Seth Kaller, Inc.

Inspired by History

Early Printings of the Declaration of Independence

We have created this chronological list of July 1776 and other significant contemporary Declaration-related imprints, including the earliest notices of independence (published prior to the official Declaration) and Mary Goddard’s 1777 broadside—the first to include the names of the signers.

In 1949, Michael J. Walsh, in a Harvard Library Bulletin article, first catalogued the then-known broadside editions.[1] Sotheby’s updated Walsh’s list in their 1993 catalog for the sale of a Dunlap broadside, and again in 2010 (with our help), for the sale of a Salem broadside[2]. For reference, the numbers assigned by Sotheby’s (S) and Walsh (W) to broadside printings are included here. A dash after one of the letters, for example “S2/W-”, indicates that an imprint did not appear on that list.

We added new information and then combined the broadside list with a list of July 1776 notices and newspaper and magazine printings, to show chronologically how news of independence was spread.

Some of the items below are linked to separate pages with additional information and images about that specific imprint. This is a work-in-progress, and we plan to add pages for every item on this list.

If you have information to contribute, please contact us at info@sethkaller.com.

4-5 July

Broadside. Philadelphia: John Dunlap (S1/W1).
One copy, found recently in the British Archives, bears the Dunlap imprint but with Baltimore as the place. It may well have been printed in Philadelphia to be sold by Dunlap’s Baltimore office.

6 July

Newspaper. Philadelphia: Benjamin Towne, The Pennsylvania Evening Post.
The first newspaper printing of the Declaration of Independence.

8 July

Newspaper. Philadelphia: John Dunlap, Dunlap’s Pennsylvania Packet or the General Advertiser.

8 July

Book. Philadelphia: Robert Bell, The Genuine Principles of the Ancient Saxon, or English Constitution. The first printing of the Declaration of Independence in book form. As note in Evans, publication can be determined by an advertisement at the end dated, “Philadelphia, July 8, 1776.”

9 July ca.

Broadside. Philadelphia: Steiner & Cist, German language printing (S2/W-).
It has previously been assumed that this broadside was published before the July 9 German language newspaper printing, but further research is necessary to determine the order of printing.

9 July

Newspaper. Philadelphia: John Henry Miller, Henrich Miller’s Pennsylvanischer Staatsbote.

9 July

Newspaper. Baltimore: John Dunlap, Dunlap’s Maryland Gazette, or the Baltimore General Advertiser.

9-11 July ca.

Broadside. New York: John Holt (S3/W3).
With July 9 resolution of the assembly in White Plains at top, joining their support to the Declaration (New York’s delegates had abstained in Philadelphia) and ordering it published on July 11.

9-20 July ca.

Broadside. [New York: Samuel Loudon (?)], (S6/W6).
No imprint, but attributed to Samuel Loudon.

10 July

Newspaper. Philadelphia: William and David Hall, and William Sellers, The Pennsylvania Gazette.

10 July

Newspaper. Philadelphia: William and Thomas Bradford, The Pennsylvania Journal and Weekly Advertiser.

10 July

Newspaper. Baltimore: Mary Katherine Goddard, The Maryland Journal, and Baltimore Advertiser.

10 July

Newspaper. New York: John Anderson, The Constitutional Gazette.

10-15 July ca.

Broadside. New York: Hugh Gaine (S4/W4).
Gaine published his New-York Gazette and the Weekly Mercury newspaper on July 15.

? July

Broadside. No imprint. Sole copy at The New-York Historical Society (S5/W5).
Walsh ordered his list of broadsides in what he believed to be their chronological publication order and we have kept this one in that order despite the lack of an imprint or place of publication.

11 July

Broadside. No imprint. Sole copy at Boston Public Library (S9/W11).
Based on our research we have identified the printer and date and place of publication of this previously unidentified broadside. We hope to publish our findings soon.

11 July

Newspaper. New York: Samuel Loudon, The New York Packet and American Advertiser.

11 July

Newspaper. New York: John Holt, The New-York Journal, or the General Advertiser.

11 July

Newspaper. Annapolis: Frederick Green, The Maryland Gazette.

12 July

Newspaper. New London: Timothy Green, Connecticut Gazette and the Universal Intelligencer.

