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Declaration of Independence
Declaration of Independence

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Early Self-Censored British Printing of the Declaration of Independence

[DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE], Pamphlet. Gentleman's Magazine. London, England, August 1776. Lacking a plate. octavo. Disbound; minimal wear, some pages loose but intact.

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“A ____, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a T____, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people”

(words determined offensive to the monarchy removed)
 
British citizens had the opportunity to read in its entirety the most compelling sentence ever written but in other places, they had to fill in the blanks.

Item #24128, $3,400

The Declaration of Independence - Early British Printing of the “substance” Sanitized to Be Less Offensive to “a great person” (the King)

[DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE], Pamphlet. The London Magazine, Or, Genteman’s Monthly Intelligencer, for August, 1776. London, printed for R. Baldwin. [September, 1776]. Octavo, disbound, without wrappers. Trimmed close on title page, but text entirely intact. Clean & crisp. One old paper repair above the text on final page. With 2 plates showing British antiquities. The last page (448) contains an early British excerpt of the Declaration of Independence taken from the London Gazette. Also of war preparations by General Howe.

Articles include “A Portrait of the present Mode of Female Education,” “Parliamentary History,” “Anecdote of Henry IV of France,” “Reflections on the married State, by a Lady,” “Cautions to young Ladies,” “Happy Effects of Temperance,” “Observations on Soame Jenyn’s View of the internal Evidence of the Christian Religion,” “On Circumspection in licensing public houses” [ie, bars], and more.

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“The Congress next recite a number of proceedings detrimental to the colonies, most of which have been already mentioned, at different times, from the resolutions of their several assemblies, with this difference, that they now attribute the oppressions to a great person, instead of the ministry and parliament, as at their former meetings.”

Item #24366, $2,750

The Declaration of Independence
The Official Massachusetts Broadside

[DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE], Broadside. “Salem, Massachusetts-Bay: Printed by E. [Ezekiel] Russell, by Order of Authority,” ca. July 20, 1776. Approximately 15¾ x 19¾ in.

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Item #22379, PRICE ON REQUEST

General Washington Orders Declaration of Independence Read to Army in New York

[DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE], Manuscript Orderly Book. Headquarters [New York City], [July 8, 1776 – August 21, 1776]. Containing two overlapping sequences in different hands: one 145-page sequence runs from July [9], 1776 to August 21, 1776, and another 13-page segment (written from the other end of the book) runs from July 8-13, 1776. 158 pp. 7½ x 6 in. Both versions vary slightly from the published text of Washington’s General Orders of July 9. This volume, with Brigade and Regimental orders, was either kept by battalion adjutant Aaron Comstock or an orderly sergeant in one of Gold S. Silliman’s eight companies enlisted in Connecticut shortly before. This is likely the battalion’s first orderly book after arriving in New York with approximately 415 men.

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the Honble Continental Congress … haveing been plead to Desolve Connection Between this country & great Britain & to declare the united Colonys of North America free & Independent States the Several Brigades are to be Drawn us [up] this Evening on their Respective Parades at 6 oclock when the Deleration of Congress Shewing the grounds & Reasons of the Measures to be Read with Laudable [audible] Voice the genl [George Washington] Hopes that this important Point will serve as a fresh incentive to Every officer and soldier to act with fidelity & courage as knowing that now the Peace and Safety of this country Depends under god solely on the success of our arms....” (July 9, 1776)

the gel being informed to his great surprize that a Report prevails & Industrously spread far and wide that Lord how [British General Lord William Howe] has made <145> Propositions of Peace Calculated by disguiseing Persons most Probably To Lull us into a fatal Security his Duty obliges him to Declare that No such offer has been made by Lord how but on the Contrarary from the Best inteligence he can Procure the army may Expect atack as soon as the wind and tide proves favorable He hopes theirfore every mans mind & arms may be Prepared for action and when caled to it shew our enemies & the whole world that free men Contendin for their own Land are Superior to any Mercenaries on Earth.... (August 20th 1776)

Remarkable 1776 manuscript orderly book, evidently kept for Brigadier General Gold S. Silliman’s Connecticut militia, containing two separate versions of Washington’s famous General Orders of July 9, 1776, in which he announced to the Continental Army that Congress had formally declared the 13 colonies to be independent of Great Britain. Washington ordered that the momentous text be proclaimed before all assembled troops in and around New York.

