.

Bidwell's "American History in Image and Text" provides an interesting view into the competition between purveyors of various printed “Declarations”, something which happened from the very beginning of the document’s first publishing with competing entrepreneurs trying to create, and later capitalize, on the public's love of their new country’s foundational texts. The fact that this highly decorative approach survived, and indeed flourished, in various forms as late as 1860 is a testament to the level of interest from the public, as well as the creativity of the printmakers.

The broadside’s imprints read, "Printed by Lang & Laing, 117 Fulton St. N.Y." and "Published by Horace Thayer, No 18 Beekman St. New York and Rufus Blanchard, Chicago Illinois." Finally in very small type just under the vignette "First Blow of Liberty" is a caption (the real copyright notice): "Entered according to Act of Congress in the year 1860 by H. Thayer in the Clerks office..."

Horace Thayer (1811-1874) was a New York based publisher and lithographer active in New York City and Buffalo, New York, during the middle part of the 19th century. Thayer's publications focused on travel guides, wall, and pocket maps - many of which were based on the works of other American cartographers including J. H. Colton and S. A. Mitchell. According to map historian Walter Ristow, J. H. Colton's older son, George Washington Colton, partnered with Thayer in the late 1850s and early 1860s, possibly in order to learn Thayer's lithography techniques.

This Declaration broadside is presented with its original wooden hanging hardware in a custom display case using the finest archival materials and procedures. Framed dimensions: 53 5/8" H x 39" W x 4" D.


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