13 July

Broadside. Newport: Solomon Southwick.
Official Rhode Island printing. First Newport issue, incorrectly dated “June 13.” (S7a/W7)

13 July ca.

Broadside. Newport: Solomon Southwick. Second issue, date corrected (S7b/W8). These official Rhode Island imprints, with resolution of General Assembly below the Declaration, were signed by Henry Ward.

13 July

Newspaper. Philadelphia: James Humphreys, Jr., The Pennsylvania Ledger, or the Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, and New-Jersey Weekly Advertiser.

13 July

Newspaper. Providence: John Carter, The Providence Gazette and Country Journal.

14-16 July ca.

Broadside. [No imprint, but Salem: Ezekiel Russell, or John Rogers at Ezekiel Russell’s shop]. (S10/W12).
Text based on The Pennsylvania Evening Post printing, not the Dunlap broadside. Date range and publisher based on time it took for the Declaration to arrive in Salem, and on Russell’s re-use of type blocks, with very minor changes, for his July 16 newspaper printing.

14-18 July ca.

Broadside. [Boston: John Gill, and Powars & Willis] No imprint (S8a/W9).
Date range for this and the next entry based on the first known arrival of the Declaration in Boston (July 13) and the date it was publicly read in Boston and printed by John Gill, and Powars & Willis in their newspapers (July 18).

14-18 July ca.

Broadside. Boston: John Gill, and Powars & Willis (S8b/W10).

15 July

Newspaper. New York: Hugh Gaine, The New-York Gazette and the Weekly Mercury.

15 July

Newspaper. Hartford: Ebenezer Watson, The Connecticut Courant and Hartford Weekly Intelligencer.

15 July

Newspaper. Norwich, Ct.: John Trumbull, The Norwich Packet and the Connecticut, Massachusetts, New-Hampshire, & Rhode-Island Weekly Advertiser.

16 July

Broadside/Newspaper Extra. Exeter, N.H.: Robert Luist Fowle, “Extraordinary,” New Hampshire Gazette, or Exeter Morning Chronicle (S-/W-).

16 July

Newspaper. Salem, Mass.: Printed by John Rogers, at Ezekiel Russell’s printing office, The American Gazette or the Constitutional Journal.

16-19 July ca.

Broadside. [Exeter, N.H. (?): previously attributed to Fowle. but other printers in the area of Southern New Hampshire are also possible].
No imprint, 1st state: “Hacock” (S12a/W14). Date range for this and the next entry based on the arrival of the Dunlap broadside in Exeter (July 15-16) and Fowle’s, Mycall’s and Dearborn’s newspaper printings of the Declaration (July 16, 19, and 20, respectively).

16-19 July ca.

Broadside. [Exeter, N.H. (?): previously attributed to Fowle, see item above]
No imprint, 2nd state: “Hancock” & last 3 lines reset (S12b/W15).

17 July

Newspaper. Worcester: William Stearns and Daniel Bigelow, The Massachusetts Spy or American Oracle of Liberty.

17 July

Newspaper. New Haven: Thomas and Samuel Green, The Connecticut Journal.

18 July

Newspaper. Boston: John Gill, Continental Journal and Weekly Advertiser.

18 July

Newspaper. Boston: [Edward E.] Powars & [Nathaniel] Willis, The New-England Chronicle.

18 July

Newspaper. Newport: Solomon Southwick, “Extraordinary,” The Newport Mercury.

19 July

Newspaper. Williamsburg: Alexander Purdie, The Virginia Gazette.
This imprint contains only extracts of the text of the Declaration.

19 July

Newspaper. Newburyport: John Mycall, The Essex Journal and New-Hampshire Packet.

20 July ca.

Broadside. Salem: Ezekiel Russell. Official Massachusetts printing, with July 17 Massachusetts resolution printed at the bottom (S11a/W13). The publisher ran a note in the Tuesday, July 23 issue of his newspaper, the American Gazette, apologizing for the fact that he was “giving the Public but Half a Sheet this Week; at the same Time he doubts not they will cheerfully excuse him as some Work of Importance to the State was doing in the Office on Saturday Last,” which was the 20th.