Item #21461.99, $125,000

The Declaration of Independence
Rare Broadside Printed and Posted in July, 1776

[DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE], Broadside. [Exeter, New Hampshire: attributed Robert Luist Fowle], [ca. July 16-19, 1776], two-column format, sheet size approx. 15⅛ x 19⅝ in. Pin holes in three corners, with the upper-left corner torn in approx the same position, indicates that this was posted publicly to spread the momentous news.

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Broadsides such as this fanned the flames of independence. Passed from hand to hand, read aloud at town gatherings, or posted in public places, broadsides (single pages with print only one side) were meant to quickly convey news. Including the present copy, there are fewer than a dozen examples of this Exeter, N.H. printing known. Pin holes in three corners and the torn upper-left corner suggest this example was posted publicly.

In a way, this Declaration broadside is even more “original” than the signed manuscript pictured by most Americans. This is not yet “The Unanimous Declaration of the thirteen United States,” but rather “A Declaration, by the Representatives of the United States of America, in General Congress assembled.” On July 4,  New York’s delegation abstained from voting for  independence. After replacing their delegates, New York joined the other 12 colonies.

Moreover, as here on the broadside, the July 4 Declaration was signed by only two men: Continental Congress President John Hancock and Secretary Charles Thomson (here with the common variant “Thompson”). After New York on board, Congress resolved on July 19 to have the Declaration engrossed with a new title: “The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America.” Most of the 56 signers affixed their names on the engrossed document on August 2, 1776, with some added even later.

Thus, broadsides such as this one preserve the text of the Declaration of Independence as it actually was issued in July of 1776.

Item #21991.99, PRICE ON REQUEST

John Binns Scarce and Most Decorative Early 19th century (1819) Declaration of Independence Facsimile

[DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE], Engraved Broadside. “In Congress July 4th. 1776. The Unanimous Declaration of the thirteen United States of America.” [Philadelphia:] John Binns, 1819. Text engraved by C.H. Parker, facsimiles of signatures engraved by Tanner, Vallance, Kearny & Co. Ornamental border incorporating the seals of the thirteen original states after Thomas Sully. Medallion portrait of Washington (after Gilbert Stuart, 1795), Jefferson (after Otis, 1816), and Hancock (after Copley, 1765). 24½ x 34½ in.

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Item #23834.99, $17,500

Rare French Facsimile of the Declaration of Independence

DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE, Copperplate engraving, “In Congress, July 4, 1776, The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America…” Paris: Kaeppelin & Cie, 15 Quai Voltaire; engraved by F. Lepelle. [1840.] 25 x 32”. 1p.

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Scarce French reproduction based on William J. Stone’s official copperplate facsimile done by order of Congress. This French edition was produced for an 1840 adaptation of Jared Sparks’s Life and Writings of Washington, appearing as plate 22 in the atlas accompanying the multi-volume work.

Item #20627.99, $22,000

The Gentleman’s Magazine, Complete for 1776, with War News, Including an Early British Printing of the Declaration of Independence

[DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE], Book. Gentleman’s Magazine. Complete run for 1776, including Supplement and Index. Lacking boards, but original leather spine present. London, England. Clean and tight. Note: The text is complete, but lacking 9 of 14 inserted maps or plates.

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A complete run for 1776 of this monthly journal of news, science, arts and philosophy gives insight into how readers in Great Britain perceived the momentous events occurring in America.  News reports cover most of the major events relating to the American Revolution.  There were no regularly published magazines in America at the time.

Item #23705, $5,500

Very Rare Pennsylvania Signer George Taylor Receives Payment for Land

GEORGE TAYLOR, Autograph Document Signed. Receipt. Trimmed close, n.p., Dec. 6, 1774. 1 p. 4¾ x 3 in.

