Skip to product information
1 of 10

The History List

Framed "Declaration of Independence" Calligraphy of George Washington with the seals of 16 states


Note that this is $3,000 less than the identical print on offer now through a well-known dealer.

Several months ago I was alerted by a friend in New York City to a very unusual print. After I got it I took it to a conservator with decades and decades of experience with paper conservation.   Several weeks and several hundreds of dollars later I had it back in my hands and made a solid wood frame for it.  When I went to look for more information on it, I was surprised that there was no scan of it online at the Library of Congress or at the other major libraries with large digital collections.

What’s unusual about the print? Its from that period when all sorts of calligraphic images were created, but none I’ve seen like this one, in which the text of Declaration of Independence is written out with thick and thin lines making the portrait of George Washington, who is surrounded by the seals of 16 states. This places it toward the end of the Civil War.

Created by W.H. Pratte of Davenport, Iowa, and lithographed and printed by Augustus Hagelboeck, also of Davenport, Iowa.
Printed in ink on the upper edge on the ribbon in the eagle's mouth: "E / Pluribus / Unum." Printed in ink above the main text and image of Washington: "Declaration of Independence." Printed in ink above each state seal is the name of the state to which it corresponds. Printed in ink on the ribbon at lower left: "Designed and written / by W. H. Pratt / Davenport, Iowa." Printed in ink on the ribbon at lower right: "Lith. and print. / by A. Hageboeck Davenport, Iowa." Printed in ink on the reverse of the mat board: "Birge- Made in USA".  Source: Mount Vernon

It is beautiful, and unusual, and framed in a solid wood frame made by hand in New England with UV-protecting, non-reflective conservation-grade acrylic for glazing.

As you see, I chose to frame it "floating" on a mat to show this as a historic artifact, as opposed to matted like an art piece as was done with the one linked from the top of the page. The frame I made is also designed to complement, not distract from, the fabulous print.

— Lee Wright | Founder


Shipping: $55 with signature required. Please allow two weeks for shipping.


Your purchases support our mission to engage people with local history and to support historic sites and history organizations across the country.

  ["Rare Finds"]