Collection ID: LMC 2448
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Collection context


The Signers of the Declaration of Independence mss., 1848, consists of materials pertaining to the members of the Continental Congress who drafted and signed the Declaration of Independence.
2 Linear Feet (2 boxes)
English .
Preferred citation:

[Item], Signers of the Declaration of Independence mss., Lilly Library, Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana.


Biographical / Historical:

John Adams, 1735-1826, signer from Massachusetts

Samuel Adams, 1722-1803, signer from Massachusetts

Josiah Bartlett, 1729-1795, signer from New Hampshire

Carter Braxton, 1736-1797, signer from Virginia

Charles Carroll, 1737-1832, signer from Maryland

Samuel Chase, 1741-1811, signer from Maryland

Abraham Clark, 1726-1794, signer from New Jersey

George Clymer, 1739-1813, signer from Pennsylvania

William Ellery, 1727-1820, signer from Rhode Island

William Floyd, 1734-1821, signer from New York

Benjamin Franklin, 1706-1790, signer from Pennsylvania

Elbridge Gerry, 1744-1814, signer from Massachusetts

Button Gwinnett, approximately 1735-1777, signer from Georgia

Lyman Hall, 1724-1790, signer from Georgia

John Hancock, 1737-1793, signer from Massachusetts

Benjamin Harrison, approximately 1726-1791, signer from Virginia

John Hart, 1711?-1779, signer from New Jersey

Joseph Hewes, 1730-1779, signer from North Carolina

Thomas Heyward, 1746-1809, signer from South Carolina

William Hooper, 1742-1790, signer from North Carolina

Stephen Hopkins, 1707-1785, signer from Rhode Island

Francis Hopkinson, 1737-1791, signer from New Jersey

Samuel Huntington, 1731-1796, signer from Connecticut

Thomas Jefferson, 1743-1826, signer from Virginia

Francis Lightfoot Lee, 1734-1797, signer from Virginia

Richard Henry Lee, 1732-1794, signer from Virginia

Francis Lewis, 1713-1803, signer from New York

Philip Livingston, 1716-1778, signer from New York

Thomas Lynch, 1749-1779, signer from South Carolina

Thomas McKean, 1734-1817, signer from Delaware

Arthur Middleton, 1742-1787, signer from South Carolina

Lewis Morris, 1726-1798, signer from New York

Robert Morris, 1734-1806, signer from Pennsylvania

John Morton, approximately 1724-1777, signer from Pennsylvania

Thomas Nelson, 1738-1789, signer from Virginia

William Paca, 1740-1799, signer from Maryland

Robert Treat Paine, 1731-1814, signer from Massachusetts

John Penn, 1740 or 1741-1788, signer from North Carolina

George Read, 1733-1798, signer from Delaware

Caesar Rodney, 1728-1784, signer from Delaware

George Ross, 1730-1779, signer from Pennsylvania

Benjamin Rush, 1746-1813, signer from Pennsylvania

Edward Rutledge, 1749-1800, signer from South Carolina

Roger Sherman, 1721-1793, signer from Connecticut

James Smith, approximately 1719-1806, signer from Pennsylvania

Richard Stockton, 1730-1781, signer from New Jersey

Thomas Stone, 1743-1787, signer from Maryland

George Taylor, 1716-1781, signer from Pennsylvania

Matthew Thornton, 1714?-1803, signer from New Hampshire

George Walton, 1749 or 1750-1804, signer from Georgia

William Whipple, 1730-1785, signer from New Hampshire

William Williams, 1731-1811, signer from Connecticut

James Wilson, 1742-1798, signer from Pennsylvania

John Witherspoon, 1723-1794, signer from New Jersey

Oliver Wolcott, 1726-1797, signer from Connecticut

George Wythe, 1726-1806, signer from Virginia

Scope and Content:

The foundation of the Sprague-Thacher-Ball-Lilly Library-Indiana University set of Signers of the Declaration of Independence lies in one of the three full sets formed by Dr. William E. Sprague, pastor of the Second Presbyterian Church of Albany, New York, who is generally believed to have originated the idea of collecting Signers. It is based on a collection presented by Dr. Sprague to his son, Edward Everett Sprague. The wrapper with presentation inscription is present in the set. It reads: "Autographs of all the Signers of the Declaration of Independence: a New Year's Present for my dear boy, Edward Everett Sprague 1861." This set is believed to have been completed as early as 1848, thus ranking as one of the first five completed sets.

