DescriptionWilliam Woodruff Declaration of Independence Broadside. One printed page, 22" x 30 ", New York, [circa 1841], published by Phelps & Ensign. The text of the Declaration appears inside an ornate, circular frame containing the state seals of the original thirteen states (the names of which are indicated outside the frame near the lower margin) and topped with portraits of George Washington in military uniform, Thomas Jefferson, and John Adams. The signatures of the Declaration signers appear below the text. A printed dedication from engraver William Woodruff appears near the bottom reading, "To the People of the United States this Engraving of the Declaration of Independence is most respectfully inscribed by their fellow citizen Wm. Woodruff." Lightly age toned with some foxing and light soiling. A 3" tear exists along the top edge. Chipping and light wrinkling appear around some of the edges. Some small holes exist, mostly near the top.
When Woodruff released this broadside, he was instantly accused of stealing the design of fellow engraver, John Binns. Woodruff focused less on the quality of the engraving (which is evident in a side by side comparison of the two) and was able to release his copy quicker. Binns filed a lawsuit stating that Woodruff had stolen his design while serving as a journeyman for one of Binn's employees, a man named George Murray. The lawsuit was unsuccessful, but the public feud between the two men increased interest in the broadsides.
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