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Taylor’s signature is among the rarest of the Signers in part due to his limited role in public life and his death prior to an American victory that would have opened more opportunities to serve.

Item #22992.99, $27,500

Declaration Signer James Wilson’s Signed Copy of, 1774 Maryland Guide, the First Original American Legal Work, Earliest on Law of Wills

[JAMES WILSON], Signed Book. Vallette, Elie. The Deputy Commissary’s Guide within the Province of Maryland. Annapolis: Ann Catherine Green and Son, 1774. Octavo. Engraved title & table by Thomas Sparrow. Signed twice by Wilson at head of title & on front free endpaper recto. Both signatures ruled through in ink by subsequent owners, other owner’s signatures on endpaper. A little blue & red crayon underlining & scrawl at head of title.

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An important association copy of a rare book with many first claims: this is the only edition of the first original American legal work, and the earliest book published in America on the law of wills. It also contains the only engraving from a colonial Maryland press, by Thomas Sparrow, the only engraver south of the Mason-Dixon Line before 1775.

Item #23609, $10,000

Declaration Signer George Ross Witnesses a Promissory Note

[GEORGE ROSS], Document Signed as Witness, Promissory note of Johannes Pfautz to Edward Biddle, May 30, 1770. 1 p., 6 x 4 in.

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Item #24194.01, $450

John Morton Signs a Pennsylvania Land Survey

JOHN MORTON, Document Signed. [Pennsylvania]. March 8, 1770. 1p. 6 x 7¾ in. Folds are weak and separating with minor paper loss at the intersections; separation at the signature does not affect it.

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Pennsylvania Declaration Signer Morton adds his signature to a survey that divides off a plot of land to be part of a dowry.

Item #23276.99, $1,750

John Hancock Writes His Brother with Seasons Greetings, Inquiring of Family News, and Asking About the Family Slaves

JOHN HANCOCK, Autograph Letter Signed, to Ebenezer Hancock. London, England December 27, 1760. 8½ x 7 in., with remnants of a black wax seal.

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Writing from London while attending his uncle’s business, a young John Hancock asks about his uncle and aunts, congratulates his sister’s marriage, talks about his own ill health and recovery, and inquires about the house slaves at the Hancock Mansion.

Item #23234, $29,000

Declaration Signer Robert Treat Paine’s Signed Cicero

[ROBERT TREAT PAINE], Signed Book. M. Tullii Ciceronis de Officiis Libri Tres. Cato Major sive de Senectute. Laelius sive de Amicitia. Paradoxa. Somnium Scipionis. Ex recensione Joannis Georgii Graevii cum ejusdem animadversionibus. [Marcus Tullius Cicero On Duties The Three Books. Cato the Elder on Old Age. Laelius on Friendship. Paradoxes. Scipio’s Dream. From review of Johann Georg Graevius and the same considerations.] Amsterdam: Henry Wetstein, 1691. 4¼ x 6½ in. Binding: Hardcover (Full Leather). Also signed by his grandson Charles C. Paine, 1843.

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non nobis solum nati sumus ortusque nostri partem patria vindicat, partem amici

(“Not for us alone are we born; our country, our friends, have a share in us.”)

With the Republic ended after Caesar’s death and the Senate abolished, Cicero wrote what he considered to be his masterpiece—a work on ethics that emulated Greek philosophers as Romans had little native-grown philosophy. Among its most important elements is “On Duties,” written as a letter to Cicero’s then 21-year-old son who was in university studies in Athens.  Cicero composed “On Duties” in less than four weeks in October-November 44 BC, just over a year before Marc Antony had him killed. This Latin collection of the most popular of Cicero’s moral treatises includes “On Duties.” Among the famous sayings printed here:  “Primum, minima de malis.” (“Of evils choose the least.”)

In addition to being signed page bythe Massachusetts Declaration of Independence Signer Robert Treat Paine on the title, it is also signed by his grandson Charles Cushing Paine on the front pastedown. Like his grandfather and father, Charles C. Paine attended Harvard University,  where he would have read Latin texts such as this.

Item #23617, $2,750
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