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Second Copy of Declaration of Independence Found in England

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Undated handout photo of a parchment manuscript of the U.S. Declaration of Independence, believed to date from the 1780s and was found in a records office in Chichester, southern England. (West Sussex Record Office Add Mss 898)
Undated handout photo of a parchment manuscript of the U.S. Declaration of Independence, believed to date from the 1780s and was found in a records office in Chichester, southern England. (West Sussex Record Office Add Mss 898)

 

A second parchment copy of the original Declaration of Independence has been discovered, according to Harvard researchers.

The copy was found in a records office in southern England by researchers Emily Sneff and Danielle Allen, the Boston Globe reports. The only other copy is kept at the National Archives in Washington, D.C., CBS News reports.

The historic document was first discovered in 2015 by Sneff, and not much was thought about it at the time.

“When I looked at it closely, I started to see details, like names that weren’t in the right order—John Hancock isn’t listed first, there’s a mark at the top that looks like an erasure, the text has very little punctuation in it—and it’s in a handwriting I hadn’t seen before,” Sneff told the Harvard Gazette. “As those details started adding up, I brought it to Danielle’s attention and we realized this was different from any other copy we had seen.”

Likely made in New York or Philadelphia, the two have dated the document to the 1780s, and believe it originally belonged to a Duke of Richmond known as the “Radical Duke” for supporting Americans during the Revolutionary War.

Sneff and Allen said the signers on this new version aren’t broken down by state, CBS News reports, which distinguishes it from the copy in the National Archives.

—RealClearLife