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    Peter Force: Declaration of Independence (Washington: M. St. Clair Clarke and Peter Force, 1848) on rice paper from the original Stone "wet ink" copper plate. As a young child, Peter Force would listen to stories of the American Revolution told by his veteran father, William Force. He was apprenticed at age 16 to a printer where one of his early jobs was an edition of Irving's Knickerbocker's History of New York. He moved to Washington in 1815 to work for W. A. Davis, a printer with a government contract. In 1823, he became editor of the National Journal and began to dabble in Whig politics. It's no wonder that he developed a strong fascination for collecting books and papers concerning our country's history.

    In 1833, he was authorized by Congress to publish his amazing accumulation as the American Archives, a Documentary History of the English Colonies in North America. Although the entire work was never completed, the first volume contained a printing of the Declaration of Independence. It is extremely important and desirable because Force was authorized to use the original "wet ink" copper plate created by William Stone for this printing, a plate that had been in storage for some 24 years. The wet-ink transfer process that Stone employed called for the surface of the Declaration to be moistened, thus transferring some of the original ink to a clean copper plate. Stone struck only 201 copies on parchment from his plate in 1824 of which about 30 are known extant. Peter Force printed between 900 and 1200 on rice paper in 1848, folded and inserted into the book American Archives: Fifth Series Containing a documentary History of The United States of America, from the Declaration of Independence, July 4, 1775 to the Definitive Treaty of Peace with Great Britain, September 3, 1783. At best, only a few hundred of these have survived; this is a particularly fine one. Removed from the volume, it is approximately 25" x 29" in size with only a few minor areas of foxing and a bit of ink transfer that is almost always seen on Force Declarations that have remained folded through the years. The right edge is trimmed a bit close, but overall the condition is fine and would certainly frame up beautifully for future generations to appreciate.


    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    April, 2007
    16th-17th Monday-Tuesday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 1
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
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