Copy Of Declaration Of Independence Moves To New Tulsa Home

Thursday, January 29th 2015, 7:28 pm
By: News On 6

When America was brand new, we had to let other countries know we'd declared our independence.

Several hand written copies of the Declaration of Independence were delivered to leaders of other nations, but only one still exists today.

The copy isn't in London, Paris or Washington D.C., it lives at the Gilcrease Museum here in Tulsa.

There was a lot of security present at the museum Thursday, before they brought the document out of the vault.

"Only known surviving hand written copy, certified copy of the Declaration of Independence," said Mark Dolph, with Gilcrease Museum. "Scribes write out these copies. We need to use them as diplomatic instruments."

They were all signed by President of the Congress, John Hancock, and this one additionally by Benjamin Franklin and Silas Deane; the diplomats who carried it to France and eventually to Frederick the Great of Prussia.

"We have over 100,000 rare books and manuscripts in the collection," said Executive Director, Dr. Duane King.

This is one of the most prized. Museum founder Thomas Gilcrease bought it in 1950 from a book seller in New York City.

Now, the document will be locked away in the Hardesty Archival Center inside the new Helmerich Center for American Research; available to the rest of us, occasionally, as part of special exhibitions.

The museum will have the copy of the Declaration on public display in a special exhibit during the Fourth of July celebration.