20 July

Newspaper. Williamsburg: John Dixon & William Hunter, The Virginia Gazette.

20 July

Newspaper. Portsmouth, N.H.: Benjamin Dearborn, The Freeman’s Journal or New Hampshire Gazette.

22 July

Newspaper. Watertown: Benjamin Edes, The Boston-Gazette and Country Journal.

26 July

Newspaper. Williamsburg: Alexander Purdie, The Virginia Gazette.

2 August ca.

Broadside. Charleston, S.C.: Timothy (S13/W-).
Date based on report of first arrival of the Declaration in Charleston on August 2.

7 August ca.

Magazine. Philadelphia: Robert Aitken, The Pennsylvania Magazine, July, 1776 issue.
According to a note published in the June issue, the Pennsylvania Magazine, was normally published on the first Wednesday of the following month, so the July issue was likely published on August 7.

14 August

Newspaper. Charleston: Robert Wells and Son, The South Carolina and American General Gazette

19 January, 1777

Broadside. Baltimore: Mary Katharine Goddard. (S14/W19).
First broadside to list the names of the signers, printed by order of Congress dated January 18, 1777.Some copies were signed by John Hancock.

???

Broadside. Salem: Ezekiel Russell (S11b/W-).
Reprint of official Salem edition, with images added; likely later than 1776.

The First Notices of Independence

2 July

Newspaper. Philadelphia: Benjamin Towne, Pennsylvania Evening Post.
The first notice of the July 2 vote for independence.“This day the Continental Congress declared the United Colonies Free and Independent States.”

3 July

Newspaper. Germantown: Christoph Saur [und Sohn(?)], Die Germantowner Zeitung.
Notice printed in German. “Yesterday the Continental Congress declared the United Colonies Free and Independent States.” [translated from German].

3 July

Newspaper. Philadelphia: William and Thomas Bradford, Pennsylvania Journal.
Yesterday, the Continental Congress declared the United Colonies free and independent states.”

3 July

Newspaper. Philadelphia: [William and David] Hall and [William] Sellers, Pennsylvania Gazette
Yesterday, the Continental Congress declared the United Colonies free and independent states.”

4-5 July ca.

Magazine. Philadelphia: Robert Aitken, The Pennsylvania Magazine, June, 1776 issue.
The notice of independence was slipped into the last page of the issue, which had been delayed due to “the great difficulty . . . in procuring printing paper.” The notice reads “July 2. This day the Hon. Continental Congress declared the United Colonies Free and Independent States.”

5 July

Newspaper. Philadelphia: John Henry Miller, Henrich Miller’s Pennsylvanischer Staatsbote
Notice printed in German. “Yesterday the honorable Continental Congress declared the United Colonies free and independent states. The declaration is now in press in English; it is dated July 4, 1776, and will be published today or tomorrow.” [translated from German].

6 July

Newspaper. New York: John Anderson, The Constitutional Gazette.
“New York, July 6 / On Tuesday last theContinental Congress declared the United Colonies Free and Independent States.”

8 July

Newspaper. New York: Hugh Gaine, The New-York Gazette and the Weekly Mercury. “Philadelphia, June [sic] 3 / Yesterday the Congress unanimously Resolved to declare the United Colonies Free and Independent States.”

10 July

Newspaper. New Haven: Thomas and Samuel Green, Connecticut Journal. “Philadelphia, July 6 / Yesterday the Congress unanimously Resolved to declare the United Colonies Free and Independent States.” In the next column, “To morrow, will be ready for sale, The Resolves of Congress, declaring the United Colonies, Free and Independent States.”

10 July

Newspaper. Worcester: W[illiam] Stearns and D[aniel] Bigelow, Massachusetts Spy, or, American Chronicle of Liberty.
“Worcester, July 10 / It is reported that the Honorable Continental Congress have declared the American Colonies Independent . . . Which we hope is true.”



[1] Walsh, Michael J. “Contemporary Broadside Editions of the Declaration of Independence”. Harvard University. Harvard Library bulletin. Cambridge, Mass., Harvard University Library. Volume III, Number 1 (Winter 1949), 31–43.

[2] Sale 6424, May 21, 1993 and sale 8698, June 17, 2010