Shortly before 1889 the younger Sprague sold the set to John Boyd Thacher of the Thacher Car Wheel Works of Albany, New York, a boyhood friend who served as a State Senator and Mayor of Albany. At the time of the purchase Thacher already possessed a partial collection of Signers, and he used the Sprague set to complete and enrich his own. Thacher died in 1909. His set of Signers was cataloged by the Anderson Galleries, New York, New York, in Part I of the catalog of the John Boyd Thacher sale, October 1913. A negative photostat of the pages of this catalog describing the manuscripts in the Thacher set of Signers is filed with the set. A comparison of the set as it is today with this catalog listing shows that no changes have been made in the set since Thacher's day. The collection of Signers was not sold at this time. It was withdrawn from the sale and was not disposed of by the Thacher heirs until 1924 when it was sold privately by Mitchell Kennerly of The Anderson Galleries to George A. Ball of Muncie, Indiana. It remained in his possession until 1953, when it was acquired by an anonymous donor for presentation to the Indiana University Library.

The Lilly Library, Indiana University, manuscript collections has a carbon copy of a typewritten volume entitled "The Indiana University Library Set of the Signers of the Declaration of Independence, Acquired by Gift, November 2, 1953." It contains transcripts of the letters and documents in the set, made in 1953-1954 by Mary Lou Grobe, clerk typist, with an introduction by Doris M. Reed, Curator of Manuscripts.

Acquisition information:
Gift: 1953
Physical location:
Lilly - Vault 2

Indexed Terms

United States. Declaration of Independence--Signers
North America--History--Colonial period, ca. 1600-1775
Adams, John, 1735-1826
Adams, Samuel, 1722-1803
Bartlett, Josiah, 1729-1795
Braxton, Carter, 1736-1797
Carroll, Charles, 1737-1832
Chase, Samuel, 1741-1811
Clark, Abraham, 1726-1794
Clymer, George, 1739-1813
Ellery, William, 1727-1820
Floyd, William, 1734-1821
Franklin, Benjamin, 1706-1790
Gerry, Elbridge, 1744-1814
Gwinnett, Button, approximately 1735-1777
Hall, Lyman, 1724-1790
Hancock, John, 1737-1793
Harrison, Benjamin, approximately 1726-1791
Hart, John, 1711?-1779
Hewes, Joseph, 1730-1779
Heyward, Thomas, 1746-1809
Hooper, William, 1742-1790
Hopkins, Stephen, 1707-1785
Hopkinson, Francis, 1737-1791
Huntington, Samuel, 1731-1796
Jefferson, Thomas, 1743-1826
Lee, Francis Lightfoot, 1734-1797
Lee, Richard Henry, 1732-1794
Lewis, Francis, 1713-1803
Livingston, Philip, 1716-1778
Lynch, Thomas, 1749-1779
McKean, Thomas, 1734-1817
Middleton, Arthur, 1742-1787
Morris, Lewis, 1726-1798
Morris, Robert, 1734-1806
Morton, John, approximately 1724-1777
Nelson, Thomas, 1738-1789
Paca, William, 1740-1799
Paine, Robert Treat, 1731-1814
Penn, John, 1740 or 1741-1788
Read, George, 1733-1798
Rodney, Caesar, 1728-1784
Ross, George, 1730-1779
Rush, Benjamin, 1746-1813
Rutledge, Edward, 1749-1800
Sherman, Roger, 1721-1793
Smith, James, approximately 1719-1806
Stockton, Richard, 1730-1781
Stone, Thomas, 1743-1787
Taylor, George, 1716-1781
Thornton, Matthew, 1714?-1803
Walton, George, 1749 or 1750-1804
Whipple, William, 1730-1785
Williams, William, 1731-1811
Wilson, James, 1742-1798
Witherspoon, John, 1723-1794
Wolcott, Oliver, 1726-1797
Wythe, George, 1726-1806



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[Item], Signers of the Declaration of Independence mss., Lilly Library, Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana.

Indiana University Bloomington
1200 East Seventh Street
Bloomington, Indiana 47405-5500, USA
Indiana University Bloomington
(812) 855-2452